Features | From Pivot Magazine

What is ‘The Great Anthropause?’

From a reduction in the Earth’s seismic noise to animal sightings in urban areas, here are some of the pandemic’s more surprising after-effects

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Collage of a jackal and pumaIncrease in wildlife sightings—a 58 per cent jump from the previous year—was reported by inaturalist.ca (iStock)


In July, a paper co-authored by 76 researchers, including McGill University’s William Minarik, demonstrated that the anthropause has cut the Earth’s seismic noise in half. Results varied by location. Sensors measuring ground vibration in Brussels recorded a 33 per cent decline, while a 10 per cent drop was recorded in New York City’s Central Park.


Increase in wildlife sightings reported to inaturalist.ca, the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s plant and animal tracking portal, during the first days of April—a 58 per cent jump from the previous year. Reduced traffic and noise pollution are thought to be responsible for an uptick in sightings of wild animals in urban settings, including pumas in downtown Santiago, Chile, and jackals in parks in Tel Aviv, Israel. 


During the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, daily global carbon dioxide levels declined by 17 per cent and there were corresponding declines in overall pollution levels. In Canada, pollution levels in the five largest cities dropped significantly in the weeks following the March pandemic lockdowns.


Number of emergency pigeon-feeding permits issued to animal rights’ groups in May in Cologne, Germany, to prevent the birds from going hungry. “Pigeons are very loyal to their local habitat,” a spokesperson from the German Animal Welfare Association told U.K.’s Express newspaper. “They will not leave the city centres and will starve to death if they are not provided with food soon.”


Learn why businesses need to respond to climate change now and how CPAs can play a role in developing robust standards and practices related to sustainable finance.