Hope for Quaranteens
By Clara Kingsley Tripp, 12
As a global response to the rapidly spreading COVID-19, millions upon millions of people have been forced to retreat into their houses. We’ve raided local stores, abandoned empty shelves upon empty shelves, and stockpiled our pantries with milk and toilet paper. We take lengths to avoid the news or we read every last article we can find. Stuck in our homes, citizens are wracked with anxiety, fearful anticipation, and boredom. But could quarantine actually have benefits?
Stay-home orders are aiding the climate crisis. Because millions of citizens aren’t venturing out of their homes, they also aren’t littering, emitting high levels of carbon, and disrupting wildlife. Satellite footage shows that Italy, South Korea, and China have all experienced severe drops in air pollution. In Venice, the canals are running far cleaner and clearer than before. And animals are emerging–in Japan, deer are sauntering confidently through empty city streets, in Thailand, swarms of monkeys took over a plaza, and some Italians even reported seeing sheep, horses, and wild boar outside.
Being stuck in quarantine will also force people to face their consumerism. Losing the ability to go to the grocery store or the mall whenever they please will lead people to see how little they actually need to shop. Many will realize they can live without certain things, like frequent flying or driving. Perhaps when people see the impact this is–or rather, they aren’t–having on the environment, they’ll take steps towards climate action when “normal” life resumes.
The arts and technology are at the forefront of everything. Stuck at home? Looking for something to do? Try streaming the Metropolitan Opera’s latest masterpiece, for free. Or taking a class on Coursera, for free. Or perhaps, tour a museum in Barcelona on Google Arts and Culture. Participate in a live stream yoga class with Girls Leadership or a writing workshop with poet Rupi Kaur. Attempt worldwide meditation with Deepak Chopra. All for free.
Everyone is home, everyone is bored, everyone is looking for something to do. Many organizations, especially the arts, are stepping forward to provide usually highly expensive or exclusive activities to the general public, at no cost. Often, these places are overlooked or underestimated. But now is the perfect time for humanity to rediscover their beautiful creations and enjoy them, right in their own homes.
Not only are the arts being encouraged, but technology is finally being used for good. Many are using social media to stay up to date with one another or keep up with the news. Zoom and Facetime are an opportunity to see much-missed faces of friends and family. Google Classroom is being used for remote learning. Additionally, all the arts I mentioned above are being provided through technology.
Finally, boredom leads to creativity. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” It’s time to use that imagination! If you’re bored in your house, then you should know that boredom has been found to boost creativity and motivation to try new things. Stuck at home, you finally have time to do all the things you’ve always wanted! Perhaps that’s a new hobby; painting, knitting, writing, sewing. Maybe it’s a new pet–now, you have time to train it. Or maybe, like me, you’ve always wanted to get bangs but you’re worried you won’t like them. No risk now–no one will see you! Even if it’s simple, like cleaning your room, or learning to make an omelette, you finally have all the time it takes to do it.
So, don’t worry about boredom, but instead, take advantage of quarantine! Meditate. Reach out to an old friend. Find something new that sparks your imagination. Even if it doesn’t look too appealing from the outside, quarantine can have its benefits–on the environment, on the arts, on technology, even on our minds. Enjoy it while you can.
Clara Kingsley Tripp, 12