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Coronavirus and climate change: Will there be a lasting impact on the environment?

Coronavirus and climate change: Will there be a lasting impact on the environment?
By Simon Williams
September 29, 2020

The coronavirus has understandably dominated the news cycle for most of the year, with stories of market dives and global lockdowns on a constant loop,and each of us impacted in different ways. Another angle to this global pandemic is the effect that it has had on the environment and coronavirus climate change impacts. As our lifestyle and industrial rhythm has changed or stopped entirely, the environment has been the benefactor of this global phenomena. Many have argued that the environmental impacts have been one of the few silver linings to the coronavirus. The question is - will there be a lasting impact on the environment and is it all good news?

Today we are going to have a look at coronavirus climate change impact, and how the virus has made an impression on the environment and the likely long-term impacts and changes that will be a byproduct of this global event. Like many societal shifts seen throughout history, this has been a situation that has unfolded as a result of our lifestyle, and it will be interesting to see if years from now we can draw a line in the sand and easily identify what was pre and post coronavirus. 

The coronavirus and climate change in Australia

covid mask with seedling in it

CartridgesDirect has been following the news and the subsequent environmental impacts, and how government decisions and societal changes will contribute to our climate change emergency. On a more local level, our team of print professionals have been supporting offices and remote workers with their printing and cartridge needs. If you would like to learn more about our home office range find it here on the website. Now let’s look at the coronavirus and climate change and discuss what the environmental legacy might be.

1. Reduction in air pollution

reduction in air pollution

Many countries around the globe have been proud to report a significant reduction in air pollution - but will it last? It would be reasonable to think that air pollution will be at a reduced level until there is a vaccine, but the long term effects of climate change and the coronavirus still remains to be seen. Given that many are still working at home under the stay home order with no commute and no public spaces being occupied, many will switch to this working arrangement part-time, or even full-time, and omit the pollution they issued in their normal lifestyles pre-coronavirus.

2. Population reduction due to travel bans

Australia closed the international borders in March of 2020, and since then researchers have been working to calculate what impact that will have on our population. By April we saw a 97% drop in permanent arrivals year on year, and by 2040 there will be 4% fewer residents (approximately 1.4 million) than if the virus never happened. Overpopulation is an enormous stressor on the environment due to higher consumption levels and increased reliance on industrial industries.

3. Environmental standards are at risk

covid highway

Governments are often condemned for putting industry before health, safety and the environment - and the coronavirus might be yet another excuse to do so. Early predictions have warned that governments may try to manipulate environmental standards to accommodate the growth and recovery of industry, which would backtrack the progress and societal shift in focus. NSW’s recent approval of the coalmine extension is a direct response to a decreased oil demand in Australia and the attached economic downturn.

4. Construction, consumer goods and overseas students

These three sectors represent a substantial chunk of revenue to Australia, and each has been threatened by a decline in population growth. This poses positive and negative impacts when considering coronavirus and climate change. Less development and industrial output is good news for the environment, but without this economic and urban growth, urgent environmental initiatives could be related to another decade or generation and not incorporated within these sectors. 

5. Town planning considerations

plants on building

Coronavirus has already started to influence town planning and architectural design going forward, which directly impacts the environment around us. Green spaces are not longer relegated as an afterthought or token inclusion but will be the centre of future design, along with more open indoor spaces. The rules pertaining to the number of people per square metre will not be in place forever, but this way of thinking will remain with high capacity venues needing to offer supporting infrastructure to accommodate the overflow. Future commercial office designs might also be more intentional in designing a space that is collaborative but not squeezing a large number of desks in the building.

If you would like to read more about the coronavirus and climate change or view our range of home office printers, cartridges and print accessories - contact CartridgesDirect today. Enjoy free delivery on all orders over $75 and prompt shipping to your home or office.