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How Is The Pandemic Affecting The Eco-Friendly Movement?

May 7, 2020

When this pandemic first started, I wasn’t worried. It still seemed so far away and like it wouldn’t make it’s way to the small town where I live. Then, day by day, it creeped closer. One day I was walking into my favourite coffee shop like nothing had changed, and the next day they were telling me I couldn’t use my reusable mug. The next day I couldn’t use my reusable bags at the grocery store (or it was frowned upon, I should say). Suddenly plastic bags were free again and I felt like I was jumping backwards 5 years before we had really seen a shift toward the green movement.

I was heartbroken, we were making so much progress. Now the emphasis is on disposable so that we limit exposure to the virus. Given I understand the severity of this situation, many have lost their lives, but once this is all over will we fall back into our frivolous habits, or will we have a deeper understanding of our impact on this earth?

This pandemic is proving that people can change. We have changed so drastically in the matter of weeks because we have the push of fear on our butts to make sure that we keep each other safe. So why can’t we make (or adapt) the changes to help combat climate change? A very real issue that has the same, if not worse consequences as this pandemic, but it happens over a longer period of time vs the weeks that coronavirus has stolen from our lives.

The question posed in the title of this blog post is “How Is The Pandemic Effecting The Eco-Friendly Movement?” and here is my answer/opinion: The effects of the pandemic in the sense that we have seen an increase in single use plastic usage are fleeting and not going to stay around after we get through this. Yes it will be a mess for us to clean up again but we’ve got this, we have done it before. But on the other hand I think this is a blessing in disguise.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish this pandemic never existed and my heart and soul goes out to those who’ve lost their lives and the families they’ve left behind.

But for those of us who think that staying at home for a few weeks is a curse, I encourage you to look at it from another point of view. We are experiencing an economic “degrowth”. We are slowing down, we are being given time to consider how we are living are lives and if we are truly happy. We have the opportunity to be more intentional with our days. And my hope is that when this pandemic ends, we have shifted our lives enough to realize that buying things and living a fast-paced life are not the key to fulfillment.

We have the opportunity now more than ever to shift to buying local and considering where we spend our dollars. We will no longer take for granted a trip to the grocery store or visiting a loved one. We will have a renewed sense of how we want to live our lives and the intentions behind a full and happy life.

So I think that this pandemic will temporarily shift the eco-friendly movement backwards, but the benefits if we continue to take what we’ve learned in this pandemic and apply it to the future then we will make huge shifts toward a more sustainable future.

In the meantime, here are some eco-friendly activities to try in quarantine:

  • start a garden
  • move your body
  • try plant based recipes
  • start a compost
  • read more books
  • cook more
  • spend time in nature
  • make your own household cleaners

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