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A Quieter Place

Published April 24th, 2020


“Nature is taking a breath when the rest of us are holding ours.”

– Michelle Fournet, Marine Ecologist, Cornell University

Barry Wilmore, NASA

While we humans reckon with the deadly menace that is the coronavirus pandemic, and our economy is devastated by its effects, there is growing evidence that the Earth is getting a much needed break from our over-activity.  As emissions fall, air quality around the world is skyrocketing. Residents in northern India are reporting that they can see the Himalaya Mountains 125 miles away for the first time in 30 years. The Federal Energy Information Administration is forecasting that nationwide, “energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will decrease by 7.5% in 2020 as the result of the slowing economy and restrictions on business and travel activity related to COVID-19.”

The Earth is also meaningfully quieter amid the coronavirus pause. Seismologists studying the Earth’s ambient seismic noise report a significant decrease as traffic and industry are halted. City dwellers are reporting hearing spring birdsong for the first time in memory.  One gets the sense that the birds and mammals feel the difference and are returning to healthier activity. I can hear it and see it in my own backyard. The birdsong this spring is louder and more vibrant than ever, with activity and variety at my feeder growing.  A few days ago, I witnessed a very healthy red fox make two kills (meadow voles, I assume) in just three minutes. The fox had to put one of her meals down to pick up the other.

My awareness and interest in all of the flower, plant, bird and animal activity this spring has grown enormously, and I am so grateful for it. Yet, I wonder if our plant and animal  relatives are happier than ever as they get a much needed break from our human business. Are they more vibrant and healthy this year, and I am noticing them more….or have they always been so alive and beautiful, and I am just quieting myself enough to notice?

David BrownsteinDavid BrownsteinDavid Brownstein, Executive Director

In 2004, David co-founded and, today, is the Executive Director of Wild Earth, where he seeks to help regenerate healthy community culture and create opportunities for people to connect with themselves, each other and the Earth. Prior to founding Wild Earth, David worked as a wealth advisor on Wall Street for twelve years before realizing a life dream – fully sharing in the care and parenting of his three children, and creating a small family farm. Today, the Brownsteins raise dairy cows, goats, chickens, bees and vegetables in season. David also maintains an active counseling practice called Root Connections, where he focuses on helping individuals, couples, groups and business leaders identify and manifest their unique vision. More about David's work.

2 thoughts on “A Quieter Place”

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. Michele says:

    I’ve noticed the same. I’ve asked myself the same questions. Are the animals happier and coming out more, or, am I just noticing more? I really think that nature is happier because it’s becoming healthier.

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