Coronavirus is an environmental wake-up call

The global outbreak has meaningfully curbed carbon dioxide emissions. But can we learn its lessons for the long run?

Earth and coronavirus.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Muammar khalid/iStock, Olga Kurbatova/iStock, Tori Art/iStock)

In the 1970s, chemist James Lovelock and microbiologist Lynn Margulis developed the Gaia hypothesis; the theory that all organic and inorganic components on the planet are part of one self-regulating system, working to maintain and perpetuate life on earth.

At the moment, the biggest threats to the delicate balance that makes this planet habitable are human-caused climate change and the destruction of biodiversity. Scientists agree that if individuals, businesses, and governments don't take significant action within the next decade to curb emissions, the damage will be catastrophic. Already, the effects to the natural world are massive and deadly, including infectious disease transmission patterns. But where scientists and popular movements have thus far failed to convince the world to act, it seems that Mother Earth may have succeeded, with the never-before-seen COVID-19 virus.

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