My favourite books are a series of three trilogies; all can be read as separate books, but they link together to tell the story of how the ‘old gods’, the Tuatha de Danaan and the Formorii, come back from the realms of myth and legend and try to re-take the earth they were banished from years ago.
While this is happening, it’s a bit like Armageddon, the phones and internet crash, fuel and food runs out, people start behaving wildly as the times become increasingly desperate and they become increasingly fearful of the strange creatures that start roaming the land.
I’m not saying our situation now is anything like that but it made me think of these books because the earth in the stories soon reverts to how it was before mankind encroached across its surface and built everywhere, polluted everything and took dominance over nature.
In just the short time mankind has been restricted to their own spaces, pollution levels worldwide have dropped dramatically. Rivers are clearing and the wildlife is seemingly more present, but that may be simply because we now have time to notice it’s there.
If people were around to see it, the canal in Venice that is normally choked up with boats, cleared so much that fish could be seen in the water. Christopher Jones, lead developer of the CoolClimate Network said: “Carbon dioxide is tied to industrial activity, electricity production and transportation, so anything that affects those sectors will impact greenhouse gases, as well.”
Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Finland, has said that the restrictions in China contributed to a 25% drop in that country’s carbon dioxide emissions over four weeks beginning in late January, compared to the same time last year.
NASA has been monitoring atmospheric pollution and has reported that the decrease is dramatic and can only be due to the lack of human activity.
The Guardian reports: ‘The data shows drops in tiny particle pollution of a third to a half in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff, falls of about quarter in Manchester, York and Belfast, with smaller declines in Glasgow and Newcastle. For nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution, the data also shows declines of a third to a half in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff, and drops of 10-20% in the other cities.’
It has been mooted that bad air pollution will actually have an effect on how people recover from the virus, making it harder to recover in the more polluted places. Scientists expect the pollution levels across the earth to continue to drop in the coming weeks.
The Americans have to be different, of course, and Trump’s administration has said they would allow companies to break environmental laws that punish polluters during this time.
It might be worth noting that while the world is focused on the pandemic, Trump is also trying to push through a law that would effectively ruin any scientific study into the human effects of environmental damage, such as air pollution.
The proposal, ‘Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science’, means scientists would have to make the raw data that supports academic studies, such as medical records, public. Due to patient privacy laws, this would mean that no such evidence could be used as quantifiable data, and as such any study that supports protection of the environment wouldn’t stand up in court.
Many scientists are calling for world leaders to realise the huge effect this lockdown is having on the environment and asking them to see this as an opportunity to work differently once the world is able to restart.
Going back to our old ways, and probably working even harder to make up for lost time, will push the earth past her limits and bring on the real apocalypse that we have all just decided to work together on to avoid.