Covid control vigor offers lessons on protecting planet

Ideas & Debate

Covid control vigor offers lessons on protecting planet


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The facts are clear. Global temperatures are rising due to greenhouse gas emissions originating from human activity. Warmer temperatures over time are changing weather patterns and disrupting the usual balance of nature. This climate change poses many risks to human beings and all other forms of life on Earth.

Heatwaves, terrifying storms and floods, frequent droughts and widespread lack of water have become frequent. And there is a growing consensus that we are heading for an environmental disaster unless we change our habits quickly.

Therefore, there has been a renewed sense of urgency to limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius of the pre-industrial levels. Anything beyond 2.0 degree Celsius will spell doom.

Therefore, the theme for this year’s World Earth Day celebrated on April 22 which is ‘Invest in Our Planet’ could not have been more appropriate. This is a rallying call for all – businesses, governments, and citizens, to act boldly, innovate broadly and implement equitably to preserve and protect health, our families, and livelihoods.

Earth Day is being marked at a time the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published on April 5 is warning that the consequences of inaction on climate crisis are both dire and clear.

The situation we are faced with today is a result of more than a century of unsustainable energy and land use, lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production.

However, despite the gloomy picture that the IPCC report paints of the future, it points out that we still have time to solve the climate crisis.

There is a window of opportunity for the world to choose a prosperous and sustainable future, and time to restore nature and build a healthy planet for posterity. But the major concern is that the time available is short and unless we rally together to tackle climate change, we are destined to a perilous future.

A study published by Ipsos just a few days before the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment report indicates that there is rising pressure for governments and businesses to lead action against climate change.

The report, ‘Two Years On: Lessons from Covid Times’, found that although Covid-19 disrupted the way we live but it did not dent our concern for climate change.

The pandemic has offered us a key opportunity for change – to take a more sustainable approach that could protect the long-term viability of the business and pay more attention to environmental and social outcomes.

Ipsos 2021 Earth Day study found two-thirds of the global public say government and business will be failing employees, consumers, and citizens if they do not take the lead in influencing actions towards reducing global warming.

Globally, only 31 percent believe their market has a clear plan in place for how government, businesses, and people themselves are going to work together to tackle the crisis.

According to the report on lessons from the pandemic, evidence shows that people are far from aware of just how their lifestyles may need to adapt to save the planet. For example, 59 percent globally believe that recycling waste as much as possible has a significant impact on CO2 emissions, while it is relatively minimal in comparison with other activities.

And, overall, we see only slight increases in public willingness to change specifically high carbon emission behaviors since 2014, which poses a problem

Opinions are also divided on whether tackling climate change should or should not be a priority in post-pandemic economic recovery. Globally, 36 percent agree climate change should not be a priority, while 35 percent disagree.

Car journeys

Another Ipsos study with Tetra Pak reveals nearly half (49 percent) of the global population are recognizing that their everyday actions have a direct impact on the environment.

As people look ahead to how they might modify their lives post-pandemic, reducing food waste, avoiding overpackaging, and cutting back on car journeys are among the changes people expect to do to limit their environmental impact.

The citizens have given the government a clear mandate to act. The issue is how fast government and business can embed sustainability and climate action into present structures, or new ones that are being established.

Research reveals that by understanding the barriers to sustainable actions – whether structural social or educational – business and government can make the changes that will enable people to do their part. We have seen from the Covid-19 experience how leadership can rally people behind a cause.

People were united in implementing measures outlined to contain the pandemic. The climate crisis can be dealt with too with clear leadership from experts and those in power.

As individuals, however, we can slow down global warming by implementing small more sustainable actions within our community. It is only when everyone plays his / her part that global warming can be addressed.

As we mark Earth Day it needs all of us to understand that the planet cannot survive without us, we too cannot survive without the planet.

The planet is our common ground and every living thing, however small, it sustains the whole. We must invest to protect it and protect our future.

Ideas & Debate Covid control vigor offers lessons on protecting planet Friday April 22 2022 The facts are clear. Global temperatures are rising due to greenhouse gas emissions originating from human activity. Warmer temperatures over time are changing weather patterns and disrupting the usual balance of nature. This climate change poses many risks to human…

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