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Citizen Science, The Pandemic, and Climate Change

As we all wrestle with the realities of COVID-19, many are starting to think about the parallels between the pandemic crisis and the crisis of climate change. Below are some quotes from leading experts that are relevant to all of us looking to personally apply a scientific perspective to both these areas of our lives:

“Consider the global health crisis currently upon us as a warm-up act for a climate-changing world.” ~ Joel Makower, GreenBiz Group

"The coronavirus pandemic and the slower-moving dangers of climate change parallel one another in important ways, and experts say the aggressive, if belated, response to the outbreak could hold lessons for those urging climate action.”

~ Beth Gardiner, Yale Environment360

“Both the pandemic and the climate crisis are problems of exponential growth against a limited capacity to cope.” ~ Elizabeth Sawin, Climate Interactive

“The public is coming to understand that in that kind of situation you have to act in a way that looks disproportionate to what the current reality is, because you have to react to where that exponential growth will take you. You look out the window and it doesn’t look like a pandemic, it looks like a nice spring day. But you have to close down all the restaurants, the schools. If you wait until you can see the impact, it is too late to stop it.” ~ Elizabeth Sawin, Climate Interactive

“People are starting to understand that to have a whole society shift behavior really quickly, you need to support everyone. A social safety net reduces the friction of change.” ~ Elizabeth Sawin, Climate Interactive

“No one could celebrate a disease spreading so much fear and suffering, Sawin emphasized, but with the losses inflicted by the coronavirus sure to mount, maybe there’s a kind of honoring of that, to at least take what we learn and put it to good use.”

~ Elizabeth Sawin, Climate Interactive

“When the outbreak finally ends, if we can tell that story of what we just went through and help people understand that this is an accelerated version of another story we’re going through that has the same plot structure but a different timeline, that could be transformative.” ~ Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury, Harvard Business School

“I believe the last few weeks, as terrible as they have been for so many people, have taught us crucial lessons that we needed to learn in order to enter a new era of radical, collaborative action to cut emissions and slow climate change. Like everyone else, I can’t believe we’ve learned these five lessons in a matter of days.” ~ Christina Figueres, Global Optimism

“No one is geographically immune to the coronavirus and the same is true for climate change.”

~ Christina Figueres, Global Optimism

“For me, one frustration of the coronavirus pandemic is that it’s temporarily interrupting the movement-building that is necessary to beat the fossil-fuel industry.” ~ Bill McKibben, Author/Environmentalist

“The separation of health and environmental policy is a dangerous delusion. Our health entirely depends on the climate and the other organisms we share the planet with. We need to bring these communities together.” ~ Aaron Bernstein, Harvard University

“We can learn from this pandemic that people are motivated by the personal and the actionable. At Harvard, our research shows that the actions we need to combat climate change are the same actions we need to make people healthier right now.”

~ Aaron Bernstein, Harvard University

“In the middle of the day I hear birds chirping instead of horns, sirens and helicopters droning. I can hear my neighbor’s son practicing his flute. The streets are almost empty of traffic. I wonder if globally our carbon emissions have dropped so that glaciers have slowed down their melting and that the Earth’s temperature has ever so fractionally dropped. I wonder.” ~ Genie Saffren, Los Angeles Letter to the Editors of the LA Times

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