Thursday, June 16, 2016

Report: Impact of our action on the environment

A giant armed galaxy called the milky way whiz through the void of space at 220 km/s (kilometer / second). Each arm of the galaxy is formed of millions perhaps billions of stars. Zooming in closer we can see a cluster of rocky bodies orbiting a yellow dwarf star call the Sun. Looking from a distance, one planet stands out, with its dark blue seas dotted with green blobs of land. What makes this third planet from the Sun unique is the abundance of life, from the tiny bacteria to the giant whales swimming around in the sea. However, one species have evolved to harness the resources of the earth and have the power to cause the destruction of the planet. The name of this species? Homo sapiens or the common human being. Humans have colonized almost every landmass on earth, utilizing our amazing intellect to shape the environment to our needs. However, whether by ignorance or a feeling of grandeur we seem to ignore the negative effects of our action on the environment. We forget that we only have one planet we can call home and our fates are tied to its well-being. The sustainability award opened my eyes to the consequence of human actions on the environment.

One of the activity we have to do as part of the sustainability award is to watch the documentary Home serves as a poignant reminder of what could happen if we continue down the current vice of reckless resource use.  Poor environment laws had led to the loss of rainforests worldwide.  The picture below shows the border between Brazil and Bolivia.

The stark contrast between this borders shows the effect of the difference of environmental laws between the two countries. Bolivia, which has stricter environmental laws, still has a luscious green rainforest, while on the Brazilian side, the same forest had been chopped down for cattle breeding.

Another example that showcases the importance of caring for nature would be the Rapanui civilization, or rather their downfall.  In the documentary, the downfall of the Rapanui civilization on Easter island was pinned on poor resource management and overpopulation.  Like us, the people of Rapanui were innovative farmers, sculptors, and exceptional navigators.  They have built a successful civilization that thrived for centuries.  However, the civilization suffered overpopulation, and coupled with their poor resource management, hastened their downfall.  The picture to the right shows the effect of their destruction.

However, we don’t need to venture far to see the effects of human destructions.  During the beach clean we found bagfuls of man-made waste littering the beach in front of the Swansea University Bay Campus.  Granted that most of these wastes may be flotsam and jetsam washed ashore, they are just as harmful to the environment.  In addition, during the clean, we found a creepy doll arm.

Unless we make changes to our lifestyle and reduce our footprint on the environment, we’re heading down the path that would lead to our destruction.  One simple way to do this is to recycle as much as possible.  Recycling reduces the need to obtain new resources and ripping out the earth doing that.  The Rapanui civilization on Easter island serves as a warning of what would happen if we continue our destructive ways.  As the ancient American Indian proverb says, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”