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Point of View: Appreciating nature

With planes grounded, less cars on the road and streets deserted, noise and chaos associated with modern life has given way to birdsong and sometimes silence in London. As I write this, I am looking out on to a road that would normally be busy with people going to work or school. But now, like the rest of the cities across the UK it is really quiet, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

I tend to go for an early morning jog before I start the working day. At the moment, you are allowed to go out for one exercise session per day in the UK.

I left my house one day to go for one of these runs. As soon as I left my abode, a couple of bees danced around me. They had previously been buzzing around my plants. I thought to myself ‘hmm… I haven’t seen those for a while’.

I then proceeded to jog down the road and one cat looked up at me in shock. It almost looked like it could talk. I am sure if it could talk it would have said ‘what are you doing here?’ In essence, animals are becoming more bold as humans stay indoors.

After encountering this cat, I then continued down the road to my local park where I tried to avoid other joggers not adhering to the “2-meter social distancing rule”, which meant I had to run on the grass (which I never really do).

I also noticed the air was much cleaner – it was almost at sea air levels. In fact, I wonder down my local streets and for the first time I can hear myself think. In essence, the birds have the skies to themselves.

Although there are few silver linings in the age of the coronavirus, ‘nature taking over’ is one silver lining.

Hopefully, after this crisis is over people may start to question whether they were truly living ‘green’ lives pre-coronavirus. It may be one of the few positives coming out of this.

It made me question ‘Will we, as an internal community, on emerging from the crisis, re-evaluate our priorities and lifestyles and belief systems?’

Will we start to live life more in the slow lane? Will we start shifting away from our fossil fuel-based lifestyles?

Hmm… The panic buying from the previous week may suggest a tentative ‘no’ to these questions. The same people who were quick to show off their reusable water bottles pre-coronavirus were also quick to start buying six-pack plastic water bottles as soon as the PM announced a lockdown.

On the other hand, more people have time to reconsider nature now that they wake up to birdsong and hear it in the evenings. Do you necessarily need to take that trip abroad when you can do a staycation? Do you need to use the car for that short journey when you can walk it?

As life slows, we are learning to reconnect with nature and are potentially appreciating how crucial climate action is.

People may also have more time to value those that matter to them and think more about the ‘essentials’ in life versus the ‘non-essentials’.

Elsewhere, the bio-based community has a chance here to promote its green credentials. It could stress the use of natural items used in its products. When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions and fossil resource consumption, bio-based materials usually perform better than fossil-based ones.

There is no doubt that we are going through dreadful and shocking times at the moment, and I hope that you are all keeping safe and well, but this period could be a prompter for a general reset.

Some things will, without question, change for good.

What do you think about how this post-covid-19 world will look like? Let’s start a conversation.

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If you were interested in this bioeconomy story, you may also be interested in the ones below.

Read: Deputy editor’s comment: Twist and shout!

Read:  Regaining control of the bio-economy communication agenda

Read: Banks are doing too little to communicate their sustainable investment products; report.

Read: Neste and Remondis link up to develop chemical recycling of plastic waste.

Read: Maersk and big brands line up to develop lignin-blend-based fuel for shipping

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