Correlation does not equal causation. In this case, COVID-19 has reduced our travel and use of fossil fuels for transport by 31 percent overall (source in graphic).
Although we are not seeing a decline in the use of fossil fuels leading to reduced transportation (rather the reverse), it can be considered a small-scale dry run of what a future with decreased dependence on fossil fuels would look like.
Have you been feeling cooped up without your usual summer outlets? Are you yearning to be surrounded by friends and family spread across the country and beyond? Are you adapting to that overused phrase: “new normal”? Are you one of the fortunate who is able to work from home? Have your trips to the grocery store become your only outing every other week?
In many ways, this isolation and reduced travel is what a precipitous drop in the use of fossil fuels would bring us. But, we wouldn’t be able to rely on the home delivery of food and other supplies from companies such as Amazon (sales up 26 percent) and restaurants (up 70 percent). Even grocery stores would be hard-pressed to keep their supply chains functioning for even a month. Other commodities and markets would be decimated as well, but without the food sector, those things matter considerably less.
Why We Need to Move Away From Fossil Fuels Anyway
Even though few people would embrace systemic changes more drastic than those wrought by COVID-19, we need to do something. Business as usual is not sustainable. This is not a post to bring you down but to push you forward. Think about proactive changes you can make to help your household and community to be more self-reliant and resilient.
The proverbial canaries in the coal mine are the poles, which feel the effects of climate change more acutely than more equatorial regions. To keep this brief, I’ll leave you with this short NASA video showing the last arctic minimum, recorded in September of last year.