The bright side of COVID-19

As the whole world is taking a step back on life, and being locked down, Earth is taking advantage of the situation to have its triumphal moment.

Many rumors have been wandering around about it, confusing our minds. Some were fake news; others were pure truth, as we talked about in another article (Is Wildlife Really Coming back to the City?).

Unfortunately, when Buzz Feed, The Guardian, and others fact-proved this news, most of them turned out to be fake. Yet in the meantime, the news had already been twitted thousands of times. Reaching the furthest places of the internet, it immediately became the new trend called “Nature Is Healing” or “We Are the Virus”.

Like any other thing on the internet, soon, this trend was transformed into a meme storm, right after a design student in Minneapolis, Ronnie Becker, made fun of it in a tweet.

“There were tons of posts about the Venetian canals clearing up and the dolphins returning to Italy/various animals returning to typically urban areas and was annoyed by the eco-fascist statements of ‘we are the virus,'” Becker told BuzzFeed News via Twitter DM.

Then adding on her page: “I just thought of something that clearly does not belong in nature, and as someone who hates the scooter-share business, I thought the Lime scooters in the river was perfect,”

 

 

Immediately the meme took over, people were twitting photoshopped pictures of dinosaurs in Time Square and stuffed animals on trees.

Here some samples of those we found were the funniest:

How to forget Walmart Yodeling kid?

And now the Furby’s are back to a world they actually never belonged to!

It was considered a sort of defense against all the critics made to us, the humans, the ones addressed as “the problem”. Surely in a tough time as a worldwide pandemic being accused once again of being the evil on our planet was not something to copy with.

The meme storm soon caught all the attention and the invasions by all sorts of animals were old news. But does it mean that everything is lost? Is the human cynicism a way to admit that the damages on Earth are irreparable?

Another aspect of this situation which hasn’t received as much importance is that many people in towns and cities from all over the world have said to be breathing cleaner air since the lockdown started. And whenever the humankind is lost in a limbo, science comes to rescue! The director of the Stanford Woods Institute for Environment, Mr. Chris Field, and his equipment for scientists analyzed the air pollution, along with the government of NASA and Italy (which is also observing changes in the sea world).

Worldwide, the results show that March air pollution is down 46% in Paris, 35% in Bengaluru, India, 38% in Sydney, 29% in Los Angeles, 26% in Rio de Janeiro, and 9% in Durban, South Africa. These are positively shocking news for us, we are unconsciously repairing the damages. We could consider it to be the bright side of this hard situation. But is it already time to celebrate?

Before answering, we need to give a closer look into the situation.

Starting from the United States, NASA atmospheric scientist Barry Lefer said the air from Boston to Washington is the cleanest since 2005, while in Los Angeles the skyline has never been so bright, and the nitrogen levels have plummeted intensely since the beginning of the quarantine.

A similar event has taken place in Paris, France, where the view of the Tour Eiffel was admirable even from the suburbs of Saint-Cloud on April 22.

Once again, the skyline cleared out in Jakarta. On April 16, the beautiful skyscrapers typical of the city were possible to be seen across the city, something that the Indonesian capital hadn’t experienced for years.

In Italy, the European Environment Agency (EEA) communicated that in Milan, nitrogen dioxide concentration has fallen by 24% in four weeks, while in Rome it has fallen between 26% and 35% during the same weeks. In Bergamo, the city with the most significant impact, it has fallen by 47%.

The second position is reserved for Nepal. On March 29, the Langtang range was visible from Kathmandu on only the sixth day of the lockdown. This astonishing view caught the eyes of the photo reporter Narayan Maharjam, who dedicated to the Nepalese historical monument a tribute.

Last but not least, we have India in the first place with not one but two revealing changes: on April 3, in North India’s Punjab, Jalandhar could admire the snow-capped Himalayan peaks at more than 100 miles away. It was the first time after 30 years;

On April 8, the India Gate war memorial was perfectly visible without the need for artificial lights during the day.

It was a heartwarming moment for the country, something no one thought could arrive any soon.

Back to the questions of before, sure there are some severe damages, but this doesn’t mean we are unable to do something about it. By doing nothing at all, we are letting Earth having her triumphal moment.

We can surely consider all this the “Silverlight”, and the bright side of COVID-19.

 

By Giulia Soverini

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