The Earth is a planet with limited resources. Resources which we are plundering through at an alarming rate. I recently read about Brazil bolstering up its Defence spending because it feels insecure being a mineral rich nation. The quote from a member of the Ministry of Defence really caught my imagination. Here's what this worried man said on condition of anonymity.
"In the coming era of scarcity, we're going to have to defend what we've got with our claws, our feet and our weapons"
The really disturbing part is that it may just be true. The way we have changed the climate is undeniable. Still look at how we continue to refuse any responsibility for our actions, Copenhagen Disaster being one point in mind. How are we ever going to leave a flourishing planet behind for future generations. Already the fauna and flora of many countries is threatened.
"We shall never understand the natural environment until we see it as a living organism. Land can be healthy or sick, fertile or barren, rich or poor, lovingly nurtured or bled white. Our present attitudes and laws governing the ownership and use of land represent an abuse of the concept of private property. Today you can murder land for private profit. You can leave the corpse for all to see and nobody calls the cops." - Paul Brooks, The Pursuit of Wilderness (1971)
Every doomsday prophet will be proved correct as we bring ruin upon our
planet in as yet unforeseen ways. But is all lost? Is there nothing
that we can do to remedy the situation. For many species it truly is
too late to survive, but not for all. Even today there is hope. There are many organizations which are working hard to reduce the ill effects of the collective behavior of mankind on the planet.
"We have not inherited the earth from our ancestors, we have only borrowed it from our children. "
This Ancient Indian Proverb brings to mind the fact that if we do not mend our ways our children will suffer. So as with Charity, Conservation too must begin at home. If you can educate your child to be a responsible denizen of the planet, you may just give future generations a shot at saving the natural environment. Naturally you must teach not by lectures, but lead by example. Here are the basic steps to healing the environment.
We tend to waste a lot of resources just because they are easily available to us. Take running tap water for instance. How many times have we left the tap running while we brush our teeth. (This is something that I am personally guilty of many times over.) Over a period of a week the water that you have wasted would be enough to take a bath.
Compare this excessive waste of water by us to a village in Africa in the Sahara Desert. People here have no running water. They have to walk to the well and draw the water for their use. During the summer the well water is inadequate for the whole village. So only essential chores are done. The water is saved for drinking or else they will die of thirst.
In the light of this situation, is it too much to ask that you reduce your use of the resource? Clean Drinking Water should be a right to children world wide yet there are people dying for the lack of water. Or getting sick because of water borne diseases since they do not have access to purified water.
The use and throw policy which we follow needs to be reexamined. For instance newspapers are only good to us for one day. Then the news is old and we chuck it away in the dustbin. Have you any idea about the number of trees that were cut to make enough pages for that one newspaper? Wouldn't it be nice if you reused that newspaper.
By making use of the newspaper to wrap gifts rather than using gift wrapping paper you will again make a difference. For those who think you are too cheap to spring for gift wrapping paper, use cloth. A scarf is a great wrapping material for a medium sized gift. Plus it will be an additional gift for the recipient to reuse.
There are many things which are still good for use despite being used once. By reusing these things you are saving money and the environment. Do you know that even the leaves in your garden can be reused to make compost? The next time you rake them up, don't burn them. Instead give a call to your local farmer to come and take it all away. Believe me he will be happy to do so. So take a pledge to reuse what ever you can.
This is the easiest of the three "R"s. The government has made it easier for us to recycle material such as bottles or cans. All we have to do is be a bit more proactive about how we dispose of our thrash. Unfortunately merely taking care of thrash at home is no longer enough to make a real difference. That is where your help as a recycling volunteer can come in really handy.
In the workplace there are a number of small things that you can do. For instance don't print each email that comes your way. You will save paper, ink and printer life. Then recycle the pages that you have printed by cutting and binding the unused sides into small note pads. These can be used to scribble down memos and notes to co workers. Make your office eco friendly and save resources and money.
There are many things that can be recycled including but not limited to automobile parts, batteries, computer equipment, metals, rubber, glass, clothes, paper, plastic, and wood. By recycling these products you are reducing the exploitation of minerals and resources in the raw. The energy needed to recycle is usually less than the energy needed to manufacture from scratch.
That means that a part of the planet is left untouched. And by reducing, reusing and recycling we are giving our planet a fighting chance to be there for our children and grandchildren.
"Only when the last tree has been cut down, and the last river has been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught, will we realize that we cannot eat money." - Cree Indian proverb.