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The Environment: our Part to Play

We’ve grown up in a constantly changing world. Whether it’s climate change altering the world, or something smaller, like the changes we may all face growing up, change is a constant that many of us have grown accustomed to. And, whilst change can be a good thing, the change we’ve witnessed in the last two to three decades in environments worldwide has been largely devastating. For communities, for diversity, for wildlife across the globe. But in our day-to-day lives we may hardly see this change at all. We hear about environmental policies, and we feel the change in temperatures, but the change in the local environments is probably not something we consider often.


But what can we do to combat this constantly declining environmental situation with so many causes and variables that seem so far out of our control? And why do we face the responsibility as individuals? Why are we not seeing systematic changes in government, in society, in agriculture and consumerism, in the way we develop our nations or our transport? Why is it that we are told it is all our fault and that we have to make the change, defy the odds, when the majority of the catastrophe we are seeing is being brought about by a handful of individuals and companies?

Whether through food and agriculture, transportation methods, or consumerism, we can still bring about change. If we saw changes throughout society it would force those with the largest responsibility to change their own values and methods too. And whilst I truly believe we would see the most change if those in charge were to bring about rapid policy changes and legislation to push back against the changes we’re seeing in our environment, I don’t think we should act like we don’t have our own individual responsibility too. 


Whether we change our consumerist tendencies, advocate for policy change, or simply recycle more, there is so much we can do to help protect our world and people across the globe who are suffering from the drastic changes in the environment. 


Even nature plays its own part in saving itself, with 54% of man-made carbon dioxide emissions absorbed by a variety of ecosystems across the globe. 31% of all man-made emissions are removed by land-based ecosystems, such as forests, grasslands, wetlands, and permafrost. The other 23% has been taken up by oceanic ecosystems, whether that’s coastal vegetation, marine creatures, ocean sediments, or dissolution into oceanic waters. Our own world is working with us. We need to start fighting too. 


We can combat the changes our predecessors have brought about by working with nature rather than against it. Through the development of coastal mangrove forests, or more sustainable land management, and altering the future of food and agriculture, we have plenty of resources to change the trajectory nature is facing. 


Coastal mangroves are a haven for biodiversity, already sheltering up to 341 threatened species across the world. They also sequester carbon, protecting us further against the impact of climate change, filtering our water systems and working in tandem with other ecosystems to help our planet thrive.


Sustainable land management would benefit several societal challengers, be it climate mitigation and resilience, sustainable and secure food systems, or biodiversity conservation. Taking the pressure off the land gives the land time to heal and become healthy in the long term. Through forest and ecosystem restoration, integrated water management, agricultural diversification, diet shifts, and a reduction in food loss and waste, more sustainable practices not only help reduce our current impact but help rescue our planet too. 


Changing our food and agricultural practices would give us the ability to support the ever-increasing population whilst also championing the health of our world. Addressing the way we over farm and over use our natural resources would help us to reduce our impact on the world and its ecosystems. 


These examples are just that, different ways the world could change for the better. It’s going to take a lot, and it should be an everlasting commitment to the environment and our world – not just a timepiece that works in the short run. We have to commit to change, to helping one another and the world, to seeing change happen – not just asking for it to. We now need to fight for it, so that there’s something left for others to fight for in the future. 


We can do a lot to help. Whilst the big problems require more than any one individual can give, collective effort change would be the first step in securing a future where we can still see the nature to which we all hold dear.


By Teigan A (she/her)

 


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