Creating A Healthier, Habitable Planet for Our Future Generations:

“There’s just one planet Earth and we all belong here” –

Isabella Lovin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden.

Rightly put by Sweden’s Deputy PM, the Earth was created for all of us to enjoy. But man has destroyed it for his selfish means.  

Nature has always been resilient. What is damaged, it makes good. However, over the last few decades, human actions have caused irreparable environmental destruction. Our planet is grappling with serious issues from climate change to deforestation to pollution. If we fail to take timely action, it won’t be long before several regions become uninhabitable. We will be the ones to blame when our children are deprived of a safe and healthy planet.

It, therefore, becomes our collective and individual responsibility to make efforts to halt this destruction and preserve our environment. Here’s looking at the steps we can take to engineer a positive change.

How have humans affected the environment?

Climate change is the most critical problem facing the planet right now. Rising levels of atmospheric CO2 caused by increased energy consumption, vehicular pollution, industrial operations and deforestation, have led to an increase in the average global temperature. This has, in turn, altered weather patterns. How does it matter?

The glaciers and ice caps are melting faster than predicted. As oceans rise, many coastal and low-lying regions will be submerged. Volatile weather also increases the likelihood of devastating natural disasters like hurricanes, droughts, floods and forest fires. The bushfires in Australia attest to this fact. The raging fires not only damaged property worth millions of dollars but also wiped out natural ecosystems, killed people and animals and displaced them.

Wildlife enthusiasts are fighting a battle on yet another front. They hope to resuscitate populations across ecosystems. Forests are being depleted to make space for housing, industry and farming. Rapidly multiplying human populations are burdening our natural resources. The numbers are more than what our planet can sustain. Overfishing has depleted marine species. There is a higher consumption of coal and fossil fuels, further adding to the CO2 emissions.

Pollution, in all forms, is another threat to the environment. Industries dump their toxic wastes into the sea contaminating water resources. It has caused a decline in marine species too. People are staring at a severe water shortage in the near future. The air we breathe is also of extremely poor quality with its large amounts of pollutants and carbon dioxide. It has put us at a greater risk of airborne diseases.

Environmental damage is a vicious cycle that keeps perpetuating itself. And the impacts are already visible.

Taking action to preserve the planet

Our future generations will have to bear the brunt if the situation gets out of hand. And, it is going to take more than a few governments and a handful of environmentalists to put an end to it. Protecting the planet starts with you and me. Here’s what people have been doing and what you can do too.

Regenerate forests

The best way to tackle the climate crisis is to bring back our forests. A simple act of planting a tree can help reverse the damage. Trees are carbon sinks. They filter the air we breathe. They restore the soil. Regenerating forests also re-establishes biodiversity. It supports ecosystems and sustains life. Natural ecosystems act as nature’s natural defence against calamities. Hence, they occupy an important place. Countries across the globe, third world countries, in particular, are already working towards restoring forest cover by planting billions of trees.

Reducing Carbon Footprint

Adopting greener lifestyles also helps halt environmental damage and there are multiple ways to do so.

  • Cut down vehicular usage. Choose instead to walk or use a bicycle. There are dual benefits. It protects the environment and keeps you healthy.
  • Increase recycling efforts. Don’t toss everything into the trash can. Segregate items that can be reused such as bags, containers and bottles.
  • Appropriate measures must be implemented for safe and proper waste handling, be it disposal or recycling.
  • Reduce energy consumption by turning off appliances and systems when not in use.
  • Switch to cleaner, renewable sources of energy such as solar, hydro and wind energy.
  • Choose recycled and eco-friendly products. Steer clear of single-use, non-biodegradable plastics. Use fewer disposable products.
  • Reduce water consumption and wastage. Simple steps like turning off the water tap when brushing or using a bucket instead of a shower when bathing can save tonnes of water.
  • Prevent sewage, plastics, pesticides, fertilisers and herbicides from washing off into the oceans.

Technology to the rescue

While technology is also to blame for environmental damage, it is making amends by providing innovative solutions. Technology, through the use of surveillance devices, has helped protect species on the brink of extinction. Industries are working on solutions to rid the atmosphere of heat-trapping gases. There are mechanisms that help reuse wastewater for daily activities reducing the burden on natural water resources. Technology has also made it possible to harvest renewable sources of energy through the use of solar power systems and wind turbines.

Saving the environment is not just a social cause, but has become important for our survival and that of the future generations. If we deplete all our natural resources, our future generations will have none to sustain themselves.

Governments across the world are uniting to keep our planet from a collapse. Corporates have joined in as well. Let us take some simple steps to protect and improve the health of our planet, too. Let’s work consciously to meet our needs without robbing our children of a happy future.

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