The COVID-19 pandemic and safer at home mandate have brought their fair share of difficulties, but they are also giving us and our earth a chance to take rest and recharge. There have been reports of fewer vehicle miles traveled, improved air quality, and a drastic decrease in CO2 emissions around the world. Above all, it has proven that the world can band together to face a crisis and when each individual does their part we can make actionable change. As we slowly assimilate back into “normal” life, there are many ways that we can integrate lessons learned during quarantine that benefit our health and the planet:
- Ration your use of household items or transition to their reusable counterpart. Paper products and cleaning supplies have been scarce in the stores, but instead you can use smaller portions of what you have, use reusable towels, and make your own cleaning products.
- Promote the use of compostable to go containers and reject single-use plastics when possible. With new regulations, restaurants are forced to put food in to-go containers and more plastic bags are being used at grocery stores. If your local grocery store allows you, bag your own groceries in your reusable bag to prevent the spread of contaminants. You can also recommend compostable containers to your favorite restaurants, skip the plastic utensils, and ask for no straw with your drink.
- Continue working from home if possible. Many workplaces and employees have seen the benefits of remote work. On top of productivity and mental health, not going into the office removes the commute and the greenhouse gas emissions that come with it.
- Support local farmers and businesses. Several shops and businesses have been forced to close their doors during this time. As they reopen it is important to support the local economy and make sure these establishments can stay open. Additionally, by shopping locally you reduce the amount of emissions it takes to get your products to your house! You can find a list of local businesses that are open here and support a certified Green Business here.