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A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square…and now you can hear it

14 April 2020

By Beth Colmer, Account Director

On Sunday, I led my 18-month-old around the garden for his first Easter egg hunt. We happen to live under a flight path and so any time spent outside comes with the sound of planes overhead.  However, this Easter had a soundtrack of birds chirping, kids riding bikes in the street and…absolutely nothing else. 

In a matter of weeks, the world has transformed; our entire way of life has changed in a collective bid to slow the spread. But what of the environmental effects?  

Back in March, Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, shared a message on Instagram saying, "Mother Nature has sent us to our rooms…like the spoilt children we are. She gave us time and she gave us warnings. She gave us fire and floods, she tried to warn us but, in the end, she took back control.” Leading scientists also said the outbreak is a “clear warning shot.”

Amid the lockdown, nature has begun to reclaim the world; swans glide through the waters of Venice, dolphins play in empty cruise ports and in parts of India, the Himalayas are visible for the first time in 30 years. According to research commissioned and published by The Guardian over the weekend, the unprecedented restrictions on travel, work and industry could result in a 5% fall in global carbon emissions; the lowest in a decade. All sounds good, surely? 

However, Dr Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency, has warned against viewing the steep decline in emissions from fossil fuels as a climate triumph.

“This decline is happening because of the economic meltdown in which thousands of people are losing their livelihoods, not as a result of the right government decisions in terms of climate policies.”

The question is, has COVID-19 forced us to rediscover our own fragility as a species and, when it’s all died down, will there be tougher demands for companies and individuals to live more sustainably? Or will it go back to business as usual?