Why Carbon Offset Now & COVID-19
The World is currently fighting a global pandemic that is the largest in a century. While we lockdown over the coming weeks to overcome COVID-19, we risk ‘short termism’ and losing sight of the issue that may dwarf the pandemic – climate change. By reducing support to carbon offset projects, we risk CO2 levels increasing rapidly post COVID-19. Increasing temperatures & displacement of species is linked with greater disease.
In addition, cookstoves projects protect against COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and clean water projects support immune systems. Having COPD and/or weakened immune systems renders individuals more susceptible to COVID-19 complications. For these reasons, we must keep supporting certified carbon offsetting projects - in this way, we will continue to drive CO2 levels down, support biodiversity and help to prevent against avoidable health conditions in developing nations.
Did You Know?
An average individual (UK) has a carbon footprint of 6.5 tonnes CO2 (11 tonnes in US)
Mankind, over industrialised times, has developed an increasingly unhealthy relationship with its environment and - to a point – has got away with it. To say that this is now ‘payback time’ is a massive understatement.
We need to live more in balance with our planet – that is not to say that we can’t have ‘stuff’, but that we need to have less of it, to value it properly (and be prepared to pay fairly for it) and ensure that is provided in a more sustainable way.
Was COVID-19 Caused by Climate Change?
We may never understand what caused the COVID-19 outbreak. However, we do know that rises in temperature and displacement of animals from their native habitats brings problems - this may just be the start to much further extinction and disease.
We know that an individual’s susceptibility to COVID-19 is strongly influenced by the state of their health – conditions such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) render people vulnerable to the virus, often leading to respiratory failure and death. Also, people with weakened immune systems (which can be due to poor quality of water/sanitation) succumb more easily to the disease. Climate change and fossil fuel use heighten air quality and clean water availability issues leaving us more susceptible to diseases such as COVID-19.
Did You Know - Carbon Offset Projects Protect our Health?
Gold Standard Community Projects - such as Cookstoves and Clean Water Projects protect against COPD and support immune systems helping to prevent susceptibility to COVID-19 and other diseases
Reforestation Projects - such as Kenya, UK and the Brazilian Amazon support biodiversity & protect against displacement of species and possible transfer of disease
A Glimpse of a Better Environment – What COVID-19 Has Shown Us.
The coronavirus has highlighted many things. During lockdown, record low levels of air pollution have been reported globally with blue skies where previously only smog has been seen. Permitted daily exercise has been rewarded with lungfuls of almost mountain-fresh air rather than choking diesel exhaust fumes. Rivers are running cleaner and biodiversity is flourishing. We won’t pretend that post lockdown, that the world can immediately retain those environmental benefits, but there are many steps that we can take to put us on the right path and get there more quickly.
Lockdown has shown us that we don’t need to travel so much – for business or pleasure – and the power of digital platforms to connect & communicate.
It’s also shown us that we don’t need to buy so much stuff! That’s not to say that retail does not have its place, but our love affair with very cheap goods has gone too far …when this type of retail becomes an entertainment/ pastime things has gone very wrong. Now that it is not, we have learnt to value the things we have and innovate with what we’ve got.
Love everything …Value Nothing
Our love for the everything cheap has gone too far - that’s clear.
When we expect a flight within Europe to cost £30 we’ve gone wrong. When low cost stymies development & roll-out of lower carbon alternatives, it’s gone wrong. When our love for cheap food forces intense farming/production and causes disease and deforestation, we have gone too far. The irony here also is that approximately 30% gets binned, causing even more carbon emissions.
Coronavirus is actively making us examine our values. We can survive on less – a lot less. If we are being truthful to ourselves, there is enjoyment to be had from a simpler life.
Decarbonising - Let’s Move Forward, Not Back.
We have been given a glimpse of a better environment, albeit though our windows and from our gardens. We can preserve this via rapid and active decarbonisation.
As tempting as it might seem to return to previous behaviour and jump onto the next £30 flight to Berlin or buy 4 T-Shirts for £10 that is not the way. We must make responsible choices. Should we go net zero now – yes! Will we be able to do it on our own – no!
This is the Year of Climate Action - You must make a yearly cyclical plan and stick to it