The novel coronavirus has had a beneficial impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Fewer cars on the road, and fewer businesses running, have caused our collective carbon footprint to drastically drop. The air over China and Italy is clear, yet this is not to be celebrated. We didn’t cut our carbon footprint to save the planet but to save ourselves from the disease.

As environmentalists, we value life over everything. Our ability to respond to this pandemic shows we can turn the tide, so let’s use this time to learn how to live sustainably. Here are a few things to try:

Go Plant-Based

Let’s be real here, the meat section has been as empty as the toilet paper aisle lately. You may be surprised at how many delicious plant-based meals are out there, from vegetarian pot pie to turning cauliflower into buffalo wings. The possibilities are endless, and they’ll also help you keep off the quarantine tummy. 

Reducing Food waste

Reducing food waste by using as much as you can is a sensible step in fighting COVID-19, but it’s also a great way to save the planet. There are all sorts of uses for leftover food that may surprise you. Scraps from onions (yes, the peel too), celery and carrots can all be thrown in a pot of water and boiled into a vegetable broth. Keep your scraps in the freezer if you’re not quite ready to use them yet. They’ll still make into a broth just fine after being frozen. 

Use Bar Soap 

Switching to bar soap is one of the easiest changes you can make to reduce the amount of plastic being dumped our oceans. Soap from a bar cleans your hands just as well as liquid soap and studies have proven that even if someone with a contaminated hand uses the soap bar first, it doesn’t transfer. 

Switching Search Engine

Ecosia is a search engine that takes ad revenue and uses it to reforest the world. You can help plant hundreds of trees every time you search. 

Homemade Cleaning Products

Most of the cleaning aisle has been wiped out but there are natural cleaners you can use to help disinfect your home. Vinegar is a great example of a natural disinfectant that can keep your home clean and works for a variety of different surfaces. 

Isolation is scary, but it is a good time for reflection. If you’re stuck in your home with nothing to do, why not use that time to experiment with sustainable living options you can take with you long after the virus subsides. 


Lauren Walsh – Science Writer