Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.
When Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle, announces his marriage to Hamlet’s mother, he (an incestuous, murderous villain) has the political wherewithal to admit the timing of the wedding wasn’t ideal, since it came “With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage.” So much more must I lament the fact that the mission statement for this web log is being realized around the world. People are driving less so all may live more.
It would be absurd to talk about the silver lining of the present pandemic (or, as it is redundantly called, the “global pandemic”). The cost is too high and, really, the effects will probably be short lived. Two days ago, a barrel of crude oil was worth negative $35 or so; today you must pay upward of $20 or so for the same barrel. This pandemic too will pass.
In the mean time, however, it is worth pointing out that here on earth (on Earth Day, also) the virus has given us a picture of what the world could look like if people chose to drive less instead being forced by legal mandate to drive less.
If you look up into the sky tonight in NYC – it’s so clear out that you can see the Big Dipper.
I can’t remember ever being able to see it from the city before.
— Corey Johnson – FLATTEN THE CURVE & STAY HOME (@CoreyinNYC) April 21, 2020
Any one of these links provide a glimpse at what the world could look like over time if the practice of minimal driving (and less industrialization) were retained long after the face masks were doffed.
- Including a pair of before and after photos of India Gate: India coronavirus: Can the Covid-19 lockdown spark a clean air movement?
- A one-minute video on how clean the Ganges river has become: India coronavirus lockdown ‘cleans up’ Ganges river
- Great photo of Beijing with reports of major declines in pollution in many cities: COVID-19 has cut air pollution in some countries—but will this blip make a difference?
- Cities in England experience much lower levels of PM2.5 and nitrogen: Coronavirus UK lockdown causes big drop in air pollution
- “The global coronavirus pandemic has inadvertently achieved what state officials have sought to do for decades: Californians have parked their cars”: As Californians stay at home, air quality improves – for now
- The air of Los Angeles has benefited immensely, as a density graph shows: As Many Stay Home, L.A.’s Air Quality Is Better Than It’s Been in Decades
- the list goes on .. .
The hope for environmentalists is that this transient clear air and water will whet the taste of communities to maintain the change. One practical step being considered is giving preference to green technologies for business bailouts. Meanwhile, like the mirth in funeral and dirge in marriage, environmental regulations are being rolled back to keep highly polluting companies alive. Hamlet is a tragedy in the end, and I hope we don’t stick to the script we’ve been following for the last 70 years.
Happy birthday to all those born on Earth Day!