Every April 22, the world celebrates Earth Day – with each year following a different theme. 2020’s theme is “Climate Action.” And under normal circumstances, Earth Day celebrants would be encouraged to adopt any number of steps to reduce their own environmental impact, including:
- Installing solar power systems
- Recycling plastics and glass
- Turning off the lights when not in use
But these are not normal times. The world is currently dealing with Covid-19 – a pandemic that has halted large portions of the global economy. Against this backdrop, how does one even begin to celebrate Earth Day 2020?
The Link between Global Warming and Global Pandemics
A growing number of countries have issued variations of “shelter in place” orders to help slow Covid-19’s spread and prevent healthcare systems from being overwhelmed. This also means many millions are temporarily out of work, with nearly everyone feeling varying levels of uncertainty about the future. However, some positive environmental changes have emerged from this crisis as well.
With shuttered factories, stopped traffic, and grounded planes, many cities around the globe are experiencing clearer skies and cleaner water than they have seen in a long time. Obviously, we all want to move beyond Covid-19 as soon as possible. But it is becoming clear that many of the tools used to fight this pandemic are also good for the environment – and vice versa. This is especially true when dealing with illnesses that target respiratory systems (like Covid-19 does).
Even before the current health crisis, experts estimated that air pollution kills approximately 7 million people every year. But according to a recent Harvard study, even a microscopic increase in fine particulate matter (i.e. pollution) increases Covid-19’s mortality rate by a staggering 15%.
In short, bad air is a pre-existing condition – for all of us. And reducing pollution is a bi-partisan and unifying issue that we should all be supporting. As former California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger once said,
"[P]arty names are nonsense. Whether a Democrat or Republican, we breathe the same air and drink the same water."
The Transition to a Greener and More Breathable “Normal”
Everyone wants to get back to normal. But before making that transition, the world should collectively redefine what “normal” means – in terms of sustainable systems and technologies that foster both environmental and public health. In layman’s terms, this means investing in renewable energy solutions like solar power – that do not pollute our air, destroy our lungs, or make us more susceptible to respiratory illnesses. This should not be political for anyone who wants to keep today’s clean skies as everyone goes back to work again.
This renewed push also means making green energy solutions available to even the most vulnerable communities. And again, solar power emerges as a natural ally in this fight because it is a scalable, affordable, and distributed renewable energy technology that works anywhere and everywhere the sun shines.
Going Solar in the Fight Against Climate Change and Covid-19
The world has come to a halt – forcing us to reevaluate some of the beliefs and systems we have created over many generations. And it will be a while before the global freeze on commerce and travel start to thaw.
Covid-19 has given us a rare opportunity to start over from scratch:
- We already knew the effect fossil fuel consumption has on the planet.
- We already understood the impact that pollution has on our bodies.
The coronavirus has merely brought these realities into sharp relief – making them impossible to ignore. Fortunately, the path ahead could not be clearer. As a planet, we must leverage renewable energy technologies like solar power in the fight to protect the environment, improve public health, and reduce the impact of Covid-19 (and all future pandemics as well). At Enphase Energy, we are committed to installing solar systems for homes, businesses, and factories around the globe in our quest to build a healthier and more sustainable “normal.” If you would like to join us in this push, schedule a free consultation with one of our solar power experts today.
From all of us at Enphase Energy, Happy Earth Day. (And don't forget to wash your hands.)