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Has the lockdown opened our eyes to our impact on the climate?

The amount of time we’ve spent indoors over the last year; reducing trips out, air travel, social gatherings and even commutes to work, it’s natural to assume lockdown may have had some impact on climate change.

It also seems that people have become more aware of the impact our actions have had on the environment, as a result of the pandemic. With consumers now opting for more ethically sustainable purchases, commuters shunning the roads in favour of remote working, and some businesses giving up their offices altogether, it’s natural that environmental improvement be at the forefront of our minds. 

A global survey by management consultancy firm Accenture states that consumers "have dramatically evolved", and that 60% report making more environmentally friendly, sustainable, or ethical purchases since the start of the pandemic. This is really interesting research. Are people simple becoming more aware of the environment, or has the pandemic forced us to become more concerned with health than ever before? We take a look at the possible ways in which the pandemic could have sparked this change.

So what exactly caused this shift in mindset?

A recent BCG study revealed that in the wake of the pandemic, people are more concerned than ever with addressing environmental challenges. The volume of human activity in recent years is putting an increased pressure on our environment. And perhaps, the pandemic was the antidote we needed to slow down and realise the impact of our actions. With commuting stripped right back, working from home is now the norm. Cars are sat on driveways and in garages and people are starting to realise that maybe there isn’t a need to travel as much as we once did. When work can be performed at home, the environment can thrive. 

But that’s not all. The BBC notes that the Coronavirus pandemic could’ve also made us more ethical consumers. Many citizens have shunned big corporate giants in favour of independent, local retailers. Add to that the fragility of inflexible, corporate supply chains, local sellers can promise high quality, local produce with shorter, more reliable supply chains. 

The plus side of lockdown?

There's no doubt lockdown has taken its toll on us all - mentally, physically and emotionally. And while the lockdown itself may no have a huge impact on the impacts of climate changes, it's safe to say it's allowed us the mental space to explore alternative ways to doing things. A lot of which are consequently, more favourable to the environment. It's likely that some of the new ways of living we have become accustomed to, for example, working from home, shopping ethically and reducing travel, will stick around with us as we move out of the other side of the pandemic.

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