One small (but significant) positive to stymie this year’s whirlwind of negativity has been the chance for our planet to rejuvenate from the relentless toxicity of modern society. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic global CO2 emissions are expected to fall by 7% to the lowest levels since 2011 and the biggest drop since records began in 1900.
Perhaps a sign that we are collectively starting to take our environmental obligations seriously, this week Morrisons, Waitrose and John Lewis announced that their own brand Christmas products would not contain any glitter – one of the festive season’s hidden pollutants.
It’s nice that we call it glitter, but in reality its just really small bits of plastic and between four and 12 million tonnes of plastic waste makes its way into oceans every year, mainly through rivers. No one will miss glitter anyway.
Getting millions of people do to something is no mean feat but for social distancing measures to work, we really do need to all do our bit.
In normal times, most of us have experienced bags belonging to other train passengers that are lucky enough to get a seat whilst we miss out. A new campaign in Sweden has seen the distribution of 1,000 free tote bags with the words “I’d love to sit next to you, just not right now”. Transport users are encouraged to place their bags on the seat next to them to promote social distancing.
What – just six or so months ago – would have been a frustrating social faux pas has become an innovative strategy to encourage combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Times move quickly.
Flights to nowhere
If the things that you miss most about going on holiday are spending money and flying in planes, Tigerair Taiwan has come up with a novel solution, getting a flight that lands where it took off. In a flight that apparently sold out in minutes 120 lucky passengers left Taiwan, flew 1,300 miles to Jeju in South Korea and then returned to Taiwan.
The airline industry has been one of the hardest hit in recent month with Association of Asia Pacific Airlines estimating that air travel in the region has fallen 97.5% during the pandemic.
As if one such flight wasn’t enough, Qantas is planning a similarly pointless seven-hour excursion that will allow passengers to tour the Australian Outback and the Great Barrier Reef.