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SDDDC· Ten Lessons | Lesson 9. Lockdowns and environment

2021-2-15 18:10:34 Comments:0 Views:128 category:SDDDC News

“People would rather believe than know”.

                                                                                        --Edward O. Wilson

Many countries decided on lockdowns in order to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus to protect their citizens. Although there were different types of lockdowns, ranging from total lockdowns to so-called intelligent lockdowns, the overall effect was a strong limitation of traveling. No traveling by airplane, trains or car except when really necessary, for instance for producing and processing food and transport this to shops. Surely, COVID-19 has brought some environmental benefits, including cleaner air, reduced carbon emissions and some relief for wildlife.


One of the most amazing consequences of the pandemic is the fact that the skies suddenly looked like paintings made in the Middle Ages. Really clean blue skies without white stripes created by passing airplanes. In the last decades, the air has basically become a highway of airplanes drawing patterns that our generations before the 1900s never saw. The clear blue sky is also an indication of some other developments. Traffic by road, sea, and air was considerably reduced industrial activities decreased as well. As a result, the carbon footprint significantly dropped. 

In many countries, there is a debate going on about which sector is mainly responsible for climate change. The dairy sector seems an easy target to blame. The truth is that transport and industry are the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions. This could also be seen by the short-term effect of COVID-19 and the lockdowns on the carbon footprints of various nations.


It is often stated that dairy is harmful to the environment because of emissions of CO2, CH4, phosphates, etc. During the lockdown, the agricultural sector remained more or less fully operational, but a substantial decrease in air pollution was seen in countries such as the Netherlands and China during the lockdown.

The lesson learned is concluded that the lockdowns reduced air pollution around the globe but also that own food production and availability of food is crucial and essential in order to be able to keep providing the people with food during a lockdown.

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