COVID-19 has reshaped our world. Some of the ways we have adapted will be temporary, others may become permanent. Here are just a few ways our lives and the world around us
• Remote work. Just 12 percent of people participating in a recent survey want to return to work in an office full time. The majority (72 percent) would prefer a combination of office and remote work. The attractions of the hybrid model include reducing commute time, saving money, and improving work-life balance.
• Air quality. The 2020 slowdown delivered a temporary respite from air pollution in some parts of the world. The Economist reported, “…as [economic productivity] has fallen so has air pollution. This spring marked the first time in decades that residents of Jalandhar in northern India were able to see the snow-capped Himalayan mountains, 160km (100 miles) away.” The World Health Organization estimates that more than four million people died prematurely from diseases related to air pollution in 2016.
• Movie watching. Social distancing has kept indoor movie theaters closed. So, instead of people streaming into theaters to watch summer blockbusters, new movie releases have begun streaming into people’s homes, reported Jeffrey Brown and Courtney Norris of PBS.
• Grocery shopping. Many people don’t shop the way they used to shop. They’ve been taking advantage of innovations, such as touchless checkout, contactless shopping, online ordering, curbside pick-up, and home delivery.
• Water quality. Water quality has improved along with air quality. However, higher concentrations of microplastics and other substances are increasing in some waterways because
we’re using more disposable products. “It would be nice to keep this quality of air and water when the pandemic is over.
It is possible, but we will have to work hard for it,” reported Marco Tedesco in State of the Planet, which is published by Columbia University’s Earth Institute.
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