Since the age of industrialisation and globalisation began, we humans have been over-exploiting our natural resources in a manner that clearly shows that our greed has been overcoming our needs. We have been burning fossil fuels without caring about carbon emissions. We have been indulging in so many industrial activities that emit greenhouse gases which have actually caused the heating of the earth. Our lust for money and luxury has been driving us to cater to our materialistic needs. This unnecessary drive has caused air quality all around the world to degrade. Our ozone layer has become weak and has developed holes in many places allowing harmful radiation to get through to us. The ice caps have started melting and the flora and fauna have been affected by our activities. The rising scarcity of freshwater is another major concern. So what can we humans do to reverse or at least slow down this degradation of our planet and ecosystems? Well, there are some pretty effective ways to tackle this situation. Let’s have a look at some of them.
Emission of harmful CFCs and greenhouse gases act like poison and are slowly damaging the ozone layer. Mining and burning coal and petroleum for various activities are leading to global warming. We need to take certain measures so that the burning of fossil fuels is minimal. Other activities that release CFCs need to be strictly controlled by the governments of different countries. A lot of household appliances and products release these harmful gases, so their production needs to be stopped completely. We have other options like using solar and nuclear energy to fulfill our needs. All that we need to do is to make the effort to change our habits
Freshwater is a very fast waning resource. We are using it faster than it replenishes. We need to bring changes to industrial and agricultural activities since they use up most of the water. Industrial activities that use water aren’t as important as agriculture and on top of that, most of them have an alternative to water which just costs more. It would be comparatively easier to reduce water consumption for metal and other industries if they just agree to spend more on the alternatives to water. Coming to agriculture, it is the practice of irrigation that actually consumes the majority of the water. Adopting techniques that decrease the water used for the irrigation of plants should be our priority. Shifting to drip irrigation and farming aquaponics can greatly work in our favour as they save a lot of water compared to the traditional methods of farming and irrigation. Working on various types of systems for aquaponics and setting up a grid for drip irrigation should be the way forward. Researchers have revealed that we have around 10 years before the whole world starts facing water scarcity, so we need to pick up our pace.
Plastics are non-biodegradable. A piece of plastic once manufactured and thrown on the ground will be around for thousands of years. It will probably never decompose. There are currently billions of tons of plastic just lying around and poisoning our soil all around the earth. We are still producing billions of tons more. There are some countries with responsible leaders that are taking a step against the usage of plastic but that will not be enough, The whole world needs to come together and rise against the use and manufacture of plastics.
We have been clearing forests for hundreds of years to make roads and cities. Forests have trees that provide us with the oxygen that we breathe. We don’t need to discuss the importance of forests but we need to discuss what else is happening due to deforestation. Apart from global warming, deforestation also contributes to the erosion of the topsoil. The topsoil is essential for more plants to grow and without the topsoil, a lot of things in nature can and are going wrong. Landslides and floods are lesser-known effects of deforestation.
System of Lockdowns
The lockdown enforced in almost all the world due to coronavirus has reminded us of a very simple truth about nature. It heals itself if given the chance. During the lockdown, we witnessed reports coming in from all around the world about nature taking over and healing itself. Rivers were becoming clearer, air pollution in the most polluted cities was disappearing, animals and other living creatures, that are mostly in hiding, had started roaming the streets of our cities. We can have a system of regular lockdowns at least twice a year to let nature repair the damage we do to it for the rest of the year.
Protecting our environment is ultimately protecting us. The planet will still be here even if it gets 100 degrees hotter but we humans won’t be able to survive that. So we need to make these efforts and take these measures if we want to leave a habitable world for our children and grandchildren.