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

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