Conservation of the Natural Environment
Imagine a world devoid of life, including humans, a barren land, absent of any life at all? As the land undergoes the concurrent processes of desertification and degradation, this will become a catastrophic reality if we don’t stop our horrible mismanagement of the environment. I’ll be discussing the rather critical need for humanity to focus on preserving the environment and its significance to us. We need to focus on environmental conservation so we can understand the devastating effects of its degradation, why humans depend on the natural environment and understand that we need to preserve the experience of future generations.
The textbook definition of environmental degradation: environmental degradation is the exhaustion of the world’s natural resources: land, air, water, soil, etc. It occurs due to crimes committed by humans against nature. We can very clearly see this type of destruction in every aspect of society. Deforestation so that we have land for agricultural use. Burning fossil fuels so that we have an easy, plentiful source of electricity for our homes. Besides the fact they are all very damaging, these activities are taken to extreme limits; did you know, according to the World Bank, the world has lost 1.3 million square km of forest between 1990 and 2016? Additionally, in 2012, there were 6.5 million deaths worldwide attributed to air pollution-related diseases according to WHO. The devastation of the natural environment also impacts us negatively. Due to the greedy nature of humans, we seem to distance ourselves from these clear-cut impacts, which only endangers our wish for an Earth that can sustain our species. Our worldview is taking away our hopeful wishes and dreams as well as the promising future for which we will have nothing left if nobody does anything, procrastinating like a school student procrastinating on homework, except that the consequences are far and wide-reaching.
In my opinion, more needs to be done, society needs to divert their attention and time to the preservation of the environment. Starting now as individuals, we can be the drops of water that rain upon the barren land, giving it hope and the chance to grow anew. Cooperation and collaboration are vital to this effort. Imagine if the whole world worked together? The sprinkling of rain would turn into a torrent of water, carving out an endless, pristine ocean of water, sustaining the beauty of life indefinitely, leaving no trace of the wasteland that once existed in its place. However, we cannot come together if we are as fragmented as we are in the present. This is all just to show that we can solve any problem. We can save the environment. We can save the world. But we need to work together. As a community. As a nation. As a world. US Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” During his time, his words might have encouraged industrialisation, however we can give them a new meaning, where we apply it to our outlook on nature. Just as he said, we cannot thrive on empty words and promises, we must actually come together and improve, achieve and succeed.
We must leave future generations with the experiences we have had, of nature and all its beauty. The Chinese Garden of Friendship in Sydney, for example. The lush green vegetation surrounds us and we admire its beauty, even if unknowingly. “If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it,” a quote by former U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson, informing us that we must preserve at least part of the world that came before and not leave future generations the remnants of the world after we have made a profound and irreversible negative impact on it. I agree with his statement. I agree that current society is the link between past and future and that we, we are the main determinant in whether future generations will get to experience nature. The moral and social benefit is huge, so we must maintain the environment for the future, just as our ancestors have. In addition, humanity depends upon nature as a source of sustenance through processes such as absorption of greenhouse gases and recycling of nutrients in soil. These are controlled by ecosystems in our environment, forming a delicate balance, changing these ecosystems will thus impact the environment’s ability to maintain these complex systems and this is why we so heavily rely on the environment for our own survival.
Please understand the negative effects we have on the environment. Understand how essential the environment is to our current society. Understand why it is worth preserving for future generations. Environmental conversation should be our top priority for these reasons and understand that it is urgent that we work together. As one community, one nation and one world. Renowned Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. And she once said, “We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all.” Follow his advice, preserve the environment, be the change. Remember, we collectively, are the water droplets that sustain the land, giving a chance for life.