By: Oseni Benjamin Toluwalase
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The outbreak of the virus in China and its rapid spread to every nook and cranny of the globe made the World Health Organization (WHO) declare it as a pandemic. The pandemic, since the outbreak began from the end of fall last year, till date, has left phenomenal damages to human life, relationships, businesses, social life, and education amongst others. As a matter of fact, it has caused so many disruptions that everyday life is now known as “the new normal.” Despite the adverse implications, the pandemic has brought on some positive impacts such as family bonding, new developments in health and medicine, advances in human sustainability, innovative ways of learning, doing business and going about our normal days’ activities,
One benefit of the pandemic to the society is an opportunity to harness the engineered ecosystem. An engineered ecosystem can be defined as a man-made ecosystem with its own biotic and abiotic factors. A garden is a form of an engineered ecosystem. Gardens are playing a very important role especially during this pandemic because of food production, as a means of recreation to ease stress and depression, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere to reduce global warming.
According to the National Gardening Association (NGA), 35 percent of households in the US grow food either at home or in a community garden. This is an encouraging population, especially considering that the pandemic has brought about significant economic hardship and the earlier lockdown limited our movements to obtain food. The gardens grown at home or in a community solely for the purpose of consumption have helped reduce hunger and saved people a lot of money on food items.
According to a special National Gardening Association report, Garden to Table: A 5-Year Look at Food Gardening in America, “There is a 17 percent increase in households growing their own food and this represents the highest level of food gardening in more than a decade.” In other words, one in every three American households has an indoor or outdoor garden. A major advantage of having a garden during COVID-19 in relation to food production is a reduction in the amount of times you go out to get food stuff.
Garden as a Form of Recreation
What can gardening do to help with the coronavirus pandemic? Gardening has always been touted as a relaxing recreational activity that can provide great personal rewards. During this stressful time, when many people are working at home and students are learning at home, gardening can be a positive family-inclusive activity to adopt. From a mental aspect, growing a vegetable garden may be a way for adults and children to cope with boredom, in addition to helping families gain a sense of security and collaboration. Historical experiences during trying times have given us examples of how important gardening can be in our society.
Health Benefits of Gardening as a Recreational Activity
COVID-19 is affecting the lives of millions of people as well as the environment. Specifically, Carbon (II) Oxide emissions and human mobility have been reduced, improving the air quality with the decrease in social and economic activities. Since economies have been shut down, factories and industries have stopped production and it has led to a great reduction of Carbon (II) oxide in the atmosphere. Plants take in Carbon (IV) oxide and release oxygen to the atmosphere, reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
Scientists have confirmed that air quality in certain regions has improved in recent weeks. As industries, aviation, and other means of transportation have halted or been limited, air pollution has reduced in countries severely affected by the virus such as China, Italy, and Spain. The emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has fallen as a result of the lockdown hereby reducing air pollution. On the 27th of April, cities in India reported seeing clear blue skies in years as a result of COVID-19.
Gardens play a very vital role in combating climate change; as plants grow, they help prevent global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.
Have you ever wondered why you feel so relaxed and cool whenever you sit under a tree? It is because of the emission of oxygen from the trees or plants that makes you feel so relaxed.
Gardening is a very fun activity that comes with numerous benefits: you don’t even need to have your own garden, you can engage in your community’s garden! The whole purpose of gardening is defined from your own perspective. Please stay safe and find ways to contribute to an eco-friendly environment.
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