It’s appalling to see the damage that we as humans cause to the environment. The governments and responsible establishments around the world who have the power to make a major difference to the current situation, are yet to take on the role of saving our planet. But thankfully (and sometimes morbidly) eco-conscious newsletters and social media agencies time and again, bring forth the need for immediate attention to climate crisis.
As a 21st century individual, we have been recipients to many unfortunate pieces of news. The World Wide Fund for animals claims that ‘if there are 100 million different species co-existing with us on our planet, then between 10,000 and 100,000 species are becoming extinct each year. This is quite an alarming statistic. Malaysia’s Sumatran rhinoceros was the latest to fall prey to extinction. The last of the lot, Iman, died of cancer last month. The species is now sadly extinct.
As the year comes to an end, looking back at the environmental damage in 2019 alone, gives us good reason to stop and reflect.
From celebrities to child activists, everyone came together to comment, criticize, and find ways to stop the fires at the Amazon rain-forest. Amazon is one of the most effective natural systems on the planet that has the potential to undo the damage of climate crisis. The reasons behind the fires, were as most other times, linked to humans. The vast land makes for a good chunk for animal farming, ultimately fueling the meat industry. Another reason as pointed out by Carlos Nobre, a climate scientist with the University of São Paulo, is the absence of environmental laws. We barely have enough laws that are effective and in tune with the increasing changes in the environment. Nobre says, “the Amazon is completely lawless”. Sadly, this statement applies to so many other once-thriving ecosystems in the world.
Iceland Glacier Funeral
Okjokull, a glacier in Iceland had a funeral this year. If someone told me ten or even five years ago that there will be a time when the world will host funerals for glaciers, I would’ve marveled at their imagination. Frankly, it is not that climate crisis has occurred only in the last five or ten years. Many generations have seen climate literally change in front of their eyes. The only difference between then and now is the attention we are giving to these incidents. July, this year was recorded to have the highest temperatures ever. The funeral, as morbid and depressing as it sounds, is a significant milestone in the history of human civilization. One that we should never have to see again.
Carbon emissions in 2019 reached an all time high. This is despite the decrease in the use of coal, that has been infamous for decades for being a major pollutant. Increasing carbon emissions can increase the planet’s temperature, create a shortage of water, and ultimately food. Theories of competing with your neighbors to reduce your electricity, water, and meat consumption can be one way to control things. We must understand that we all leave our carbon footprints on Earth, even a little baby, with diaper waste. So we need to look for better alternatives like biodegradable diapers. We must all use public transport more often, take the train over a flight, and say no to possibly every one-time use plastic. At this point, almost anything that you can do to help, has a bigger impact than you can imagine.
These are only the high profile news stories that make it to our feeds and qualify for dinner time discussions. The millions of trees that are cut everyday, every puff of smoke that is released into the air, every animal that dies an unethical death, and every drop of water that is wasted in making a t-shirt that is worn once and then thrown into a dumpster, are things, we hardly talk about or even consider important in so many regions around the world.
Time will go on, at its pace, it is us, as humans, who need to slow down, stop and reflect. Most of us grew up with trees, fresh streams, and lush parks around us. Then why should we leave our children to grow up with air purifiers and the constant thought and guilt of damaging their environment?
Think, reflect, and act….soon.