Satellite data show 30% drop in air pollution over the major metropolitan areas of the U. S. Northeast. (NASA, April 9, 2020) The average concentration of nitrogen dioxide measured in March of 2015-2019, compared to the average in March 2020, as measured by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument on NASAâs Aura satellite. Nitrogen dioxide, primarily emitted from burning fossil fuels for transportation and generating electricity, can be used as an indicator of changes in human activity, said NASA.
Though variations in weather from year to year cause variations in the monthly averages, March 2020 shows the lowest monthly atmospheric nitrogen dioxide levels of any March during the satellite data record, which spans 2005 to the present.
Some studies have been conducted on a possible correlation of air pollution and the Corona virus(studies:1, 2, 3).
Domesticated animals, including livestock, have shared the
highest number of viruses with humans, with eight times more zoonotic
viruses compared to wild mammalian species. This is likely a result of
our frequent close interactions with these species for centuries.
animals that have increased in abundance and adapted well to
human-dominated environments also share more viruses with people. These
include some rodent, bat and primate species that live among people,
near our homes, and around our farms and crops, making them high-risk
for ongoing transmission of viruses to people.
At the other end of the spectrum are threatened and endangered species. These are animals
whose population declines were connected to hunting, wildlife trade and
decreases in habitat quality. These species were predicted to host
twice as many zoonotic viruses compared to threatened species that had populations decreasing for other reasons.
The Macondo well disaster was most unfortunate. But at least the damage was temporary. It was not a dam. It was not a clear-cut on a steep, wet slope. It was not yet another low-density, asphalt, concrete rich suburub. It is not agricultural monoculture.
Besides, the fish in Gulf of Mexico got a temporary reprieve as oversubscribed fisheries cut back.
The real damage from fossil fuels comes on the consumption side. That is where most of the environmental damage, sickness and death occurs.
In May 2010 I went to the Gulf of Mexico to report on what oil from British Petroleumâs blown-out Deepwater Horizon rig was doing to migratory birds and other marine life. On barrier islands I saw brown pelicans, laughing gulls, black-crowned night herons, great blue herons, tricolored herons, snowy egrets, great egrets, roseate spoonbills, Forsterâs terns, and royal terns â all black with oil. The lucky ones couldnât fly. Some of those were captured and washed. A few survived.
The saddest scene was the royal tern colony on Queen Bess Island. Virtually all 150 chicks were fouled. If they werenât evacuated and washed, theyâd die from overheating by day or hypothermia by night. If they were evacuated and washed, theyâd die because the parents wouldnât be able to teach them to fend for themselves.
Back then Americaâs landmark environmental/conservation statute â the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) â made it illegal to kill migratory birds either intentionally or accidentally. Congress enacted the law in 1918 as part of a treaty with Canada and Mexico (later Russia and Japan) to protect shared bird species.
The proposal came in the form of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) release. But according to all the wildlife professionals I interviewed, the agencyâs staff had nothing to do with it. The release included no word from any wildlife advocate, only gushing approbation from people and organizations given a heads-up in advance of the proposal and speaking for energy, mining, utilities, agribusiness, land development, and other interests that find the MBTA inconvenient.
The proposal would codify a bizarre 2017 opinion hatched by the Interior Departmentâs then-deputy solicitor Daniel Jorjani (now its top lawyer), who had been employed by fossil fuel moguls Charles and David Koch before joining the Trump administration. In addition to legalizing unintentional but predictable and preventable killings of migratory birds â i.e., âincidental takeâ â it would contravene the will of Congress, abandon 102 years of MBTA application and violate a five-nation treaty. (...)
It is rather sad, if not tragic to observe what is happening in rural North America. People spend far less time, if any, outdoors. They interact with nature through the windshield of their automobile. Little exercise.
And in far too many cases, rural dwellers do not have enough education or traditional knowledge to understand natural processes that surround them.
Convection air movements? I was introduced to the concept in an urban high school. My small village, rural fellow citizens in the interior of British Columbia apparently did not have the opportunity.
Understand climate and weather? Well, if you spend all your time indoors or in an automobile, is that really necessary?
People where I live, freaked out and went into full hyper-vigilant hysterical mode when the wildfire started in July 2017. They had no reason to as the fire started on the west of the river and went straight north following the up-river winds. The likelihood of the winds doing a 90 degree turn and pushing the fire east over the river converged on zero.
Just a little bit of knowledge and they could have relaxed. Perhaps focus on acquiring a P100 filter mask for the odd time, they had to go outdoors. I push-mowed the lawn using a P100 filter mask several times during the summers of 2017 and 2018.
In my experience, most rural folks are ecologically ignorant. Many simply do not care and view ecological and economic outcomes as in a permanent zero-sum game. Modern urban elitists would argue (and correctly so) that better ecological outcomes almost always mean better economic outcomes.