Establishing resilient systems for universal growth
By Amos Wemanya. From the Business Daily Tue 21 Apr 2020.
The numerous challenges the world is facing today are intricately linked to and derived from increasing ecological perversion. This ranges from pollution, climate change, to over-extraction of resources.
In humanity’s pursuit of economic growth, we have destroyed our life support systems. Our energy investments and consumption patterns are leading to a global climate crisis. Climate change has become more than obvious in recent years.
The rise in global temperature has led to extreme weather events, frequent storms, melting glaciers, and sea-level rise. Scientists warn that we may be headed for a dramatic climate crisis.
Our food production models are polluting our rivers, soils and destroying our forests. Human led land pollution and desertification as a result of the decrease in vegetation is making our planet unsuitable for human survival.
Human relaxation in preserving nature is leading to the degradation of important resources. improper soil use, haphazard waste disposal, large-scale deforestation and such human activities harmful to nature are on the rise.
Human activities such as increased levels of industrial development are destroying our natural resources. Our greed for more has left us empty-handed in terms of natural treasures in several parts of the world.
Several other human activities, such as mining, agriculture, and overfishing have resulted in far-reaching degradation of our natural treasures. While mining and agriculture have triggered large-scale deforestation, overfishing has resulted in the reduction of the population of marine creatures.
If the trends continue, we are bound to exhaust those natural treasures on which we are dependent on. Human activities have caused loss of livelihoods, social connectivity and culture, loss of habitats for many organisms, and the emergence of diseases.
As a result of activities such as indiscriminate use of agro-chemicals, overharvesting of plants and animals and logging, many plants and animal species have been disappearing at an unprecedented rate.
Extinction of a single species of plant or animal results in a dramatic imbalance in the ecosystem. Studies indicate that over the last century, several plants and animal species have become extinct thus resulting in a major loss for the biodiversity of the planet.
We have disrupted nature’s balance – and we are paying the price with our lives and livelihoods. The environment has been very benevolent to humans through its services. However, humanity has abused this privilege.
Considering the current crisis of a pandemic that the world is crippling with, this may not be the time to bemoan our undoing. Focusing on responding effectively to these challenges to avoid further crises will require systematic thinking.
Humanity has to admit how interconnected the Earth system is. Recognizing that these challenges are of a global scale but have localised impacts, there is a need for concerted responses on the part of the international community.
Unless effective global actions are taken early, we will end up plundering our children’s heritage and future.
Global actions will require deliberate long-term investments in policies, plans and projects that safeguard the environment while providing for humanity’s needs.
Learning from the past mistakes and admitting that ecological systems affect our well-being will be the first step to effectively respond to the chaos that we are faced with.
Scientists have clearly communicated the importance of biodiversity and environmental health in our daily lives; from providing viable food production systems, nurturing our cultural and spiritual wellbeing, regulating climate to preventing emergence and spread of diseases.
Policy and decision makers at a global scale while acknowledging contextual differences among nations will need to shift from investing in efforts that solely lead to economic growth to focusing on well-being.
This needs to be reflected in the energy plans; switching from fossil fuels to renewable technologies, food systems. Shifting from heavy industrial agriculture to futuristic ecological farming, and changing our consumption patterns.
There is a need for collaboration across scales sharing resources, information and commitments to act urgently and building resilience for our universal well-being.
Amos Wemanya, Greenpeace Africa campaigner