Sustainability Superheroes blog
Using Decision-making and Entrepreneurial Thinking
Check out these shocking NASA satellite images, which compare levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) before and after coronavirus lockdowns of some of the most polluting factories in the world. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nitrogen dioxide is of great concern due to the harmful effects on human health and the environment. What do you see in the images? Why do you think it happened? How can we solve this problem?
Recently, Forbes magazine reported on a study by a Stanford scientist, Earth Systems Professor Marshall Burke, who noted the coronavirus lockdown may have saved more lives from pollution and climate than from the virus, due to the drop in pollution in Wuhan, China. In particular, Burke measured levels of PM2.5, a tiny particulate matter, considered as a primary cause of death from air pollution. He estimated that the decrease in this particulate matter may have saved 77,000 lives.
What are the connections between a healthy planet and healthy people?
In an article on EarthDay.org, authors Bullitt-Jonas and Schade discussed what the coronavirus pandemic can teach us about the interconnectedness of a healthy planet and healthy people. Consider this quote from the article:
"The loss of habitat and biodiversity creates conditions for lethal new viruses and diseases like COVID-19 to spill into human communities. And if we continue to destroy our lands, we also deplete our resources and damage our agricultural systems." Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Leah D. Schade.
Based on the quote, how does a healthy planet impact people and future economic prosperity?
So what can you do? Find out what your favorite brands are doing in terms of sustainability by visiting sites like GreenBiz or Sustainable Brands . Then use entrepreneurial thinking to find new solutions to problems that still exist. Citizens influence companies. For example, in the 1960's citizens acted on the environmental crisis, where air pollution in industrialized cities was as thick as pea soup and some rivers, like the Cuyahoga, were so polluted they caught on fire–not once, not twice, but more than a dozen times before something changed!
Events like these, partnered with citizens who pressured government, resulted in the first Earth Day in 1970. According to EarthDay.org the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts were created in the United States of America. Using entrepreneurial thinking, the U.S. created change, not only locally, but globally, as many countries followed to develop similar environmental laws.
Despite these changes, air pollution still creates many global deaths.
Scientists estimate that in the U.S. more than 100,000 die every year from air pollution. In China, where smog covers some heavily industrialized cities, scientists estimate that over one million people die prematurely per year from pollution. In fact, the World Health Organization data shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air that contains high levels of pollutants and estimate that air pollution kills 7 million people every year. What can concerned citizens do?