We’re working together to fight COVID-19—we can do the same for climate change

If someone had asked you back in February how far your country and your community would go to protect its most vulnerable members, what would you have said? Few could have predicted just how strong we would be in the face of COVID-19.

Across the world, people are making great sacrifices to help protect those who are most at risk from this virus. Friends and families are staying apart, businesses are racing to produce ventilators, masks, and hand sanitizer, and countless health and service workers are putting themselves at risk to keep others healthy and well-supplied.

These extraordinary measures have been difficult. But we’re doing our best because we know what’s at stake—many of us have suffered terrible loss, and we all know how quickly the worst-case scenario could come to pass.

Governments, businesses, and individuals are now listening to public health experts and working together to fight COVID-19. When the crisis ends, we can’t forget this solidarity. Instead, we need to harness it and use it to ensure a low-carbon future.

Recovering from this pandemic will give us an opportunity to blaze a new path for our society. As Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary said,

“Covid-19 is the most urgent threat facing humanity today, but we cannot forget that climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term. Soon, economies will restart. This is a chance for nations to recover better, to include the most vulnerable in those plans, and a chance to shape the 21st century economy in ways that are clean, green, healthy, just, safe and more resilient.”

While protecting lives is still our top priority during this pandemic, economic stimulus has already begun. We must ensure that renewable energy and other climate-change prevention initiatives are at the heart of our efforts to restore jobs and lift the economy. This pandemic has shown us that we’re capable of mobilizing to protect one another—we can do the same to protect the global community from the climate crisis.

Wind and solar farms are relatively safe investments, and they surged after the 2008 recession. Now, as investors search for low-risk opportunities with stable yield, renewable energy projects are catching their eyes once again.

In fact, many markets are already seeing a higher proportion of renewable energy in their power supply because suppressed demand has reduced our dependence on fossil fuels. This is giving us important insights into how the grid of the future can and should work, so we need to pay attention.

And that’s not the only low-carbon preview we’ve seen over the past few weeks. Virtual conferences and working from home have greatly reduced the need for business travel and commuting, which is in turn lowering emissions and improving air quality. These videoconferencing tools aren’t new, but we had been sticking to the status quo rather than using them to their full potential. We have all the tools we need to flight climate change too—let this pandemic be the catalyst that makes us use them.

When things begin to return to normal, let’s avoid the mistake of thinking that “normal” is something worth returning to. If we ramp up our fossil fuel consumption to make up for lost time, we’ll soon be facing a crisis even more devastating than this one.

This pandemic has shown us what we’re capable of, and how important it is for us to work together for the common good. We’re seeing in real time how both individual sacrifices and sweeping actions by organizations and governments can save lives. We can’t forget that shrinking our carbon footprint, both individually and as businesses, is just as important to our collective survival.

See how members of the bullfrogpowered community are supporting families and frontline workers here.