Could the Coronavirus emergency help fight climate change?

Toilet paper shortage, empty supermarket shelves, schools and companies closing… The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing all of us to change our daily, personal and working habits. So what if being eco-friendly is actually the best measure against this crisis threatening our society?

1. Stay at home and reduce air-pollution

You might have already seen the pictures from space agencies, showing the improved quality of air over China or Italy, during the Covid-19 crisis. Impressive right? Who would have thought that staying home for such a short amount of time could have such an enormous impact it could actually be seen from space. So while you are working remotely, or staying home instead of driving/flying somewhere, you are actually contributing to cleaner air. Basically you’re fighting climate change without knowing it. 

Ducky members remote

Here we are, Ducky members working from home, remote celebrating a coworker's birthday and online sharing lunch, drinking coffee and our Friday celebrations 🤓

2. Avoid huge supermarket chains and support your local economy instead


It doesn’t really make sense to stay at home if you also shop at big supermarkets where you'll mingle with hundreds of other people. Fighting over a pack of pasta, tussling over toilet paper and possibly picking up an infection with your receipt.  Knowing that the Coronavirus can linger for up to 3 days on plastic, it appears to be an actual risk to get things from abroad, whether wrapped in plastic or paper.

Settling for local food from a local store may be one of the best ways to do your essential shopping. Going to these stores (with your own bag and respecting the 1m safety distance) rather than pushing carts in the aisles of overcrowded markets can actually help prevent this epidemic accelerating. You will also be  supporting your local economy, and reducing your food’s carbon footprint. And we know: eating local is always better for the planet. Wanna take it up a notch? Here is a calendar to help you eat seasonal fruits and vegetables in Europe.

You can also reduce coming and going to the stores by simply reducing your food waste. Cooking vegetable skins in your soup and storing leftovers are some examples of cooking habits that can lower your needs to buy food and reduce your footprint.

If you happen to live in a country which has a state imposed lockdown, you can maybe also get in touch with restaurant managers and help them with their stocks. Restaurants that are forced to close will have to throw their raw food away. Buying those perishable materials from them would help them and avoid food waste at the same time.

3. Let go of the fear of TP shortage. Use a zero waste alternative: cloth toilet paper

Believe me, I won’t wake up at 4am to line up at the supermarket in order to have a chance to get one package of toilet paper. Some crazy smart people have tried a cloth TP alternative and you might want to check it out. Who knows,  if this crisis continues, you might soon need to trade a kidney for a roll of paper on the black market. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather use water, soap & cloth. This might be weird for some of you, but actually there are billions of people who live in countries where toilet paper is considered to be less hygenic than a water douche. I had my first paper-free loo experience and came back alive and whole. I’d do that again, especially if it saves me some sleeping time and reduces the chances of getting infected while waiting with others for the supermarket to open.

4. Regaining control of our consumption

There's no question that in the middle of this Corona virus crisis,  one thing has become apparent. Our lower consumption has significant benefits for our planet. It's not just the lowered pollution or the reduction in plastic waste, but also the reduction in environmental damage that comes from our frantic, mass activity. You may have seen the reports from Venice, where dolphins have reappeared in the cleaner stiller water for the first time in decades. The reduction in demand for electricity has meant a slump in coal use, which is great news for global warming. We can help this effect by making sure we maintain a prudent and frugal use of electricity during our enforced isolation at home. 

5. Reigning in our travel obsession

One of the hidden benefits of this awful virus may end up being the end of our obsession with constant, and in many cases unnecessary travel. Nowadays we routinely accept air travel at prices less than a bus ticket, and it's created a world where we're in danger of swamping any positive climate action with a destructive tsunami of holiday and business travel. This slump in global air travel comes at a time when governments are already struggling with the task of persuading us all to switch to more environmentally friendly alternatives such as train and bus or even video-conferencing. While it's clear that a certain amount of air travel is definitely essential, if we can emerge from the virus with a new respect for trying out new travel alternatives, then we will indeed be helping our planet restore itself over time. 

Have you discovered any other eco friendly side effects to your new Covid-19 habits? Share them in the comment section! And don’t forget the easiest way to avoid contamination - and stay healthy - is to wash your hands!

T rex hands wash

Want to know the impact of those eco-friendly habits for your company? Why not get a Ducky challenge during this remote working period and challenge your coworkers into greener actions? Feel free to contact us for more info 🌱

Miyuki Monty

Climate Action