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Nature Is Healing - Are We The Virus?

Piles of litter on the beach
Personal Protective Equipment like masks and gloves are finding their way onto beaches and into our water supply, damaging natural ecosystems in the process. (Photo by Lucien Wanda from Pexels)

The global response to the coronavirus had some unexpected positive outcomes for the environment. Not long after people began sheltering-in-place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, a number of environmental issues that had previously been chalked up to a simple byproduct of human life began clearing up - everything from improved air quality to wildlife reclaiming spaces.

So, if removing humans and their creations from the equation means the planet thrives, is that something we can learn from and apply to whatever "new normal" we create once the pandemic is under control?

Maria Algarra has organized volunteer cleanups of community spaces in Miami Beach, Florida through her group, Clean This Beach Up, to cut down on the massive amount of PPE that's now being discarded - things like gloves, masks and other cleaning supplies that are wreaking havoc on animal populations.

Leslie Sturges has worked as a bat rehabilitator for 20 years, and campaigns to save them from a disease called White Nose Syndrome. Now, she's helping by keeping bats safe from contracting COVID-19 from humans and ensuring they continue to play their essential role in the ecosystem.

Tina Johnson is the director of the National Black Environmental Justice Network, and is focused on how the coronavirus has disproportionately impacted communities of color, along with a host of other factors influenced by environmental racism. She's dedicated to ensuring a fair, just and equitable environment for the human population moving forward as well.

Humanity changing its habits to save the planet may be easier said than done, but with helpers like Maria, Leslie and Tina, we can be hopeful for a future where we are no longer a detriment to our environment.

An Announcement

Social Distance Assistance will be wrapping up soon. The point of the show is to bring you stories of the creative ways people are helping during the pandemic -- but we also hope we've inspired you to be a helper, too. 

Will you tell us how you’ve been a helper these past few months? Your story could be on one of our upcoming episodes! Record a voice memo and email it to [email protected]. Or call us and leave a message at (804) 404-2859‬.

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