Matt’s Blog

After reading Nina’s blog from last week about the environment rebounding during the corona virus quarantines, I questioned the nature of this rebound. With only essential businesses open and people no longer having a reason to drive for work or otherwise, it would make sense to think that species are rebounding because the effects of pollution seem to be diminishing. However, I began to question if this could really be the sole cause of our environment’s rebound. With people no longer being able to leave their houses, the draw on electricity and other resources must be much higher than usual. And although combustion used in electricity generation is far more efficient than car engines, the idea that pollution is increasing in other sources allows the possibility that there are other causes of the healing ecosystem. I believe one of the larger causes for environmental revival to be a decreased human presence.

Noise pollution has been shown to have large effects on wildlife, it causes stress to many creatures which interferes with sleeping, feeding, and mating. With less cars and human presence in areas otherwise greatly affected by noise pollution, the environment is no longer struggling against unnatural conditions: it is being given the freedom to grow and flourish. Species activity is no longer being attacked by an invisible enemy. Though with this information comes an upsetting thought. If so much interference is caused by human presence, what are the next steps to aiding the environment?

Matt Firmin’s Op Ed Post

The op ed I looked at was What Social Distancing Looked Like in 1666 by Annalee Newitz. The article heavily draws on the experiences of English politician Samuel Pepys during the bubonic plague. The article demonstrates how medical science has progressed over the years by drawing contrast between reactions to these pandemics in the past and today. It details the origins of social distancing; where funeral gatherings were banned during the time of the Black Plague. The article also catalogs human behavior, Newits notes how people during this time would purchase and bury excess supplies. Where in the past frightened citizens would bury wine and cheese, people now hoard toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

I recognize the article as an op-ed because the author writes in a very informal tone. The author uses the information and subject with the primary goal to entertain the reader rather than to educate or express new information to the world. In addition, the author pokes fun of both modern and past actions, speaks directly to the reader, and uses “all caps” to express points. It is very clear that the points expressed in this article are not that of the publisher New York Times but that of the author. This article represents Annalee Newitz’s opinions and as such it is her op ed.