As the coronavirus pandemic continues to take hold of the world, many governments have imposed strict lockdown and social distancing measures in order to curb the spread of the disease. As of Wednesday evening, more than a third of the planet’s population is under some form of restriction, with many under order to stay at home and avoid social gatherings.
Limiting social gathering has led to declines in certain industries, like travel and hospitality, which has stunted the global economy. But fewer humans outside has also allowed the natural world to convalesce. Changes to pollution, air quality, and a resurgence of wildlife have all been observed in the months since the new coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
Some environmentalists say that humans have put too much pressure on the natural world, leading diseases that typically exist in nature to spillover into humans.
“There are too many pressures at the same time on our natural systems and something has to give,” Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program told The Guardian last month. “We are intimately interconnected with nature, whether we like it or not. If we don’t take care of nature, we can’t take care of ourselves”.
Other experts have said that the world is undergoing an “unprecedented natural experiment” in how restrictions on human activity put in place due to the new coronavirus have brought us clearer skies and cleaner air.
From cleaner beaches to less air pollution, here are 10 photos, videos, and charts that show how the world’s condition is improving while people stay indoors.
Air pollution in China has decreased, and satellite photos have captured the dramatic drop in recent weeks.
Read more: The Insider