Earth takes a break during Corona Pandemic lockdowns

While the world copes with COVID-19, we take a moment to share some environment changes that are taking place on our planet.

The ancient city of Venice has transformed almost overnight; under sunny blue skies, a look down into the waters of the canals is a surprising sight, you see a clear view of the sandy bed, seabirds, seaweed, shoals of tiny fish, scuttling crabs and colourful plant-life. The water is blue, clear and calm like a pond, the ducks are happily making nests and laying eggs.

New York
New York’s air is also cleaner; it’s the cleanest residents have seen for years. Researchers have found that there has been a 5 to 10% drop in air pollutants like carbon dioxide and methane emissions have also dropped significantly.

China, is experiencing a remarkable transformation.  The bright, blue smog-free skies are a sight not seen in years.  Researchers are reporting reductions in air pollution with ‘good quality air days’ increasing by 21.5% in February.  Satellite images show a dramatic reduction in nitrogen dioxide emissions released by vehicles, power plants and industrial facilities.  There is a marked drop in coal consumption; major coal-fired power stations saw a 36% drop in consumption between February and March.

Around the world, seismologists are observing a lot less ambient seismic noise, this means less vibrations generated by cars, trains, buses and people going about their daily lives. In the absence of that noise, earth’s upper crust is moving a little less.

Brussels is seeing about a 30% to 50% reduction in ambient seismic noise since middle March, the time the country started implementing school and business closures and other social distancing measures, the level is on par with what is seen on Christmas Day.

The noise in West London has been affected, showing a decline of noise in the period after schools and social venues in the United Kingdom closed and again after a government lockdown was announced.  This indicates evidence that people are listening to authorities’ warnings to stay inside and minimize outside activity as much as possible; everyone is respecting the rules.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the surreal slowdown of life as we know it has presented researchers and scientists with a rare opportunity to study the modern world under bizarre conditions.

In agreement, from around the world researchers agree on four points; there’s less rumbling on the surface of the earth, there’s less air pollution, city soundscapes are changing and the oceans are quitter too.

Like most species, we agree that less pollution is a real welcome!

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Easter Month 2020

In 2020 Good Friday falls on 10th April, Easter falls on Sunday 12th April and Easter Monday is on 13th April. Unfortunately, this year, during the coronavirus pandemic, we won’t see any celebrations so we take a look at the way Easter traditions are celebrated around the world.

WHAT IS EASTER? Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After being executed on a cross on Good Friday, Jesus was buried in a tomb. That first Easter, some 2,000 years ago, God the Father raised Jesus from the dead. That Friday is called Good Friday because it leads to the resurrection of Jesus and his victory over death and sin.

In Bermuda, on Good Friday, the locals celebrate by flying homemade kites, eating codfish cakes and hot cross buns.  The tradition is said to have begun when a local teacher from the British army had difficulty explaining Christ’s ascension to Heaven to his Sunday school class. He made a kite, traditionally shaped like a cross, to illustrate the ascension.

In Bulgaria people don’t hide their eggs, they have egg fights and whoever comes out of the game with an unbroken egg is the winner and is assumed to be the most successful member of the family in the coming year.  In another tradition, the oldest woman in the family rubs the faces of the children with the first red egg she has coloured, symbolizing her wish that they have rosy cheeks, health and strength.

In the town of Haux, a giant omelette made with 4,500 eggs that feeds 1,000 people is served up in the town’s main square. The story goes that when Napoleon and his army were traveling through the south of France, they stopped in a small town and ate omelettes. Napoleon enjoyed his so much that he ordered the townspeople to gather their eggs and make a giant omelette for his army the next day.

Whilst in many countries Easter eggs are hidden and children hunt for them, in Germany Easter eggs are prominently displayed in trees and streets, with some of the trees having thousands of multi-colour eggs hanging in them.

In Greece, the tradition of ‘Pot Throwing’ takes place on the Saturday. People throw pots, pans and other earthenware out of their windows, smashing them on the streets. Some say the custom of throwing pots welcomes spring, symbolizing the crops that will be gathered in new pots.

In Hungary people believed that water had a cleansing inducing effect. ‘Sprinkling’ is a popular Hungarian Easter Monday tradition, in which boys playfully sprinkle perfume, cologne or water over a young woman’s head, and ask for a kiss.

There are around seven million Catholics in Indonesia, Christianity was brought there by Portuguese missionaries, and statues from this time are carried through the streets.  Young men consider it an honour to be chosen to play Jesus and be tied to the cross in various locations.

In Florence Italy, a huge decorated wagon is dragged through the streets by white oxen until it reaches the cathedral, and when Gloria is sung inside the cathedral, the Archbishop sends a dove-shaped rocket into the cart, igniting a large fireworks display.

One of the biggest Easter celebrations takes place in Seville Spain, where 52 different religious brotherhoods parade through the streets manifesting the crucifixion, with thousands watching the daily processions of marching bands and decorated candle lit floats illustrating the Easter story.

in Sweden happens with the children dressing up as Easter witches wearing long skirts, colourful headscarves and painted red cheeks, they go from home to home in their neighbourhood trading paintings and drawings in the hope of receiving sweets.

In the United States, the President hosts the annual Easter egg roll on the White House lawn on Easter Monday.  The tradition, believed to date back to the early 19th century, involves children rolling a decorated hard-boiled egg with a large serving spoon.

May you have a blessed Easter!

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