Destroy thy Creator
Man has been at war with nature ever since he stopped living in forests and looked at Planet Earth with prying eyes. The industrial age intensified this appetite and today we stand on the brink of environmental disaster. If we bite the very hand that nurtures us, how far can we be from a total catastrophe?
Environment is the sum total of all ecosystems on the planet, the total planetary inheritance. This includes all biotic and abiotic resources such as air, water, soil-land, minerals, and animal and plant life on earth. The chief functions of the environment are:
- Supply Resources
- Assimilate Wastes
- Sustain Life by providing Genetic and Biological Diversity
Why Environment is the Mother Resource?
All living beings require resources for survival. Humans need these for the additional purpose of economic development. All sustenance and developmental activities produce wastes that are absorbed by nature. Through a balance of these two functions, environment sustains life. Therefore, nature provides and sustains life as well as development.
Ungrateful, Imbalanced Humans
When the rates of resource extraction and waste generation respectively exceed the rates of resource regeneration waste assimilation an imbalance results. Greater extraction also leads to greater consumption and generates more wastes. Then, environment is unable to sustain life.
Such imbalance has precisely been the result of human activity. With the industrial age, machines were used on an unprecedentedly large scale. The increased production capacity was complemented with blatant resource extraction. High-demand lifestyles were promoted to market this augmented production.
Devastation Pte Ltd
If we open our eyes, the exhaustion of all natural resources is there for all of us to see. This includes:
- Land Degradation due to incorrect practices in agriculture, grazing, mining and groundwater extraction; deforestation, forest fires and solid waste mismanagement
- Biodiversity Loss manifested in ecosystem destruction and extinction of plant and animal species
- Air Pollution due to industrial and automobile discharges and incorrect agricultural practices. Global Warming can flood half the world and dry out the remaining half
- Water Bodies Contamination by untreated sewage and industrial effluents
- Ozone Depletion
- Exhaustion of Minerals from excessive mining
To sum up, these effects destroy livelihoods, lower the quality of life, disrupt cultures, and trigger social instability.
Sustainable Development: Do we have the Collective Resolve?
Premised on the interdependence of environment and economy, sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present generation without hampering the ability of future generations to fulfil their needs.
This will require:
- Population and Consumption Controls to reduce demand for resources
- Sustainable Resource Extraction
- Substitution of Non-renewable Natural Resources with Synthetics and Renewables
- Improvement of Production Efficiency
- Greater use of Public Transport
- Rain Water Harvesting and Responsible Use of Water
- Organic Farming and Revival of Traditional Practices
- Scientific Afforestation and Checking Deforestation
- Scientific Treatment of Sewage and Industrial Effluents before discharge
Planet Earth belongs to us all. We are all responsible for this mess. Passing the buck won’t help. We need to get our act together even if it means stepping out of our comfort zones. Remember, in nature there are no rewards or punishments, only consequences.