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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

COVID-19 and the Environmental Crisis

Rebecca Poirier ’21

Rebecca Poirier ’21, was a 2020-21 Environmental Ethics Fellow with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, where she majored in environmental studies with minors in Spanish, public health, and sustainability.

Rebecca explored the intersecting impact of climate change and the COVID-19 Pandemic on the environment through a series of infographics designed to bring awareness to eight important issues. 


Jul 2, 2021

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Coffee in a pandemic?

"Because of fear of COVID spread, most coffee shops will no longer take reusable cups...the increase in single use cups has a huge effect on our waste streams."

Blooms for beginners

"Gardening can be used as an alternative to grocery shopping and allow for greater access to foods that can be costly or hard to access."

Groceries in a pandemic

"The pandemic has shaped and increased online grocery shopping, which in turn has increased plastic consumption among consumers."

Mask pollution

"Mask production and disposal is similar to plastic bottle production, but with no regulations on how to discard masks they end up in landfills and littered through out environment."

Pandemic plastic bottle increase

"With water fountains closed and cups unavailable due to fear of spreading disease, many companies have transitioned to handing out plastic bottles for customers."

Lets go shopping!

"With rapid increases in ordering during the pandemic, the company leased more than a dozen more Boeing 747s and new trucks and cars for ground transportation."

Lets talk take-out

"Pre-pandemic, the United States was using more than 36 billion plastic utensils a year...with fear mongering by plastic producers, restaurants feel the need to overcompensate to show safety measures, usually leading to even more plastic use."


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