A lazy Sunday Morning, they are walking animated over the streets, stopping at the gardens of the locked-down residents. Looking for the most precious flower or plants, not to admire, but to eat. Be aware; the goats are in town! When we step back, nature steps up.
It is peaceful in Llandudno, a small coastal town in Wales. As everywhere else in the UK, people are forced to stay inside except for essential journeys. Behind their windows, residents watch their empty streets, left over to the elements of nature. Yet, today is different. The goats are in town!
A herd of Kashmiri goats who normally live wild and free outside town, are taking over. Looking for fresh greenery, they have left their normal habitat and started wondering around the curiosity and silence of Llandudno. Maybe they were attracted by the sudden silence, the sudden emptiness and the sudden peace of their bustling neighbours. Maybe they were just looking for an exceptional breakfast. But here they are, owning the streets that before Corona were owned by humans.
Globally the lockdown has turned various bustling urbanised centres into ghost towns. Movies as Will Smith’s ‘I am Legend’ are more than legends now. They are our reality, except for the zombies obviously. Yet we face deserted streets, with few lost characters still roaming around.
Yet, it might be in these ghost towns that nature can come back. Less animals, from birds over bugs to cats and wallabies would be likely to get hit by a car because traffic is down. Less animals would be frightened and threatened by the noise and movement of humans, because they are all at home.
Blue Sky, Blue Water
Water and air quality already improved significantly in various cities all over the world. For instance. In India, where 22 of the 30 most polluted cities of the world are located, pollution levels dropped significantly. In the capital Delhi, the level of PM2.5 which causes besides lung diseases cardiovascular diseases and cancer as well, dropped from 165µg/m3 to 64µg/m3 in less than 10 days after the lockdown of 1.3 billion people.
In addition, with the absence of boating, water quality improved as well. The water of the channels in Venice has never been as clear. Mistakenly, people have reported dolphins swimming around, which was actually based on pictures taken in Sardinia, another part of Italy. Yet, even without dolphins in Venice, it is obvious how our planet has given a bit of a break of our polluting life styles, and nature will profit of it. Taking back what it deserves.
Moreover, when we give nature its space, it takes its space. I have been always fascinated by visiting ruins all over the world, the left-overs of times of history giving us a guess about how it ones might have looked like.
From the ruins of the abandoned villages in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, over the ash-covered ruins of Pompei, back until the eldest ruins I’ve ever visited, the 5000-year-old ruins of The Sacred City of Caral in Peru, and the Pyramids in Egypt.
In between of them are the symbolic ruins we all know of, like the Maya Ruins of Copan in Honduras, the Inca ruins of Machu Pichu in Peru, or the Khmer ruins of Angkor Watt in Cambodia. All over the world, where once huge civilisations ruled, ruins are left only and nature has taken over again.
While the ruins of Copan are now ruled by tall red parrots, with a colourful tale and a loud song, the ruins of Angkor Watt are completely taken over by humongous trees. As gate keepers of the past, they have grown over the abandoned temples, giving them shadow and shelter, while their roots serve as anchors to the present.
I am not sure if I was more impressed by seeing those gigantic ruins, or of the power of nature, taking back what once belonged to it.
Rise and Shine after Radiation
A similar story can be seen in the more recent history. Thirty years ago, in a town in Eastern-Europe, a nuclear disaster expelled all live. The nuclear reactors that once fuelled the town of Chernobyl, fuelled a permanent exodus.
Yet, 20 years later, researchers took a look at the impact of the nuclear disaster on wildlife, and the ability to recover. Despite the immediate devastating impact of the radiation on the entire ecosystem, they discovered an abundance of species in the zone. Not because of the presence of radiation, but because of the absence of human beings.
Beavers, badgers, lynx and bison came back, and even a brown bear was spotted. Wolfes appeared to be more abundant than in radiation-free nature reserves in Belarus. The clear relation between the impact of the absence of humans and the presence of animals in the zone can be seen in those zones where radiation levels had been really high, and wildlife did not return. Yet, where it did, it did abundantly. Imagine, how wildlife is more treated by daily human presence than by a nuclear disaster?
There might not be dolphins in Venice, but history has shown, if you give nature its space, it will take it.
If we feel desperate and powerless with regards to big ecological challenges, than Corona has shown us how big our impact actually is. If we take a step back, nature can step in. If we reduce our transport, air quality improves directly. If we reduce boating, water quality improves directly, if we leave our streets abandoned, nature walks in.
Every single one of us has made changes in daily habits to fight Covid-19, yet unintended we are fighting those big ecologic challenges at the same time. Not by becoming genius engineers, but just by giving a bit of space back of what we had taken, by allowing nature to be here. By taking small steps, we created a big impact. Even though if it was just taking a step aside to create social distancing.
Covid-19 has shown us one thing: that we as humans can have a big impact by taking all small steps. And if we all take small steps aside; nature can finally step in again.
A Small Reminder
Let’s not forget this, later, when Covid-19 leaves our countries and minds, and the rat race of life takes off again. Let’s not forget how we need proper air to breath, proper water to drink, and proper nature to co-exist with. Let’s not forget how nature always was and always will be the first premise for life on this planet.
Let’s not forget how are small steps do make a big impact. Let’s not forget how it is in our power to empower nature. Let’s not forget how we as well one day will return to dust, our rulers to ruins, and nature will flourish again. And before that date, we can allow nature to be here, let it flourish and co-exist.
Corona has created a window of opportunity to create a better relationship with nature; let’s keep it open and keep the view clear. Yes, we can!
This article is part of the series of Hope in Times of Corona. Read
- how this times of self-isolation should not mean loneliness,
- how you can contribute to this battle,
- how gratitude lights up the dark,
- how united we will stand strong
- on the most util strategy in awake of a crisis
- how I got blown of my feet as well, but caught by many caring hands,
- how being calm can get us through the storm.
- about Love in Times of Corona
- how to discover your own talents
- why we need stories to hold on to
- how you can be creative and innovative.
- how to spend your mot valuable assets in times of Corona.
- how to listen to the sound of silence.
- How breate taking Corona really is.
- discover the other freedoms Corona has shown us,
- about the new-born freedom Corona gave us.
- about another way to exceed your personal bubble.
- about the position of nature in this entire story
Or wait until tomorrow, when I’ll shine another light on yet another positive corner of this dark times.