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COVID-19: A lesson for Climate Change

“COVID-19 and climate change”- Nothing could be as depressing as this line! In some ways I see the former one as a mini version of the latter because at the end both are serious problems and both have far-reaching health and economic impacts for which to mitigate it demands global coordination. But there is one important difference is that we can see the end of this virus. We will have a vaccine in about a year, and we can make plans with that in mind. But what about the climate change? Climate change has many more unknowns, potentially with graver risks to our entire ecosystem. There is no end in sight, and no precautions that the human race is taking together. Despite the differences, we can look at our responses to coronavirus and check whether our experiences with it will change how we think about addressing and preparing for it.

We need to pull together as a community. When at the time of this pandemic everyone is advised to do the right thing and everyone is actually taking steps to improve our hygiene and stay home when sick, this will protect the most vulnerable members of our community. The solution isn’t something that a few people can do, or that only a few people need to worry about. We all need to chip in. But why not the same when climate change comes in the scenario? Not many organizations or people I see in my day to day life who takes it seriously and I think I’m not an exception to this.

Little things matter. In that same vein, we see that little things matter, and in fact little things are the biggest things, until a vaccine can be developed. Its better till then if we keep washing our hands or eating less meat or limit ourselves from going outside. Isn’t it relatable with the climate change as well? Maybe there isn’t much more that we could achieve for the betterment of the climate but that certainly doesn’t mean that we stop doing the little things that we must be practicing. Like its already said “little things are the biggest things”.

Government plays an important role. Government health agencies are informing us what we should do to help them fight this pandemic. People, organizations and businesses are listening and they are cooperating. Many department of the government of many countries are actually working. But without that, rumours, misinformation and uncertainty lead to inaction and discord. And that is exactly where we have been with climate change for decades.

Planning reduces instability. The fast changing nature of coronavirus has meant that the elements of our economy is also changing too quickly. We haven’t seen this play out yet, but it is worrying. Some might say that this has been good for the climate. And also some might say this is something we never want to face. But the only thing that could be figured out from this is that when we are reactive and panicked the impacts are distorted and worse than they need to be. Last- minute emergencies could move the attention from the root causes to quick fixes.

Finally this point takes both the coronavirus and the climate change on the same track. Sometimes we see things happening in far-off places and think it won’t happen to us. But the actual realization strikes when the same things happen worldwide. And why exactly does it happen? Ever gave a thought?

Anyway, I hope everyone is finding ways to be healthy and hopeful, and to help those around who are in need of this. Our strength and resilience in the face of this challenge will inform how we address similar challenges in the future.