Many times we tend to discuss the environment as if it were something exterior to us. We tend to discuss the environment as something that we need to safeguard, as something that we need to take care of. But in actual fact, by doing this we are missing out on one crucial point. By now we should be discussing ourselves. In actual fact, by now we should have understood that our lives are intertwined with our surroundings.
The environment is not some foreign body that we must protect. The environment is us. It’s the air we breathe, the food we eat and all the activities we pursue. Discussing the environment as something exterior to us will make us look as if we’re trying to hold on to a classic element with nostalgia. Really and truly, we should realise that the environmental crisis we’re seeing unfolding before our eyes is also a humanitarian crisis.
Whenever discussing the impact of our actions on the environment, we should assess the impact such repercussions have on humanity at large. Our world contains all the necessary elements for us to survive, but as soon as we start tempering with such elements, our lives end up at risk. The environment makes up much of the fabric upon which our life depends. Failure to recognise this will only accelerate our own destruction. How? Here are a few examples.
Rising temperatures: Severe rain is the result of rising temperatures, which in turn will result in hurricanes, stronger winds and intense rainfalls. Wildfires will intensify too, with an increase in conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia following suit. Not to mention heat exhaustion, dehydration, cardiovascular and respiratory problems and diabetes-related conditions... which may also lead to death!
Water supply and quality: Our dry climatic conditions exert pressure on our water supply, and by polluting it we are contaminating the one primary source that can actually keep us alive. Crop productions are affected, as the poor quality of water will contaminate crops to an extent that we will experience more and more negative crop yields. Some productions on the other hand will fail.
Species extinction: Biodiversity allows our soil to remain productive, but mass agriculture and overharvesting are causing a drop in biodiversity. Our failure to safeguard our repertoire of natural resources will eventually see us missing out on the discovery of medicinal species; species that may be important in the treatment of cancer, for instance.
Deforestation: The distinction between humanity and wildlife has become almost inexistent. This creates the ideal atmosphere for diseases to spread from wildlife to human populations. Are you still wondering why the Covid-19 pandemic won’t probably be the only pandemic we shall be experiencing throughout our lifetime? Think again!
Air quality: Whenever we speak of air pollution, really and truly we should be speaking of pollutants that end up in our lungs. Asthma, lung cancer, strokes and heart diseases are a few of the consequences we are to expect.
Preventing further destruction of the environment means that we are willing to save ourselves. This is the only way forward, not just for our future generations, but first and foremost for ourselves. Failure to do just that will lead to our own destruction. At the end of the day, we’re just another species; another creature subject to the harm our own actions are inflicting.
Our social actions too are directly or indirectly linked to our environmental problems. It is definitely not surprising to learn that those on the receiving end of such consequences may end up victims of anxiety, depression and substance abuse.
This is why we shouldn’t be discussing the environment.
In reality, we should be discussing ourselves!
The clock is ticking.
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