What is it about?

COVID-19 and climate change are the two biggest crises facing humanity. This study explores some questions relevant to the two crises. First, how has COVID-19 affected climate change? Lockdowns in the pandemic led to a decrease in carbon emissions. But these emissions were not large enough to stop climate change. Plus, in the past emissions have rebounded after crisis events. Second, how are these two crises connected? COVID-19 was not caused by climate change. But there may be deadly viruses in the arctic ice. As the ice melts, these viruses can cause another pandemic. In this way, climate change could cause future pandemics. Finally, how can COVID-19 response inspire us to tackle climate change? COVID-19 has shown us that people are capable of coming together and cooperating to overcome problems. It has also shown us that the economy is more flexible than we had been allowed to think.

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Why is it important?

This study highlights that systemic change is the only way to overcome COVID-19 and climate change. Capitalism advocates for continuous growth. This makes it one of the chief drivers of climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic also spread quickly across the world because of our current economic systems. Without systemic change, there could be future crises that are worse than COVID-19. The pandemic has shown us that there are other ways to live. It has proved that existing systems and structures can be changed. It has shown us that we can come together and change them for the collective good. KEY TAKEAWAY: COVID-19 and climate change are both products of our current systems and structures. But COVID-19 has shown that these systems can change. We need to work together, have empathy, and demand more from our leaders. We need to dismantle systems like capitalism. That is the only way to stop climate change and future pandemics from ending humanity.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Climate Change and COVID-19: Structure and System in a Future Tense, TOPIA Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, December 2020, University of Toronto Press (UTPress),
DOI: 10.3138/topia-018.
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