Once the coronavirus crisis is over, going back to business as usual is not an option if we want to save humanity and what is left of nature
As we pause in sorrow at the 15,000 UK and the 150,000 global lives already lost to the coronavirus, it is also time to remember the sorrow caused to the families of the 40,000 UK lives the NHS says are lost every year and the seven million globally to air pollution. A pollution largely caused by fossil fuels and other global warming gases.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that 600,000 children under five die every year from air pollution, largely due to pollution-induced pneumonia.
The Covid-19 pause has caused a collapse in car and plane travel. Our skies have gone silent and the roar of car traffic has disappeared, allowing bird song and the whispering of the wind in the trees to be heard again in our cities. But they are not only beautifully silent, the air is also beautifully clean.
Many NHS and essential staff are cycling to work for the first time, as the quiet streets have made them feel safe, as they avoid the current infection risk of public transport.
Families with young children can be seen again enjoying the sun on bike rides, which enable them to exercise while safely observing social distancing guidelines.