We often talk about how pollution was contained during the first lockdown. Yet, the announcement of Omicron, the new variant of Covid-19 virus, should convince us to think of sustainability for other reasons.
cMost of us don’t have the luxury of staring out of our windows at beautiful old trees. The elderly can’t go walking in verdant parks close by. And we don’t let them go walking along somewhat crowded colony roads for fear of infection. The impact on them, and others, cannot be good. Living in a concrete cube, no matter how comfortable, robs us of many aspects of life. Just when we thought Covid-19 was about to become endemic and we’d be returning to normal by 2022, Omicron has descended upon us. Perhaps many other events in the future will force us to stay at home. What does environmental norms have to do with this? Quite a bit.
Being able to enjoy nature, even in semi-seclusion, is an important route to well-being. Several studies show direct links between access to green patches and mental health. It is imperative to rethink our cities so we can protect trees, enhance parks and make more lush green patches to change the experience of being stuck at home. Simple greenery can be a great ally in uncertain times. It is vital to nurture and revive it urgently.
Bharati Chaturvedi is the founder and director of Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group