The low-down on Covid-19; how has the pandemic affected our environment?

26th April 2021

Now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel (or at least we hope we can), it’s time to reflect on the year we’ve had. The impact of Covid-19 has been huge, affecting almost every aspect of human life as we know it and the physical world is no exception. Here at WildThings, we take a closer look at how the pandemic has had both a negative and positive impact on the environment over the last year.

What changed for the good?

When Boris Johnson told us we needed to ‘stay home’ in March 2020, we had no idea how long it would be for. Suddenly, all we were permitted was one walk a day and maybe the occasional trip to the supermarket. Working from home quickly became the new normal. The restrictions on movement, as well as the extensive travel restrictions, has resulted in a sudden drop in carbon emissions, pretty much worldwide. In conjunction with this, scientists have also noted drops in water pollution and significantly improved air quality. For years, pollution has had a catastrophic impact on ecological systems in the UK, so this sudden break in what was considered ‘normal’ life has worked wonders for biodiversity. 

Wildlife has benefited enormously from the drops in pollution and the decrease in traffic and tourism has enabled them to thrive and find new food sources. 

What changed for the bad?

The biggest tragedy to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic is of course all the lives lost. In order to treat the millions of people worldwide that had caught the virus, increases in medical supplies were needed. Unfortunately, this has led to an increase in medical waste in the form of masks and gloves, as well as an increase in haphazard use and disposal of disinfectants. All of these cause harm to the environment and the wildlife that inhabit our surroundings.

How can we make a change?

According to UK-based wildlife charity PTES (People’s Trust for Endangered Species), ‘Wildlife conservation – both within the UK and internationally – is in danger of being forgotten during the Covid-19 pandemic. Decades of conservation work could be undone through neglect and unintended consequences.’

So what can we do to make a change and maintain the positive impact Covid-19 has had on the environment? Luckily there are a few simple things you can do to protect the planet and local wildlife in the UK. 

Cycle instead of drive

Driving a car and riding on public transport both contribute to increased carbon emissions. Cycling to and from work goes a long way to help reduce these emissions and also does wonders for your physical and mental well being. Not to mention, it’s much easier to spot wildlife out on the road when riding a bike so this will help reduce the likelihood of them being hit by a car or bus. 

Continue to work from home

The landscape of how people work has changed a lot over the last year. Many businesses across the UK have now decided to continue to let their staff work from home post pandemic. As we’ve already mentioned, the reduction of cars on the road and reliance on public transport go a long way to establishing long term change for the better. Not to mention the considerable drop in noise pollution that would also stem from this.

Leave out wildlife food

Make sure you leave out wildlife food and a fresh water supply whenever you can. Local animals will only thrive when they have a food source they can rely on so it’s important for you to do your bit to help out. WildThings currently offer an amazing range of healthy wildlife food; shop online today.

Get involved

The sad reality of the situation is that people often get caught up in their own lives and forget all about protecting the planet and conservation efforts. Get involved with your local conservation and rescue centres and help spread the word about what people can do to protect wildlife! 

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