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The pandemic should teach governments the importance of science says Thunberg

Written by Science

With Earth Day being held on 22ndApril, Greta Thunberg took it as an opportunity to tell people how the response to the climate crisis needs to change after the pandemic. 

Greta stated that “our society is not sustainable”, and that the outbreak of Covid-19 has shown how quickly change can happen when scientists are listened to, the Guardian reports. Now, it is time for us to listen to scientists about climate change, she argues. 

“We are putting human health and the health of nature at risk.”

Dr Johan Rockström, Potsdam Institute

Greta linked the two crises after talking to Dr Joham Rockström, the earth systems scientist and director of the Potsdam Institute. He said that there was a strong correlation between the pandemic and environmental crisis. Stating that deforestation and wildlife trade has heightened the likelihood of viruses spreading, and air pollution has increased human vulnerability by weakening respiratory systems, he argues that “we are putting human health and the health of nature at risk”. 

Looking at these facts, Greta has used this information to further her protestations to view climate change in a more serious and active way. She told a YouTube audience on Earth Day that “Whether we like it or not, the world has changed. It looks completely different now from how it did a few months ago. It may never look the same again. We have to choose a new way forward”. 

The world may never look the same again. We have to choose a new way forward.

Greta Thunberg

Both Greta and Rockström have said that the pandemic has taught us how much governments need to pay more notice to scientific warnings. Thunberg said that this needs to be done in a way where we all act as “active democratic citizens so a crisis like this doesn’t slide in the wrong direction” regarding our future. The Guardian claims that this was in reference to Trump who has used the pandemic to relax environmental protections and health standards. 

Along with both of these activists, the UN secretary general, António Guterres has said that the post-pandemic recovery needs to focus on six goals. These are: creating clean, green jobs; making sustainable growth supported by the tax payment system; making an economic shift from grey concrete to green nature; investment in the future with an end to fossil fuel subsidies; incorporating climate risk into the financial system, and finally, international cooperation. 

Earth Day has left us all with food for thought, and hopefully the government listen to these three activists, who are among many, pushing for a greener and cleaner future once the pandemic is over.

Last modified: 26th April 2020

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