The Fight for a Greener World Amid COVID-19
The takeaways from Green Earth club’s Earth day discussion
By Laura Krochenski
There are important connections to be made between the COVID-19 and environmental crises. Hence the topic of the online discussion hosted by Dawson’s very own Green Earth Club; How to work towards a greener and more just world post-COVID-19?
It may seem like there are way more important issues to talk about right now. “Enough with those annoying hippies and their fight against plastic straws, right? Now is not the time!”
Or so you’d think.
Our Earth Day discussion brought together students and teachers, from Dawson, Marianopolis, and John Abbott College, to answer the first discussion question: “What encouraging and discouraging signs of a transition to a greener and more just world have you noticed during this period?”
On the positive side of things, participants noticed that there is an increase in support for local businesses, an increase in baking, which you’ve probably noticed from the new trend of banana bread Instagram stories, and other sustainable activities such as gardening, biking, and walking. But more importantly, there is a renewed trust in science, which could be very beneficial for the climate movement.
The discouraging signs discussed consisted of the big polluting corporations pushing projects as they take advantage of a distracted public, as well as the rise in online shopping and shipment. Participants also mentioned their concern about a potential consumption boom once things go back to normal.
Even the idea of going back to normal scared many of us, as our society’s normal commends unsustainable actions.
We then moved on to the second question: “How would you compare the governmental response to the COVID crisis with their response to the climate crisis, both being public health emergencies?”.
Many felt as though the government response to COVID-19 was much more effective than it was towards the environmental crisis. In response to this pandemic, our government has set tight regulations and handed out fines to those disrespecting them. Many participants discussed the benefits of acting with such urgency, especially if the government did so for the climate crisis. However, it was also brought up that the general population would not respond as easily to restrictions put in place in regards to protecting our environment. The repercussions of climate change are much more abstract than COVID-19’s. With the virus, people are able to understand why they are changing their habits, and therefore are compliant with restrictions. Put simply, our society is great at reacting, but not so good at preventing.
“How can we continue the fight and ensure that our voices are still heard during this time?” was the closing question.
Within the group of participants, there was an overall understanding that this is a great time to focus on individual action by consuming less, taking on more DIY projects, using social media to post more about environmental issues, and participating in discussions and webinars. All in attempts to keep conversations about fighting for our environment alive.
Another interesting response to this question was the importance in creating links between the COVID and environmental crises, starting with creating intergenerational solidarity. Just as younger people are being called upon to help older generations during this time, older generations should be encouraged to help with the prevention of the climate crisis.
Links were also made between the continuous disruption of habitat caused by humans and the emergence of COVID-19. Participants noticed the importance of using this as a narrative in our fight for a greener and more just world.
With all that being said, everyone left the Zoom call and resumed their quarantine lives with a little bit of hope. Being able to speak about these issues made us all feel more connected, engaged and inspired during a time of isolation.
The Green Earth Club allowed many to realize not only how we can aim for a greener and more just world post-COVID, but during. These are weird times, but find peace in knowing that the climate movement is still alive and well, and that anyone can work towards a greener and just world, right now.