The Earth is Breathing Again, Let it Teach Us a Lesson

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Did you know, the month of April is “Earth Month?” April 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day… the big 5-0! The timing of the anniversary is interesting, given the signs of life that our planet is showing us as a direct result of a nearly global lockdown. The importance of this “sustainability holiday” has never been more clear. Literally. 

These NASA satellite images compare, January vs. February, the density of airborne nitrogen dioxide (toxic gas created from our use of fossil fuels) hovering over China. Wow! 

Additionally, how about the heavy smog levels typically found in cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco? Aclima, Inc. has been monitoring their atmospheric changes and the results are incredible. Below is a recent photo of a nearly empty bay-area interstate. Check out the changes from this past week, compared to same week averages from the previous three years.

After the market crash of 2008, carbon emissions skyrocketed. Many believe the cause to be from a surge in stimulus spending, which resulted in aggressive growth in the revitalized use of fossil fuels. Will this – hopefully sooner than later – recovery look any different? There’s no preventing a rise in pollution once the world gets back to work. But what lessons have we learned from the last massive economic swing? What can we do differently this go-around? These are challenging times. But the folks from Future Earth believe that we’re in the midst of a rare window of opportunity, and I tend to agree, to make some critical, sustainability-driven decisions that can have a serious long term impact on our lives. 

The hospitality industry is no stranger to this concept. The sustainability topic continues to become more relevant each year. It will be interesting to see how the effects from this global pandemic may accelerate the pace of innovation when it comes to our hotels’ corporate social responsibility initiatives. What changes have you been and/or will you be making in the wake of the COVID-19 era?

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