Updated: May 30, 2020
Although we've known about Covid-19 for months and have watched it spread throughout the world, how is it that we are now faced with a global lockdown? Governments slow to respond were not taking action soon enough, testing wasn't (and still isn't) readily available to everyone, especially those who have traveled in and out of the country. I know first-hand that no questions were asked when friends of mine arrived the US after being in Asia for the last month.
Xenophobia and raciscm emerged from the outbreak, hitting Chinese restaurants hard long before the seriousness of the situation. It was Italy who warned the world when shutting down the entire country that triggered global action/pandemonium. Now in self-isolating / social distancing / lockdown mode we're hoping to 'flatten the curve' by preventing in-person social interactions and the spread of the virus. As some people won't have any symptoms but could be carriers, staying at home, as well as testing availability is the best way to monitor the virus.
It's been amazing to see how this shutdown has positively impacted the environment. There is less air pollution (blue skies in China!) and water pollution (clear water, fish (and dolphins) in Venice!) We can do a few more things to help the earth and climate change while we're at home keeping a safe distance from others. 1) Spring clean your home... and don't throw anything away! Instead of throwing it items to landfill, look for local charities or thrift shops that will take your items in the future (they are not open now due to the pandemic) Your charitable donation may also be tax deductible.
2) Bake / cook something from scratch. Most likely you will have flour and water, and whether sweet or savory, there are any number of easy recipes you can make that are traditionally made at home, like dumplings / GF dumplings, noodles, bread / GF bread, or pizza. Not only is this a great way to spend time focusing on something, the taste of homemade anything tastes better than any overly-processed packaged (in plastic) item. 3) Do a Digital Dump! While we don't often think about it, data storage (your phone, computer, and emails) requires a massive amount of energy. A study in 2015 showed that these places where all your cloud/drive information is kept, are responsible for about 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is on par with the aviation industry (which has come to a standstill with all the temporary travel bans) With everyone digitally connected from their homes, imagine what the impact is now!?
4) Grow your own food. Enjoy the magic of sprouting your own food Johnny's Selected Seeds or the Kitazawa Seed Co are great resources for any kind of seeds. Some pantry staples like lentils, chickpeas, wheat berries (for wheat grass!), green peas, and mung beans can also be sprouted so long as they are not irradiated (using gamma ray radiation to prevent parasite infestation to prevent food spoilage). It really is fun to see them grow each day, and food doesn't get any fresher than this!
What you need:
1 large wide-mouth mason jar Cheesecloth (or you can cut a 5" x 5" piece of an thin, old t-shirt or pillowcase) String or a rubber band 2-3 tablespoons sprouting seeds - alfalfa, broccoli, clover, radish mustard OR 5 tablespoons pantry staples - lentils, chickpeas, wheat berries, green peas, mung beans 2 cups water
Place the seeds in the jar and fill it with water to soak them overnight.
Drain the water (saving it to water any other plants you may have), and securely fasten the cheesecloth onto the mouth of the jar. Invert the jar at a 45° angle in a bowl. This will allow it to drain well, as well as have access to airflow. Keep at room temperature and out of sunlight.
Rinse and drain the seeds with cold water twice a day for 5-7 days. This is to prevent mold from growing and to keep your seeds/sprouts moist.
When the sprouts are ready to harvest (after about 5 days, or when they're about 1.5" long), pour the contents into a large bowl and fill with water, and give it a good stir. The unsprouted seeds and hulls will float to the top. Skim these off and discard for composting. For sprouted grains and legumes, you can eat it all. Drain, and spread the sprouts out on to a clean dish cloth and let them dry off for an hour or two in the sunlight. Keep refrigerated in a sealed glass jar.
You can also try growing your own vegetables from food scraps. Save 1 or 2 inches of the bottom portion/core of your lettuce, cabbage, garlic sprouts, green onions, leeks, or celery. Soak it in a shallow container filled with half an inch of water, and place it in a sunny spot. Change the water every other day and watch it grow! When roots form, plant it in soil.
5) Value what you have. Although the impact of this global slowdown is tremendous, affecting us all, this is a great time to remember what's important, it's no longer about new things and material gain. Buy only what you need to get through a week and make use of what you have already (this includes minimizing food waste!), and replace panic and fear with compassion and love.