June 5th is World Environment Day and it is an important reminder for all of us. No matter how advanced we become, we cannot deny that we depend on our environment for survival. The food we consume, the air we breathe, and the water we drink are all provided by our nature. That’s why it’s ironic how despite all these gifts, humans continue to destroy natural resources in the name of urbanization and economic development.
Human actions such as deforestation, mining, improper disposal of garbage, illegal dumping of toxic wastes, burning of fossil fuels, among other harmful activities lead to worsening pollution and global warming. Nature requires a delicate balance and disruption in its flow has resulted in drastic changes.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), roughly one-quarter of coral reefs are already damaged worldwide.
Throughout the years, coral bleaching caused by increasing temperature has affected large reserves of corals across the world. This is alarming because coral reefs provide shelter to millions of marine animals. They are also crucial in the development of medicines that treat cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, bacterial infections, and even viruses.
Meanwhile, rain forests in different regions are also facing threats caused by forest fires, poaching, logging, mining, ranching, and agriculture, to name just a few. Wild animals, exotic plants, and indigenous groups depend on nature for their food and survival. With the increasing frequency of forest fires, illegal logging, and deforestation, there has also been a growing concern about global warming and its worsening effects.
Our growing global population has also resulted in more demands for food, shelter, clothing, among other needs.
Our food production and economic development have resulted in an increase in food waste and plastic usage. We produce around 300 million tons of plastic every year and roughly eight million end up in the ocean. With the current rate that we’re going at, it’s only a matter of time before our actions result in irreversible changes in our ecosystem’s balance.
As we have learned with the current crisis, there are still so many things we have yet to discover. No matter how much we develop. Our long-term goals should involve protecting our natural resources and saving the environment from its dooming destruction. As a result, this year’s observance highlights the theme of biodiversity. With the forest fires in Brazil, the U.S., and Australia, the volcanic eruption in the Philippines, the locust infestations in East Africa, and the current global pandemic, it goes to show that we are all connected and interdependent.
Biodiversity is the foundation that supports and affects each one of us in many ways. We have been proven that we are just guests and never the masters of this world. Thus, it is our duty to protect it from our own actions, especially on World Environment Day.
Featured image via Joshua Earle on Unsplash