We live in a very diverse ecosystem, and we go way beyond the past. We have stories from the ancient past of ecological harmony. Some anecdotes dating back to the 9th century, when lord Vishnu was reincarnated as the Matsya in Hindu mythology. It dictates the story where a boat was built that carried a set of all the living organisms and plants. Other narratives are those of the Ark of Noah, Safina-e-Nooh (Nooh ki Kashti), Sumerian flood myths, the Epic of Gilgamesh all reciting the same incident, harmony between the species, and the importance of the ecosystem.
But somewhere down the line, we changed. We changed drastically. The world we see now is not the world we used to know. We, humans, have failed, as a civilization. Change of lifestyle, the introduction of new technologies have done more bad than good. Constantly advancing and evolving the human race has somehow failed to evolve environmental consciousness. We lack the spirit and humanity to co-exist with organisms of different species. We might have skipped the fact that each individual, each species and plant are supposed to exist simultaneously and that we support each other. Life of one without the other is impossible. The ecosystem is the very fabric of life and we are crumbling it down with our own hands. Humans have deteriorated nature in such a way that today, we put 1 million species at risk of extinction and still seem to ignore this fact.
Over the last 50 years, we have choked nature to such an extent that our Earth’s carrying capacity is falling harder each moment. We have exhausted natural resources, so much so that we ran out of some of them. We are changing nature and expanding our needs and usage unequally. Earth’s population has almost doubled and the consumption rate has increased by 45% in the last 50 years. We have directly or indirectly altered the land, plants, trees, forests, animal kingdom, biodiversity, river, seas and other water bodies. The advancements and industrial revolutions that we are proud of have played a huge antagonist role in our downfall. We have expertise in exploiting nature.
The rate at which the extinction of the species is accelerating is quite alarming which holds grave impacts for our future. The earth will never be the same again as we know it now.
- 75% of terrestrial environment “severely altered” to date by human actions (marine environments 66%).
- 60 billion tons of renewable and non-renewable resources extracted globally each year, up nearly 100% since 1980.
- More than 85% of wetlands present in 1700 had been lost by 2000 – loss of wetlands is currently three times faster, in percentage terms than forest loss.
- 8 million: total estimated number of animal and plant species on Earth. (including 5.5 million insect species).
- Tens to hundreds of times: the extent to which the current rate of global species extinction is higher compared to the average over the last 10 million years, and the rate is accelerating.
- More than 40% of amphibian species threatened with extinction.
- Up to 1 million species threatened with extinction, many within decades.
- 33% of marine fish stocks in 2015 being harvested at unsustainable levels.
- 45% increase in raw timber production since 1970.
- 100% increase since 1980 in greenhouse gas emissions, rising average global temperature by at least 0.7 degrees.
- 1 degree Celsius average global temperature difference in 2017 compared to pre-industrial levels.
- 40% rise in the carbon footprint of tourism (to 4.5Gt of carbon dioxide) from 2009 to 2013.
And the list goes on to above 100 points. You can check it out here.
To understand the severity of this situation let’s take a look at what Biodiversity means. Biological Diversity is the link between all the organisms on earth, binding each of them into a thread of interdependent ecosystems, where all of them have their specific role. In simple words, It is the web of life.
Together we are all even parts of the planet’s great ecosystem, so if there is a biodiversity crisis, everyone is at stake including humans. We are currently using 25% more natural resources than the planet can sustain. As a result, all the species are under pressure or direct threats.
Biodiversity underpins the health of the planet and has a direct impact on all our lives. -WWF
For humans, that’s a very worrying fact.
Despite the constant meetings and conferences nationwide on climate change, we still have not produced the desired outcome. Some countries and governments realised the heat of the future and started working towards the betterment of society. But for what it’s worth, we still have a long way to go. Being environmentally conscious is a big game and no matter where the dart is thrown, as long as it hits the board, we score. The tiniest of the changes bring about a vast impact and as a mere humans, the least we should do is to aim for the tiniest.
- Changing our lifestyle to be more eco-friendly.
- Farming more forests and trees, even a small plant in our homes would do.
- Following the three R’s, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
- Changing dietary plans and food habits.
- Using renewable and cleaner energy.
The list goes on and on. Combating the current situation is going to be complex but we need to see through all the approaches and take definite actions on the same.
“We are in the endgame now”, as MCU fans would call it. It is still not too late yet to take measures against it. Hard-hitting facts must be put out in society. Strong policies should be devised with regulations and constraints for the industries and other sectors affecting our ecology. Imparting knowledge, holding workshops and sessions, and educating people about the climatic risks are some of the societal steps we need to take. Our leaders, our government, and our citizens should work round the clock to help sustain the planet. Every individual should opt for a sustainable living lifestyle and products that do not harm our mother nature. We might have embarked on the journey to various planets and stars, but the need of the hour should be to save the only planet we know for sure can sustain us. We should save our very Earth, after all, “A Bird In Hand Is Better Than Two In The Bush.”