“It is inspiring to be in a country taking the threat posed by climate change seriously”
-8 minute read
Written by Esme Gillen
During the Covid-19 Pandemic, my spirits were lifted, as I’m sure others were too, when news feeds and social media timelines were flooded with images encapsulating the environmental benefits that lockdown had caused. With images of clear canal waters in Venice and low pollution over China, it was hard not to hold onto some hope that this dramatic change in our lives was helping us to tackle the daunting effects of climate change.
Image by Ricardo Angel via Unsplash
Yet, as quickly as they appeared, these changes were gone again. As someone who cares for the environment, it was hugely disappointing to discover that the improved air quality and low greenhouse gas emissions were only temporary, with the pandemic actually increasing overall use of single-use plastics.
It was frustrating to be teased with these short-lived achievements, only to have our vision of a greener future taken two steps back. To me, the situation reiterated what we’ve been told a thousand times before: we need a unified and collective approach to tackle global warming, it cannot be done by individuals alone. However, as someone who has tried to uphold a sustainable lifestyle, I find it hard to imagine how we could all form an eco-friendlier attitude collectively, given our engrained societal structures, without having to be locked up in our houses.
Image by Matt Smart via Unsplash
Luckily, this past year I have been able to experience a completely different cultural attitude towards the environment, by studying in Zurich, Switzerland. Not only am I studying in the place crowned top sustainable city in the World 2016, but Switzerland itself is within the top five countries achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development goals the fastest.