FREE | Read the March 2021 edition of Sunday Times Green
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Last year, as activity ground to a halt around the world, many of our negative impacts on the world we inhabit were lessened.
Factories closed down and traffic was vastly reduced, so we stopped producing so many greenhouse gas emissions. We used fewer resources and probably produced less waste. Tourist pressure was reduced in ecologically sensitive areas. Animals returned to areas previously overrun with people.
Of course, funding to protect ecologically sensitive areas is also under huge pressure. We’re producing vast quantities of non-recyclable personal protective equipment. Last year was still tied as the hottest year on record. Covid-19 has not made the world a better place, nor a much greener one. But it might have given us a chance to re-evaluate our priorities.
So in this issue of Green, we look at the potential for incorporating environmental considerations into our post-Covid-19 recovery (page 9), and what can be done about PPE waste (page 15). A good deal of said waste is likely to end up in our rivers and oceans, both of which are covered on pages 33 and 37, respectively. And while we’re worrying about non-recyclable PPE, how good is SA at recycling? Find out on page 19.
We also look at other, less obvious consequences of the pandemic. With more people glued to the web for work and social purposes than ever before, it’s worth considering the emissions generated by our internet use (page 73). That’s just one way we accelerate climate change at home; for others, check out page 43, as well as our story on sustainable shopping on page 61. The food we eat makes a huge difference too, with eco-friendly agriculture challenging but necessary for us to sustain our lifestyles (page 47). And on the topic, for those who finally grew green thumbs during lockdown, check out our gardening tips on page 28.
We also look at sustainable architecture, biodiversity, the wood and paper industry, the Earthshot Prize, how to make sand out of waste plastic, and a rather nifty machine that vacuums nurdles off beaches.