WE ONLY HAVE ONE EARTH: MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES TODAY FOR TOMORROW
“Little one, it’s a simple calculus. This Universe is finite, its resources finite. If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist. It needs correcting.” -Thanos
The stats are alarming. Our Earth is literally crying and sending us distress signals every single day to make the right choices now and salvage what is left. Each year, 55 Billion (55,000,000,000) tons of fossil energy, minerals, metals and bio mass are taken from the Earth. The Earth keeps giving to sustain us and humans keep taking without remorse or care for the Earth’s health. At the current rate of deforestation, 5-10% of tropical forest species will become extinct every decade. To bring this disheartening stat into further focus, every hour (the amount of time it took me to write this essay), 1692 acres of productive dry land becomes desert.
The message is clear. We need to start getting our choices right. As Margaret Mead said;
“We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.”
The simplest step to save our tomorrow is investing in our Earth’s health by planting trees. Trees save the earth from erosion and take excess Carbon dioxide to give us fresh air to breathe. Planting a tree today, is a direct investment into the future as the trees standing today were planted long ago.
Apart from planting trees, presently we can work actively to reduce our Carbon Print. The Earth’s average carbon print is 4 tons and this tells heavily on our Earth. We need to find alternatives to fossil fuel as this is the major cause of carbon emissions that deplete the Ozone layer. These fossil fuels (Crude Oil being the major one here) affect the environment in various means. Indiscriminate gas flaring depletes the Ozone layer. Also, oil spillage in oil producing areas is a menace. The Niger Delta can tell the tales of the loss of Aquatic life, loss of plant life and death of soil microorganisms alongside the destruction of drinking water which the Earth takes a long while to recover from even if it recovers at all.
As an alternative to fossil fuels, and in a bid to further reduce the carbon print, diversifications should be made to the use of electric vehicles to greatly reduce carbon emissions. Affordable electric vehicles would do our Earth a great good by reducing the harmful effects of fossil fuels.
“You may think this is suffering, but this is salvation” – Thanos.
The government has a huge part to play in this. Each nation’s Ministry of Environment should make strategic partnerships with other government ministries and parastatals. A partnership of the Ministry of Environment and Science and Technological related ministries would help to push fossil fuel alternatives into government legislations. The Ministry of Information also has a huge part to play in sensitizing the populace about the evils of environmental degradation through our everyday activities. These include dumping of refuse in water ways, open defecation, deforestation among others.
The government should also set up or revamp the Environmental Task Force to see to the environment’s health. The Environmental Task Force would be responsible for daily tree planting exercises, monitoring environmental breaches and prosecution of environmental offenders.
Corporate bodies also have a part to play in saving our Earth. They should make use of the Three Rs:
Companies that depend on raw materials; plastic producing alongside leather and textile producing industries among others should prioritize recycling and reusing their products. A customer Recycle Reward Program would encourage their users to collect their products and drop them off to recycle them and ease the burden off the Earth. Environmental rehabilitation is also a huge part of Corporate Social Responsibility. Regular tree planting exercises and sensitization should be done to save our Earth. This is not a job for the government alone.
Influential members of the society also have a part to play in helping us make the right choices. These include public figures like politicians, movie stars, music stars, religious leaders and business owners. They can launch or identify with Pro-Environment campaigns to bring public attention to Earth issues through their platforms and influence. Music and Movie stars can organize concerts, meet and greets and fundraising campaigns to encourage the public to “Go Green”. Politicians can make environmental rehabilitation an actionable part of their political agenda to execute in office. Religious Leaders can make it a point to bring their congregation’s notice to the bleeding Earth which is the home of the Creator’s creations.
Individually, as humans and World Citizens, we have responsibilities toward our environment to protect our own lives and living. In three steps, we can save our Earth. They are:
This simply means we should plant new trees – Seeding. We should protect existing trees, wildlife, and environmental resources – Securing. And inform others in to protect and save the Earth – Sensitization.
We should not forget that:
“The hardest choices require the strongest wills.”
N.B: All quotes tagged as Thanos are from the Avengers movie “Infinity War” and “End Game”. The two movies have great references to environmental sustainability and detail the effect of overpopulation and human activities on the Earth as underlying themes.