The environmental crisis is gradually becoming the canary in the mineshaft of the modern community. Many centuries ago, miners checked the quality of mines by lowering caged canaries into mineshafts. If these birds came back alive, the miners would conclude the mines didn’t contain toxic gases. If the canaries came back dead, the miners would avoid the mines – because they were not safe.
Today, the environmental crisis appears to be playing the same role for the modern society. For instance, animals and plants are becoming extinct and the water is becoming increasingly polluted. Oceans’ fisheries are declining and the ‘fresh air’ we breathe is becoming smog. Besides, industrial processes continue to release toxins into the atmosphere, land, and water. These toxins alter the environmental processes so severely that the natural reproduction capability of living organisms (including humankind) is negatively impacted.
All these events point towards a reality that we should face; the generativity of planet earth and nearly all the social structures dependent upon this planet are in peril. The earth is reacting to human activities through the environmental crisis. It is warning us or probably beseeching everyone to respond appropriately.
The question is…
The most important question raised by environmental problems is not whether global warming and overall climate are happening. It is no longer about whether farmlands, fisheries, and forests can sustain the ever-increasing level of exploitation. And it is no longer whether the air we breathe or water we use is polluted. The essential question is, ‘to what extent our home (earth) will remain strong enough to sustain the modern society we have come to know?’
Generally, environmental problems are a long-term threat to planet earth’s wellbeing. Technology has performed excellently in exploiting natural resources to the point that humankind is rapidly using up renewable and non-renewable resources. Similarly, the toxic by-products of consumer lifestyles and production processes are being produced more rapidly than the earth can safely absorb.
The effect is so pervasive that there is no single ecosystem on earth is free from the impact of human activities. For instance, the toxic emissions from industries have been detected in samples of ice taken from deep in the Arctic. Industrialization, agriculture, and other human activities have altered the ‘chemistry of earth.’ This is the main reason we are facing issues like ozone depletion, the growth of deserts, climate change, and more.
And what’s the answer?
The only answer to the deepening environmental problem is a sustainable and mutually beneficial human-earth relationship. We need to put aside individualism and consider ourselves connected to earth intimately. This is a challenge at the deepest level because political leaders, environmental experts, policy makers, policy analysts, and other experts in different aspects must work together!
To save our home (earth), sustainability must take precedence over consumption.
Do you agree? Please share your thoughts.