Paradoxically, there are some potential major environmental benefits derived from the frightful viral pandemic. Cleaner air due to empty streets from widespread shelter-in-place is not the only upgrade. The ever-expanding corona virus is responsible for moving Americans to gravitate towards placing health ahead of profit. This mindset could eventually influence a greater percentage of the public to embrace the Precautionary Principle, in other words, “better safe than sorry”, and would surely be handy to have around for combatting the current viral affliction.
Adherence to the Precautionary Principle is also more conducive to a lifestyle in which conservation takes precedence over conspicuous consumption. A society that elevates conservation above consumption encourages people to also chose quality over quantity. Such an arrangement, in turn, makes sustainable use and equitable distribution of natural resources more palatable in an ever-more crowded world.
Preservation of natural resources is needed to combat global crises. For example, wildlife should be left where they belong instead of being harvested for illegal trade. Many species are eventually marketed in shops where they mostly become vectors for viruses – some good, some bad – lurking on the premises while waiting to be released into the atmosphere.
Living in harmony with nature also prepares one for surviving the more violent side of nature. It does so by strengthening people’s inner self and promoting positive physical presence. This lifestyle change includes: widespread recycling; renewable energy replacing fossil fuels; telecommuting; intellectual pursuit in favor of material possessions; electric cars; and reduction in automobile use in preference to public transit, walking, or biking – among other reforms. The changes also frequently introduce voluntary simplicity into a daily agenda. “Voluntary simplicity” is the purging of daily waste. It also steers the individual toward a lifestyle that emphasizes minimum energy use, and replaces extravagant behavior with choices least disruptive to the environment.
In some quarters, global viral crises are attributed to “divine retribution”. A more secular explanation is “highly toxic bacteria” that require a lifestyle change least disruptive to the environment.