How Mother Nature became Our Best Friend in 2020
Lockdown has been undoubtedly difficult for many, but with this came a year of befriending Mother Nature that continues to benefit both humans and wildlife worldwide. With the closure of shops, restaurants, pubs, and gyms, we have had very little access to what life was like pre-pandemic. For that very reason, we have taken consolation in our surroundings and have embraced the natural world.
The introduction of lockdown in March 2020 gave people a lot of free time and more appreciation for the Nature that we call our home when our Mental Health suffered. We replaced commercialised pre-pandemic activities with walks in the park, jogging with our beloved pets, making an in-garden gym session or following house-plant crazes and made the most of our natural surroundings.
It goes without saying, being outdoors contributes significantly to physical and mental health. Have you ever experienced a sudden relaxation while scrolling through the woods? That's because nature can reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension. Similarly, research conducted in hospitals, offices, and schools has found that even a simple plant in a room can significantly impact stress and anxiety and reduce feelings of anger and fear.
What has lockdown done for the environment?
Over 65% of the population have endured some form of lockdown across the globe, whether that is complete or partial. With the lockdown of many countries, it has left Mother Nature to fend for itself.
But is that such a bad thing?
Nature has always been a force to be reckoned with; the temporary "disappearance" of human life from being locked indoors has proven highly beneficial to the world's wildlife.
With the closure of airports and non-essential travel expulsion, millions of planes have been left grounded. Whilst this has huge economic repercussions, there has been a benefit and change in levels of Co2 and emission of greenhouse gases caused by air travel and industry activity. Two weeks after the national lockdown was announced in the UK, NO2 pollution in some cities declined by as much as 60% compared to previous years. The global lockdowns have shown the improvements to air quality that are possible when emissions are reduced on a global scale.
The pandemic could show us how the future might look with less air pollution, or it may just indicate the scale of the challenge ahead. At the very least, it should challenge governments and businesses to consider how things can be done differently after the pandemic, to hold on to temporary improvements in air quality.
As a result of lockdown, Nature has taken its time to heal. Animals are thriving in habitats that were once taken over by humans pre-covid. Bottlenose dolphins confidently swam in Venice's Grand Canal, without the presence of tourism-driven boat noise pollution, and sheep were seen re-claiming welsh land and exploring human-made consumerism that consisted of children's parks and a Mcdonalds in the South of Wales.
Air pollution has been at its lowest in decades. Despite Mental Health significantly increasing, nature has provided us with natural techniques of aiding our health in ways that we took for granted before. All thanks to the increasing bond we have grown with Nature in 2020.
Showing our love and appreciation towards Mother Nature during 2020 has revitalised and rejuvenated our planet, but how long will it be before we're back to our old habits, potentially causing harm to the earth again? Mother Nature has supported and cradled us in our time of need, and we need to play our part to do the same in post covid times.