Ausencia de tráfico y contaminación en Los Ángeles, California

Nature responds to lockdown

Share Pia Arrieta | Apr 28 2020

As we know, negatives also often have a positive side, sometimes referred to as the silver lining around a dark cloud. As we face the challenge of the coronavirus and lockdown, this may be difficult to spot, but look hard enough and you will find it.

No traffic or pollution in Los Angeles, California

No traffic or pollution in Los Angeles, California

Among the many things we will take away from this experience is knowing we possessed more resilience than we thought, both personally and collectively. Many will also appreciate the chance to step out of the rat race for a little while, rest, take time for the things we normally rush past and also reflect. In fact, when all returns to normal, we may adapt the way we do things to include more time for the important things in life, such as family, friends and spending quality time in general. From our homes, we see unusual scenes of empty streets worldwide.

Nature heals itself

We are also heartened by the generosity and solidarity shown by many, and in nature we see rejuvenation and rebirth symbolised through its capacity for bouncing back surprisingly quickly and visibly. Many animals are roaming the streets of towns and cities across the world during lockdown.

Take the famous Venetian waterways; usually this city is mobbed with tourists, vaporetto water taxis and cruise ships, but in their absence, the murky canal water we’ve become accustomed to as the norm has returned to a clarity not seen for many years.

NASA Earth Observatory

Source: NASA Earth Observatory

The sediment constantly churned up by human activity has been allowed to settle to the extent that the water in Venice is once again clear and the fish visible. While reports of dolphins playfully darting through its famous canals were unfortunately not true, and swans are common on the Burano island of Venice – as confirmed by the National Geographic Society, the news is still joyous and hopeful. It shows that nature can bounce back from the daily damage we inflict. In India, as we can see in the image below, aerosol levels have dropped significantly since lockdown began.

The same is true of smog lifting slowly from Chinese cities, and it will also apply to centres of urban sprawl across the globe, not to mention the reduced onslaught on nature from a freeze in travel and tourism, and a great decrease in the flights that otherwise criss-cross the skies continuously. It will all return once we get back to ‘normal’, but also provides us with a valuable lesson that, given a chance, nature can begin to heal the damage we have caused.

Beijing - April 10 Tiananmen Gate Tower on April 10  2020 in Beijing, China

Beijing, China. Tiananmen Gate Tower without any visitors.

On our own doorstep

You don’t have to travel to China or India to see nature revitalising itself. In Marbella, dolphins have also been seen splashing around playfully just a few metres from the Costa del Sol’s beaches, while birdsong appears more prevalent than ever and mountain goats and deer can be spotted more frequently in wooded hillside areas, as it has been the cases on the Ojén and Ronda roads for example. Turtles have been sited on Benabola Beach in Puerto Banús and cows lazily wandering about the beaches of Bolonia near Tarifa.

So maybe the long-term message we will have received during these unusual times is the need to adjust the way we do things so that we can be more in harmony with ourselves and our natural surroundings. In the meantime, we can’t wait to get back into nature and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of this privileged region in the Costa del Sol.

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