There’s nothing good to say about the novel coronavirus pandemic hitting the globe right now. Nearly 10,000 people have died globally, and Italy has officially become the hardest-hit nation after China, with 41,000 documented cases.
To slow the number of new infections, Italy has been on lockdown since March 9, with people mostly staying in their homes. Amid all this societal disruption, nature finally seems to have found a sense of peace. Small fish are visible again in the waterways of Venice, Italy, a popular tourist destination known for its canals and romantic boat rides.
With the famous Venice canal tours all on hold, marine wildlife is finally visible now that boats aren’t kicking up sediment and leaving the water murky. With the human world seemingly hitting pause—in a devastating blow to world economies—the planet seems to be recovering, in small ways, at least.
Air quality has improved dramatically in both China and Italy as a result of this pandemic. This isn’t to blame individuals. Fossil fuel extraction is behind much of the environmental damage we’re suffering—whether that’s air pollution or degrading oceans. We’re all just working with the current system in place. And many people are standing up to change it, but the people in power won’t listen.
Healthy people are the ones who are most likely to survive this virus. Air pollution is likely putting individuals more at risk of covid-19 because of all the health issues, including heart and lung disease, that come with exposure to toxic air pollutants.
With these little moments of reprieve, Earth is trying to send us a message: If we are to save ourselves, we must first stop abusing our natural resources.