Has Covid-19 Brought Sustainability to a Halt? | Pondering Thoughts

Originally published June 2020.

In this crazy world we currently live in of lockdown rules and little freedom (temporarily, is the hope!), it’s an interesting thought for me to consider, whether this whole life upheaval has had an impact on Sustainability. With more time in our homes, little travelling necessary and the world seemingly having a huge pause, I’m curious to explore whether some form, or if any, of Sustainability is affected. Whether we, as humans, by taking a step back, have done some good to our eco-systems, or, if our habits have only become worse during this global pandemic.  This piece is of course going to be an open-ended ponder, as I obviously do not know the answer to any of the above, but as I said, I am incredibly curious to find out.

For the world of Sustainability, it feels the last few years, we as a society have come on leaps and bounds in terms of learning and doing more to help the planet. Whether this be an increased awareness of the effects of meat-eating, with 2019, last year, being dubbed ‘The Year of the Vegan'[1] With this, the buzz word of ‘Sustainability’ has seemingly moved past the phase of being a trend into a lifestyle for many. More and more we hear the stats of how much plastic is damaging the world, as well as a vast majority of product now being made of some form of recycled material.

Of course, it’s all a start, much much more is needing doing to nearly every market sector. But, with all this progress, I wonder to myself whether the pandemic has halted Sustainability’s progress. Has all this work been simply paused for the time-being or completely scraped altogether, with the development of Covid-19? I guess we won’t properly know until the virus has dramatically declined, but I feel there are two sides to deliberate here.

YES, Covid-19 has halted Sustainability
One perspective in this thought-piece is in someways yes, it can be said that the probability that Sustainability has been halted slightly when considering everything that could have been done and progressed if we weren’t under strict instruction to work-from home, or unfortunately, be furloughed/let go.  An article by the BBC looks into conservation and the protection of our animals and environments [2], and how the lack of funding and the reduced amount of workers helping to conserve animals, may see disastrous results.

Conserving our animals and bio-diversity in general, is of course incredibly important to sustaining our planet, and keeping our food chains running. They quote It is also right here in the UK where environmental charities are being gravely affected by all the changes that Covid-19 is producing”. Meaning, from this perspective, yes Sustainability is being affecting in the form of reduced protected towards bio-diversity, which is of course a huge part of our everyday. 

NO, Covid-19 hasn’t halted Sustainability
In comparison, it can be said that Sustainability is developing as well, if not better, then prior to Covid-19.  This in the form of the things I’ve previously mentioned, the amount of us travelling has dramatically decreased; this all being incredibly positive when we consider how little toxic chemicals will be ladening our skies. A decrease in CO2 will help slow down the creation of Greenhouse Gases, one of the many reasons the global temperature is increasing. Adding to this, Sustainable develops in the forms of everyday products is still being done, with perhaps more time than ever now for companies to really consider their strategies.  Take for example, an article in the news last month on planet-based bottles being created with “cardboard bottle lined with an inner layer of plant plastic”[3] which has already impressed the likes on beer-brand Carlsberg. 

Adding to this, it could be said, with this excess time on our hands, it can help us as individuals to consider our current lives, and give us time to consider what we can change to be better. An article by Business of Fashion deliberates this topic in the sense of sustainable fashion, where the contributor ponders I imagine that there will be a profound awakening after this time of crisis, we must break old patterns and find new, more elevated ways of living”[4]


On the whole, there are two sides to the story. It may be where some areas have progressed, others have seen short-fall. It’s something that will not be able to be seen until perhaps this time next year, or in 5 years time when the data may not match its prediction.  It’s a topic I’ve wanted to write about for a while and it has helped me put it all into perspective. We as individuals need to do as much as we can to protect our environments and practise sustainability as much as we can.

Covid-19 has been absolutely terrible and my heart goes out to every single person that has lost a loved one or suffered through the virus. I simply pray the end is near to all this as life itself, at the end of it all, is the most precious thing there is.


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