“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Have you ever wondered what environmental science is and how it relates to the study of the natural environment? And, can the study of the environment lead to ensure that the negative impacts of climate change do not destroy the world we live in?
There are many reasons why the world is in its current state. There are global geopolitical conflicts, socio-economic challenges, and health epidemics such as the latest Coronavirus outbreak. Arising out of these challenges, the questions that beg are:
- What percentage of the geopolitical conflicts, socio-economic problems, and the COVID-19 epidemic can be directly, and indirectly, attributed to the negatives of climate change?
- And, can we help Mother Nature fight the adverse effects of climate change; thereby, reducing the number of global conflicts, economic challenges, and health epidemics?
Let’s start by looking at a concise definition of environmental science. Once we understand this concept, then we can consider possible answers to the two questions mentioned above.
Environmental science: A succinct definition
According to the environmentalscience website, environmental science is described as the “study of the effects of natural and unnatural processes, and interactions of the physical components of the planet on the environment.”
In other words, it is the scientific study of the interactions between the different physical components that make up the earth or the planet. And, what should be noted is that this definition includes humankind and their activities, constructive or destructive.
The negative impact of climate change on the world
The best way to describe this point is to look at an example that is currently taking place:
One of the world’s biggest challenges in Africa, parts of Asia, and the Middle East is the shortage of water due to drought conditions. According to the article titled, “Water Wars: Ethiopia and Kenya”, “water scarcity in East Africa is fuelling conflict and thwarting development while growing in step with local populations and rising global temperatures.”
The authors of this article, Sarah Stuteville, Alex Stonehill, Jessica Partnow, and Earnest Waititu, go onto state that even though the industrialized nations are fundamentally responsible for global warming, “its effects are being felt… in less developed regions of the world such as East Africa.”
Succinctly stated, the shortage of water is attributed to the warmer ocean temperatures which are causing extended dry seasons or even drought conditions on the plans of Eastern Kenya and Ethiopia, directly leading to tribal conflicts over the scarce water sources that are available.
Not only are their tribal conflicts over water sources, but agricultural crops cannot grow, resulting in famine conditions, leaving the local people and animals starving.
Can Mother Nature restore herself?
The last question that needs to be responded to is: “Can we help nature fight the negative effects of climate change on her own?”
One of the simplest ways of helping nature reverse the effects of global warming is to drastically and immediately reduce the global greenhouse gas levels. However, this seems to be a case of “easier said than done.” The biggest global economies like the United States of America seem to lack the political will to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions within a predetermined timeframe.
Donald Trump, the forty-fifth president of the USA, withdrew from the 2015 Paris Agreement on 1 June 2017. Essentially, his raison d’etre for this decision is that continuing to participate in the Paris Accord would cost the US $3 trillion (USD) as well as 6.5 million lost jobs. And, he ended the carbon reduction implementation targets instituted by Barak Obama. In summary, Trump has prioritized the US economy over the rest of the world and the commitment to reducing carbon emissions.
Thus, it is safe to conclude that Mother Nature cannot heal herself if we do not play our part by reducing greenhouse gasses, climate change, and global warming. The onus is on humankind to set the process into motion!