Why COVID-19 will end up harming the environment
Even though the air has been cleaner as a result of the global lockdowns, a more polluted future has been brewing while we weren’t looking.
The popular notion that the COVID-19 pandemic has been “good for the environment”—that nature is recovering while humanity stays at home— appeals to many people grasping for some upside to the global tragedy. Reality, though, may not cooperate with such hopes.
The benefits many found heartening early on—from cleaner air to birdsong newly audible as cars and planes went quiet—were always likely to be temporary. And with lockdowns easing, they have already begun to dissipate. Now, some experts fear that the world risks a future with more traffic, more pollution, and climate change that worsens faster than ever. It’s too soon to know whether that gloomy scenario will play out, but concerning signs seem to be growing all around the world.