GREEN BEAT: Virus offers chance to push the pause button

This offers us an increased opportunities to get outdoors, and to appreciate our environment more

By David Clements/Special to Langley Advance Times

During the present COVID-19 crisis in British Columbia, Canada, and around the world, it is not “business” as usual, or “busy-ness” as usual.

We are being asked to “hit pause” on many of our normal activities.

Trending terminology includes “cancel,” “postpone,” “social distancing,” and dare I say…“toilet paper.”

Ever since the industrial revolution began, we have been obsessed with productivity – harvesting more, obtaining more, making more stuff, making more money, developing more, building more, spending more money, and getting more stuff.

More is better, and the busier you are, the better.

That is why the standard measure of our economy is “gross domestic product” (GDP).

Alas, the consequences for the environment of our productivity tend to be negative.

The more we manufacture, the more energy we use, the more we throw away – it all tends to result in poorer environmental health.

RECENT COLUMN: GREEN BEAT – 12 days of climate action

Now, suddenly, we have no choice but to pause some of our usual frenetic activity, the planet around us can take a deep breath – even as we ourselves take a moment to pause and let go some of our stress.

The positive effects on the environment are measurable, even in the relatively short pause so far –fossil fuel consumption is lower, carbon dioxide emissions are down, and pollution in general is reduced.

What we still have available to us, in gatherings less than 250 people, includes the incredible beauty of creation that we seldom seem to find time to enjoy.

When I was a young professor (alas I am no longer), I thought that I needed to use every hour for my work, weekends included.

OTHER PAST COLUMN: GREEN BEAT – Why is the sun setting on the sedan?

Then I read an article on observing Sabbaths by Eugene Peterson, the author of The Message.

In the article, Peterson pointed out how the earth will not stop turning when we ourselves pause, contrary to our modern instincts.

Peterson reported that one of his favourite Sabbath activities was to go for a hike, which is also high on the list of permitted activities during this COVID-19 crisis – good for your body and your soul.

Thanks to Peterson’s inspiration, I’ve enjoyed many wonderful Sunday afternoons just peacing out in nature since I was a young professor.

We are blessed with so many beautiful places to enjoy creation nearby here, so as you are off school, out of the office, or wherever social distancing takes you, take this as an opportunity to pause and take in a green scene.

– David Clements PhD, is a professor of biology and environmental studies at Trinity Western University

CoronavirusGreen Living

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

VIDEO: Langley ecologist takes folks on virtual walk along the Houston Trail

Professor explains more about native and non-native plants growing in Derby Reach Regional Park

VIDEO: GLOW festival organizers seek a return to Langley

Application for “non-farm-use” goes to Agricultural Land Commission

LETTER: In troubling times, it’s nice to share the positives

An unnerved Langley reader wants to tell of a funny and kind business operator

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

LETTER: Langley couple hanging out in Bali during COVID

There are worse places to be during what one local reader calls his pineapple pandemic

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Canada Day tractor incident kills three children, injures seven in Quebec

The tractor driver has been arrested following the accident

Undercover operation exposes prominent human trafficking problem in Greater Victoria

VicPD’s Operation No More took place in mid-June at a local hotel

Tsilhqot’in Nation demands meeting with feds on declining Fraser River chinook stocks

The Nation wants to partner with DFO to rebuild and recover the stocks

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

Northbound lane of Coquihalla closed after vehicle incident near Hope

A northbound lane is closed just north of the Great Bear Snowshed, according to DriveBC

Most Read