Home Articles posted by Lilli Scott

COVID-19 might be a worldwide pandemic, but could it be an environmental tonic?

The panic of coronavirus is sweeping the world, as you might have seen through toilet paper hoarding memes or perhaps by the near-empty supermarket shelves in your own town. Despite our tendency to love internet humour, it is extremely important not to make light of the illness. Especially as circumstances change. That being said, while we are probably aware of the scary consequences of COVID-19, it is having a rather unexpected side effect: a positive environmental impact.

Since the beginning of the outbreak around New Year’s Eve last year, more measures are being taken to limit the spread of the virus worldwide. Some of these measures include limits on global trade, social distancing and encouraging limiting travel. All of these have led to a decrease in carbon emissions which is good for the environment.

In Wuhan China, where the outbreak originated, there has been a noticeable drop in air pollution. NASA published these images of the air pollution about the city of Wuhan which shows the air pollution clearing as the outbreak has grown.

China is the world’s largest contributor to climate change, and experts estimate that their emissions have been cut by about 25% since the outbreak. Similar changes have been recorded in Italy who have also been heavily affected by the pandemic. Cleaner air also aids in the respiratory recovery for those with the virus, making this side effect a win-win.

This, of course, is not the best way to reduce climate change. It has also led to a temporary halt of ‘School Strike for Climate Protests’ worldwide and postponed the upcoming United Nations summit on climate change. So whilst COVID-19 measures might be acting as medicine for the environment right now, it’s clearly not a long term solution; just a silver lining to keep in mind. 

Tips for Looking After Yourself and the Environment:

  • Wash your hands! Try to wash your hands with soap and water rather than using hand sanitiser when it is possible. Hand sanitiser is unnecessarily bottled in plastic and many doctors agree that it doesn’t remove debris to the same degree as soap and water. Water washes the germs off your skin and down the drain.
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has advised us that social distancing should become our new normal. Arden defined social distancing as remaining outside of spitting distance of those around you. Although this could also mean limiting contact with those who are sick or big social gatherings. Make use of awesome technology such as Snapchat and Facetime to stay in touch with your friends!

I’m sure many of you have heard the cliche ‘it would be a boring world if we were all the same.’ And you might have rolled your eyes when you heard it, especially if this line was delivered a parent. But if you think about it, it really would be boring. Our differences are what make us more interesting and collectively, cultural diversity is something we should appreciate

This week it is the one year anniversary of the Christchurch Mosque Shooting. With the time that has passed, this awful event might have slipped your mind. But we must make an effort to remember the lesson it taught us; that we need to celebrate diversity and celebrate our differences.

Where we come from isn’t what makes us New Zealanders, it’s our kindness and our can-do kiwi attitudes. To begin with, New Zealand (like most countries) was a country inhabited by immigrants. It was settled by many different ethnic groups, starting with the early Maori from Eastern Polynesian in 1320 and then in 1642 by a Dutchman named Abel Tasman. Since then, the number of ethnicities in New Zealand has skyrocketed to well over 200. With this growing diversity, there is a growing importance of being inclusive.

This means doing your part to make sure people feel respected and safe. If you see or hear something that isn’t kind make sure you say something. It’s a great idea to lead by example too. This week ask your friends and classmates about their culture and where they come from. Or see if there is a cultural celebration day at your school or in your area and take part.

Diversity is awesome as it allows you to understand new perspectives. Someone who is from the Philippines might have a favourite sport or food that is different to someone from Scotland. Hearing about other people’s experiences can shed light on life different to your own. Your mum was somewhat right, it would be a boring world if we were all the same. But whilst we might be different in some ways, we are the same in the ways that count.

Where are your ancestors or family from? Have you ever experienced a different culture that you loved? Comment below.

Initially, it seemed that when Meghan Markle married into the royal family, it would usher in a progressive new age.

However, traditional royal life remained inflexible and thus the former Duke and Duchess of Sussex made the bombshell announcement earlier this year that they were going to step back from royal duties.

Did you know? – Royal Family

No royals are permitted to take selfies with anyone
Royal etiquette dictates that royals are not to close car doors for themselves.
Despite forgoing royal duties Prince Harry remains sixth in line for the throne.

This was a very controversial move for the couple and it received a lot of media ridicule. However, millennial run sites (such as Buzzfeed) have made a point to defend Markle. Comparisons have been made on media articles written on Meghan Markle versus on Kate Middleton. For example:

The Mail Online wrote two articles one year apart. The one on Kate was captioned- “Not long to go, pregnant Kate tenderly cradles her baby bump while wrapping up her royal duties ahead of her maternity leave”

Whereas an article on Meghan was titled- “Why can’t Meghan Markle keep her hands off her bump? Experts tackle the question that has got the nation talking: is it pride, vanity, acting or a new age bonding technique?

Similarly, online paper Express wrote-“Kate’s morning sickness cure? Prince William gifted an avocado for pregnant Duchess.”

Compared to the headline they published two years later –“Meghan Markle’s beloved avocado linked to human rights abuse, and drought, millennial shame.”

Frankly, the comparisons are ridiculous. It is quite a reach to put forward that eating avocado can link one to human rights abuses. It is clear as to why the couple felt the pressure of the royal status had been detrimental. Their royal-exit has led to the verb ‘to Meghan Markle’. This gave her name and the decision a positive light. The quasi-royal name is now used as a term for prioritising your mental health. 

“Meghan Markle, a verb: to value yourself and your mental health enough to up and leave a room/ situation/ environment in which your authentic self is not welcomed or wanted.”

If people were going to use your name as a verb for something, what would you want it to be? Comment below!