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Earth Day 2020: Top lessons from COVID-19 to flatten the climate curve

2020-04-22  |  5 min read 

April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. On the first event in 1970, over 20 million Americans took to the streets in protest calling for increased protections for the planet. A collective generation asked for cleaner water, cleaner air, healthier ecosystems, and an overall healthy, sustainable environment. By the end of 1970, the US Environmental Protection Agency had been created and the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act were all passed into law.

On Earth Day 2020, we find ourselves in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic that is affecting lives and livelihoods worldwide. As we shelter in place to flatten the curve due to escalating Covid-19 transmission, we are all adjusting to a new daily routine of working from home, our children are distance learning, and we stay connected through online meetings and virtual gatherings while physically apart.

The global coronavirus pandemic has temporarily shut down most transportation including flying, public transit and commuting to work, along with commercial and industrial activity which has resulted in significant drops in air pollution. This is most noted in cities that have had historically high air pollution like New Delhi, Shanghai, Mumbai where particulate matter levels have dropped, skies are bluer, birdsong can be heard in the city, and stars can be seen in the night sky.

Coming together as a global community shows that a difference can be made, lives can be saved, and we are all interconnected and interdependent. No one has been left untouched by the pandemic during the past few weeks and it will shape our future world.

During Earth Day 2020, while we continue to adapt to new daily routines, I invite you reflect on what you can do to flatten the other curve related to global warming and climate change. What new behaviors have you learned that can be applied to flattening the climate curve? What lessons can you take away during your stay at home time that you will take into the future? Are you more prepared to deal with climate related adverse weather conditions? Are you planting a garden to grow your own food or attract pollinators? Will you choose to drive less, travel less? Will you switch to a plant-based diet?

As Keysight’s Director of Global Sustainability, Security & Safety, I will virtually celebrate Earth Day 2020 and take the time to learn about new actions that I can implement both personally and at Keysight for a more sustainable future. Keysight has a goal to achieve a 15% water conservation by end of fiscal year 2020, using our fiscal year 2015 as a baseline.  By the end of FY18, Keysight accomplished 15.18% in water conservation.  Although we exceeded our goal, in FY19 we continued water conservation efforts and have achieved 17.9% in water conservation. As Keysight develops its long term roadmap towards carbon neutrality, one of the lessons I am taking away from the Covid-19 pandemic is that it will take commitment from everyone to transform our planet to meet the climate crisis and mitigate  what may become the new normal of pandemics, extreme weather events and communities at risk.