Love is in the air, or is it merely the air we love. Air is such an elementary part of our lives that we had taken it for granted, until Corona took it away of millions of people, while showing billions of others its real value.
The absence of traffic, trade, and transport due to the lockdowns, unveiled the Himalaya for the first in 30 years; it turned horizons in cities into a clear line of well-defined buildings and statues rather than a blurry line of smog. All in less than two weeks.
It is not only about the vision; air pollution is a matter of life and dead.
About 3 million people die annually from the consequences of air pollution, says the World Health Organisation (WHO). The situation is badly in low-income countries, but as well globally in cities, where more than 80% of people are exposed to air pollution levels above safe limits.
The lockdown measures, and the slowdown in transportation, industry and trade, followed by Corona, caused a significant drop in air pollution.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which causes asthma among other diseases, globally dropped by 40% late January and early February 2020, compared to the same period last year. Two weeks after the lockdown started in the UK, NO2 in cities fell even by 60% compared to the same period last year. No wonder since NO2 is released by burning fossil fuels for transportation and power plants,
All these effects turned up in less than two weeks time, showing a yes we can attitude if we would only will.
Back to the Future
The lockdowns had put people’s health first, and as a side-effect it had put the citizens before its cars. With the exchange for motorised transportation in active forms such as walking and cycling, and long and pleasure distances into short and necessary ones, emissions dropped significantly. This drop down was topped up by the slowdown in trade, industry, and with that in electricity production.
The lockdown provided us a precious vision of the future.
A future, when fossil fuels will no longer power our energy plants, nor our heating and cooling systems or transportation means. When emissions drop significantly, not only could we mitigate climate change, but as well can we safe our lives.
Not only is NO2 causing asthma, other particular matter is released as well when burning fossil fuel. PM10 and PM2.5 are the most known ones, they are as fine that they have a diameter of less than 10 microns or 2.5 microns respectively. But their small size is inversely proportional the damage it causes in our bodies. PM10 goes deep into the lungs where it causes bronchitis, asthma and other respiratory diseases. PM2.5, is even as small that it can penetrate the lungs and forces its way into our veins, causing heart failure and cancers all over our body.
Back Yard or Jungle
Paris’ Mayor Anne Hildago even developed a city plan called ‘Paris of 15 minutes’. When Corona is gone, air pollution should not return is her credo. If the city would be organised as such that all people could find all their needs and wants within 15 minutes of transportation within the city, they could walk and cycle rather than having to take any kind of motorised transportation, unless shared one. As such not only traffic congestion would be reduced, but as well air pollution. Improvement of social cohesion and road safety will be nice side effects of the reorganised city.
The need was there before Corona, but wasn’t heard. The need became urgent and the only option during the lockdown, so finally it was acted upon. The need will still be there after Corona, but it might be over shouted by other interests. Therefore, we must remind its echo when we pick up urban life after Corona.
After Corona, the City should become the back yard of the citizen, not the dangerous jungle it was before.
Love is in the Air
Active transport instead of motorised transport is one way to get the love back in the air. More greenery to purify the air and connect us with nature is another crucial one on which I write more tomorrow.
Now Corona has taken the breath away of some, while giving it back to others, let’s not stop valuing our most essential element of life, let’s keep this ‘yes we can’ attitude, if only we would will.
This article is part of the series of Hope in Times of Corona. Read
- How this too shall pass
- 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 breath 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
- about nature bouncing back
- about the crucial choice between resilience and resistance
- about the game to play
- about star gazing in dark times
- About looking for Meaning
- About how Music Connects
- about what Easter and Corona have in Common
- About the Shark and the Turtle
- About the Irony of Distance
- Why to Hold on
- Fake News
- about The Big Unknown we live at
- about Feeling Alive
- About turning obstacles into opportunities
- about what the Birthday of my nephew learned me about life
- About where we should go from here?
- About coping with incertitude
- About the Great War and the Great Pandemic, and we should not forget
- about history’s most important message, echoed by corona
- How one country could rule them all
- About how to prevent the next Green Pandemic
- about how we are experiencing a new episode of our history books
- about when the poppy flowers
- about what’s in a number
- masks off, how a friend in need is a friend indeed
- What’s Next. after we flattened the curve?
- how will our personal story look like in a post-corona world?
- why we should never let a good crisis go too waste.
- How Spring can happen in Autumn
- How to unlock the lockdown
- Why education matters
- How we can give meaning to the meaningless deaths. (rethink health care)
- The remarkable marketability of health, or not?
- the remarkable rewards of health
- The queeste for global health care
- Health Heroes
- Pains and Gains
- Solidarity 3.0
- Work-Life Balance
- Home sweet home
- Real Connections
- Leadership 3.0
- gratitude 3.0
- Respect 3.0
- Humanity 3.0
- Change Management
- Economic Catharsis
- To consume or not to consume?
- Travel the world, travel your heart
- Barrels of Life
- People, no Number Management
- Back to the Office?
- Those jobs …
- Economic Growth or Green Growth
- Global trade, global fate
- Act local, think global
- A changed climate for Climate Change
Or wait until tomorrow, when I’ll shine another light on yet another positive corner of this dark time.