There are few positives to a disease which has left a trail of devastation around the world and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, but a temporary reduction in carbon and pollution levels is one. Another will hopefully be a re-evaluation of how we treat our planet.
An article in The Guardian on 4 June 2020 stated that "daily emissions of carbon dioxide fell by an average of about 17% around the world in early April, according to a comprehensive study last month. As lockdowns are eased, however, the fall in emissions for the year as a whole is only likely to be only between 4% and 7% compared with 2019. That will make no appreciable difference to the world’s ability to meet the goals of the Paris agreement, and keep global heating below the threshold of 2C that scientists say is necessary to stave off catastrophic effects."
So it seems that unfortunately the epidemic may not have cured the planet's ills. However, it may have given people a new appreciation of the environment as people enjoy quieter roads, clearer skies and nature returning to urban centres. Pre-Coronavirus, at Wild Frontiers we were re-assessing our own responsible travel policies, measuring our own footprint and stepping up our commitment to reduce carbon emissions.
Wild Frontiers has automatically off-set staff and clients’ international flights, when booked through us, for 15 years. We were among the first UK-based tour operators to implement the initiative in 2005, contributing to renewable energy projects.
In early 2020 we committed to taking this even further and focusing on reducing our carbon footprint, both operationally in our UK and US offices, and on the ground in destination. To help us do this, we were working with specialist consultants at EcoAct to put together a carbon reduction management plan with the aim of becoming carbon neutral in 2021.
Moving forwards we will aim to use the lessons we have learned during the Coronavirus era to ensure we continue making significant changes. These will include reducing business travel and embracing virtual conferencing more. Once we are back to the 'new normal' we plan to step up our efforts once again; you can read about our plan to reduce our carbon footprint here.