Post by Giles Kirkland
The Earth has been a part of this universe for over 4.5 billion years. The human race has only inhibited it for a mere spec on its timeline. Sadly, we have already managed to abuse and pollute our home near the point of no return.
Renowned scientist Stephen Hawking predicted that we might need to leave the Earth within a century for our survival. The steadily rising degradation of our environment directly impacts our lives.
It Affects Us All
In most developing countries, around 50% of the poorest populations consist of women. They depend on the renewability of resources to provide them with their basic needs: food, shelter, water, fuel – you name it. The rising awareness regarding gender equality should provoke action against the negative impact of environmental disasters on women. In natural disasters 70-80% of those needing assistance are women and children.
The Industrial Revolution may have made the cost of living lower for man but it caused a much larger cost for our planet. Plastic initially seemed to be our saviour. However, today, 78 million tonnes of packaging alone is left to flow in our oceans. Adding this to the 14 billion tons of garbage, it’s no surprise that marine life has seen a sharp decline over the years.
Little Things Can Make A Huge Difference
It’s about time we played our part in stopping the demise of our planet. There are simple steps we can follow to make sure we reduce the harm we cause. For example, stop using plastic straws, use bamboo, wooden or metal straws that are becoming increasingly more available. It might be just one straw for you, but half a million straws are discarded every day.
Go for reusable linen shopping bags. Reuse and recycle wherever possible. Buy products that choose organic packaging. Take part in community clean-ups and initiate such projects. If we all got together and did our best to clean up the mess we have created, it would take around 20 years to fully cleanse the environment.
Polluting the Air & Water Means Polluting Life
Air pollution causes suffering to 90% of the Earth’s inhabitants and is the reason for one in eight premature deaths due to diseases such as lung infections, asthma, flu and so on. Two thirds of deaths related to respiratory diseases occur in Asia.
The air quality of Singapore, which has contributed to its infamous ‘haze’, is twice as bad than the WHO guidelines. Globally, 3200 million tonnes of C2O are emitted every year and 25% of that is caused by cars. Currently there are over 500 million cars worldwide and this number is expected to double in a decade.
Opting for a bicycle or public transport instead of a car is a healthier and often faster option. If you do have to drive, choose electric cars that save fuel or try carpooling with your friends.
Coal, fuel, water are all limited energy resources that must be saved. 37% of electricity comes from coal-burning power plants. We should follow the example of countries like Iceland which generates all their electricity renewably.
5000 people die every day due to unclean water, 42% of whom are based in Asia. If we have access to these resources we must take steps to preserve them for the lesser privileged and future generations. Simple steps like shutting the tap while brushing our teeth, adding solar panels on our roofs, turning off the lights when not required and so on can greatly benefit us in the long term.
Save The Rainforests To Save Yourselves
Another important factor affecting the environment is deforestation. It destroys the natural habitats of millions of animals yearly, for example 50 orangutans per week are killed or lose their home in this process. It also causes soil pollution and affects global warming.
Many people remain unaware of the long-term consequences of fact that palm plantations are the reason for cutting down rainforests at such a disastrous scale. The lungs of our planet are being annihilated and little action is being taken. Signing petitions isn’t enough anymore. We need to act now.
Currently only 7% of palm oil production is certified as sustainable. If eliminating oil production is impossible, then at least large companies buying or producing the product, should ensure that it is produced sustainably, and consumers should look for products with palm oil from certified sources.
We must take a stand against environmental degradation and thus lessen gender inequality. It all starts with you – and the 7.53 billion who inhabit this planet. All is not lost but may well be if we do not take swift action and guide others to do the same.