- Global effects
- Industry impact
- The future of employment
What has this pandemic meant for our environment?
In the immediate aftermath of lockdown, stories around the world shared the positive impact that the environment was seeing. No cars on the road and industry shutdowns reflected that for April, global emissions were 17% lower than in 2019. Places like Venice, which is known for dirty water, now have clear waterways. Bioluminescence (note: a phenomenon that in March of 2020 was only seen in 17 places globally) began making its return. A video that went viral from California highlighted the event. In China, dramatic improvements were seen in air quality when transportation and manufacturing stood still in February and March.
Why did we not see a greater positive impact?
While April showed a real decrease in emissions, by the time we hit June globally we were only 5% lower in emissions compared to June of 2019. Air quality in China is as bad as it used to be. Single-use plastics are on the rise. Places like the Amazon have been hit harder than ever- 64% more land was cleared in April 2020 than in April the previous year (i.e. 2019 holds the deforestation record). Many people are still at home, lockdowns have furthered, and yet we are not seeing a real benefit to the environment at this point? While you and I have been at home working, industries such as manufacturing saw the shortest of pauses. Paired with the fact that 100 companies are responsible for 71% of total global pollution shows the importance of a much larger change.
How can we interpret this? What does all of this mean for the future of work?
Emissions such as carbon dioxide reside in the atmosphere for long periods, meaning that we are feeling the effects of emissions that are decades old. A permanent reduction of emissions is needed to see real lasting effects. That being said, we have seen what a few months of slowing down can do. Positive, tangible examples of cleaner water and air have been seen across the world. Going back to the same world we had in January of 2020 will not suffice. However, the revolution of remote work could be a huge help. According to Julianne Howard, Director of Client Relations at Spectraforce, she expects the flexibility of remote work to continue being a major factor in attracting top talent even after the pandemic. Some companies may have to reconsider calling everyone back to the office and explore dynamic options such as a hybrid model.
We’re hopeful that, “disasters are often historically the time of biggest change.” We’re optimistic that the change we see after COVID-19 could positively affect the climate and lead to a better world for all.
We are proudly certified by the Green Business Bureau.
Image courtesy of Canva