Covid19 Reboot – Is Corona Virus a Catastrophe or the Correction We Needed to Tackle Climate Change

COVID-19 should hopefully, make us rethink our destructive relationship with the natural world. This could be a critical opportunity to speak out for nature, for the whole planet, including our own species.

Groundswell brings you a new series called Covid Reboot. While we have been focused on keeping ourselves healthy, we must ensure our planet is healthy too. Each week Jamie Durie explores a new way that we can all change the world for the better. Supported by Australian Organic Food Co #CovidReboot

Whether we like it or not, the Corona virus pandemic has brought the world to a grinding halt and ruptured us from the ‘normality’ of the past.  Historically, pandemics have  forced  human beings to split with the past and envision a brand-new world. Could this pandemic offer us a chance to rethink the doomed trajectory we had created for ourselves; extinction of our species within the next 100 years. Or could this compulsory ‘time-out’ give us the time to reshuffle and reset – navigating a new course entirely. We have an opportunity to sift through everything and realise what is truly essential and non-essential for living a quality life on a healthy planet – where everyone thrives.

“It is desperately important, in the window of time remaining, that we should all do our bit to heal the harm we have inflicted on the world – of which we are a part. Let us stop stealing the future from our children and from the other species with whom we share our home.”

  • Dr. Jane Goodall

To address the Climate Crisis, we needed to create deep and lasting systemic change in our societies….and we have to do it quickly….we have no time left to waste. Scientists are telling us that we have a small 10-year window of opportunity to turn the tide on the global climate crisis. Perhaps this virus pandemic will jolt people out of complacency, and they will no longer ignore the great threat of Climate Change..

Everyone is pointing out how clean the air is now and  how much lower emissions are due to COVID19 – it’s a shame that it’s taken a deadly virus to achieve this. What we have now is a glimpse of what our world could actually look like if we fully embrace the sustainable solutions we already have available to us.


We take a look at some of the big-picture, positive effects and lessons that have come from COVID-19….


Global challenges have no national borders. The pandemic has us all in the same boat at the same time – we are all in this together. Any denial we had of thinking that problems only happened on ‘the other side of the world’ has crumbled.


 We are only as safe as our most vulnerable people or as strong as our weakest immune system. Humanity’s innate altruistic nature seems to be  coming to the fore, as we  take care of each other because  we are all now feeling vulnerable.


The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to temporarily close facilities in many parts of the world to help slow down the spread of the coronavirus. As thousands of people stopped working and travelling, causing positive changes in the environment. Stricter quarantines and travel restrictions have helped reduce air pollution in major cities, mainly in China and Italy. NASA has released new satellite images that show improved air quality across the two countries, which have been heavily affected by the novel coronavirus. The very limited presence of tourists in many areas also helped clear up the Canal water in Venice and allow wildlife in Thailand and Japan to roam streets. We may realise that we never really needed to travel  that  much!


The usually murky  canals of Venice have become clear enough to see fish swimming in the waters due to  a lack of tourist traffic, lack of  boats and ferries.  This has allowed  sediment in the canals to settle to the bottom.  


Covid-19 will be remembered by children in the future as the time when mum  and  dad stayed at home with them and they did things as a family. As corona virus has forced many individuals to reconsider their true purpose, busy parents who were always rushing through life find an opportunity to slow down and expand activities that reinforce their sense of purpose as parents.


As we are forced  to simplify our daily lives, we get the time to reflect on essential aspects of living a positive, flourishing, fulfilling life. Accomplishments that lead to happiness, do not need to be grand as many are learning at this time. People are going back to cooking meals from scratch, handwriting letters, reading books, gardening, growing our own food, etc. Physical isolation doesn’t mean we can’t have emotional connection as so many are now reaching out to each other on balconies, across backyard fences, online ‘hang-out’ apps, and social media. Many people are using this time to re-configure and nurture their relationships. Time working from home is also allowing for deeper engagement and focus on projects and work in general as people are no longer dealing with so many distractions and being pulled in a myriad of directions.


Regenerative agriculture will be more important than ever now, and Australia can be a  world leader. The destruction of our environment is linked to the destruction of our health. Regenerative agriculture is a system of farming practices and principles that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances  ecosystem services. Regenerative  Agriculture aims to capture carbon in soil and aboveground biomass, reversing current global trends of atmospheric accumulation.  It is  the exact opposite of current farming  practices and principles of industrial mono-crop farming, chemical pesticide reliance, that depletes the microbiome in our soil and therefore erodes the health of our immune systems as a result of the food that we eat.


Eating organic fruit and vegetables will now be more important than ever as a  way of boosting  our depleted immune systems against corona virus.


How long could our world have strived for exponential growth in economies, markets and industries without something having to collapse. We’ve reacted too late to avoid significant impacts on people, other species and the planet.  There’s only so much planet to go around and nature is not purely something to be used and over-exploited – hopefully we will move from an ‘every man/woman for themselves’ mentality to a lasting altruistic one. To be economically resilient we will have to do things differently as we realise that climate change and pandemics are linked.


We have an unprecedented historical opportunity to back our renewable energy industries and accelerate the energy transition.  We cannot afford to kick-start our derailed economies by investing in high carbon-polluting industries. This is not an option for sustainabilty.


We are learning that prevention is better than cure -that it is far better to slow down the virus, so we can cope with treating the sick, rather than attempt to care for huge numbers all at once. We should look at climate change in the same way. It will be better to err on the  side  of caution and prevent rising temperatures on the planet than to try and figure out how to deal with catastrophic climactic conditions as they take place consequentially. 

This virus is showing us that once faced with an emergency, we can act, and we can change our behaviour quickly.  Governments can and are taking big, bold actions to safeguard their people. We need  to treat climate change as a crisis, just as we have with this virus. All individuals and industries have to come to terms with finding a way to work and flourish within new limits that guard the health of each other and the planet.

Nature doesn’t need people.  People need nature.

Nature will go on, no matter what. We will get through this challenging time and we hope it is the reboot humanity needs to thrive in the future. 

Kindly supported by Australian Organic Food Co