Global pandemic does not mean global disregard


With the ever increasing number of cases, it’s important we take a minute to consider other effects of the virus, such as waste. Photo credit: Flickr: GoToVan

Edgar Mendoza

With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full force, it can be easy to forget that climate change and ecological crises continue to savage the planet. The pandemic has rocked this planet to its core as an increase in trash and food waste shows no sign of stopping.

The time has come to remind ourselves that one issue does not press pause on prior ones. We must find the middle ground between caring for ourselves, our family, and the planet we call home, by making eco-friendly and conscious choices like reusable masks and buying only what we truly need.

The most basic requirement is to wear a mask, and while most (but not all) people adhere to this, a separate issue arises: the sudden increase in waste.

Single use masks may not seem like an issue at first, but when millions of people are throwing away significant amounts of waste on a daily basis, it begins to contribute to the total landfill and waste levels on an unprecedented scale. The simplest solution is to invest in a cloth mask, one that can be reused with a simple wash, and which can be stored until it is needed again.

This issue is bigger than initially thought but it is nowhere near the most severe. Many may have just emerged from a period of panic buying, in which food and drink and supplies were bought in bulk.

In the fervent preparation for a supposed inevitable collapse, people and families found themselves with mountains upon mountains of food and supplies. Many of these excess supplies have become nothing but expired waste, while those families who were too late to the frenzy had to make due with hardly enough to survive.

It is admirable and understandable to want to support your family, but there is a line in which caring and worry becomes greed and disregard for others.

It is a tough truth to swallow, but countless families and providers have found themselves overcome by the desire to prepare for the worst, and in doing so, have made that worst case scenario a reality for the families who arrived only a minute too late.

These are only two of many issues that have arisen, but they are the two easiest remedied.

A cloth mask, not even a few dollars more, will provide you better protection, a better investment, and will help reduce waste.

The issue of food waste is perhaps a slightly more difficult one, but at its core, simply buy what you need. Refrain from buying for 8 when you have a family of 3.

Perhaps the best system is to buy for a set time interval, such as two weeks, and plan your meals in advance. Set up a system, in which your meals are set for each day, and towards the end of the final week, shop again for the subsequent two weeks.

This is a simple suggestion, one that works well for those who already meal prep, and one that is easy to implement with dedication.

Individuals changing their lifestyles isn’t the solution to climate change, as twenty companies are responsible for a full one-third of all CO2 emissions, but these everyday solutions can pave the way for bigger and bolder approaches to climate action.

Let us remind ourselves that we can protect ourselves and our families, but it means nothing if we don’t have a healthy planet to live on and for.