How Do Most People View The Environment?
Many people describe the environment as the surroundings of living beings. This forms a wonderful approach to understanding this giant whose protection in the 21st century has been posed as key to human survival. Scholars and scientists pose the question around what its key constituents are and how they are linked to survival of the human race?
Currently, global leaders and opinion shapers are discussing issues like global warming, climate change, population explosion, pollution, food shortage and diseases and the list can continue until the end of time,, How are these things connected to the environment?
The environment has a myriad of components, e.g. the living and nonliving aspects, social relationships, economics, sanitation and energy flows. These components relate to one another and their imbalance is associated with unhealthy state of the general ecosystem.
Components Of The Environment And Their Significance
- Living components; These are basic components of the environment. The earth is the life supporting part of the environment. Soils support plant life and provides a home to living organisms. Minor imbalances in the earths constituent affect plant life that supports food production. Some of the issues that can create the imbalance include extreme weather conditions, disposal of wastes, loss of nutrients among other issues.
- Nonliving components; these are majorly the food producers in the environment. They are the granary to life, hence making the earth habitable. Secondly, they are the pollution absorbers, especially in regards to gaseous wastes like oxides of carbon. Imagine yourself in a world with no plants and animals? Apart from food productions, imagine if the whole world as bare soil with no grass or trees? Visualize dust and sun heat? Imagine water bodies with no wetlands as buffers to nutrient loading?
- Social relationships; society never emphasize the human relationships as a significant part of the environment. Ask people in war torn Juba or Alepo, then they will explain to you the significance of this component of the environment in ensuring healthy populations. This component is associated with growth an development in the society. Issues like racial discrimination, differences in religious beliefs have been assumed as non significant environment. We all need to sit back and understand the historical extremism and injustices associated with these issues. Social relationships can develop people as a single unit or break them to unimaginable extents. Reflect upon the case of apartheid in South Africa and tribal genocide in Rwanda, these emphasize why this component of the environment requires reflection upon.
- Economics; A jobless, poor and unschooled young man or woman living next to Masai Mara national park has a lot of resources at hand. His main problem may be a regular source of income. He has a family to feed, but because of climate change the numbers have dwindled significantly. His father taught him that he has to protect the elephants in the park, his father was taught by his father and his father was taught by his grandfather and the line continues up the family chain. The young “ero” lives by these life lessons despite his economic burdens he won’t attack wild animals for economic gains. Then here comes me “king strategist” with knowledge of the potential market for the tusks and a promise to make the warrior a millionaire provided he supplies me with the “elephant gold”. The man is faced with a need for money and an opportunity to make money through degradation. At this rate the environment will be neglected and economic options given a priority, hence sustained extraction of the available resources. There is a need to factor economics if the environment is to be protected and resources harvested in a sustainable way.
- Sanitation; diseases don’t come from vacuums. Disposal of human excreta, wastes, wastewater and supply of clean water has direct association with an outbreak of diseases. Human handling of sanitation services, reducing pollution and using appropriate technologies is a key disease prevention strategy. Why do people in disaster areas with poor water and sanitation services experience diseases. Remember cholera outbreaks in Haiti during the earthquake? People must have a disaster preparedness to handle such emergencies. Low income settlements with poor water and sewerage coverage always experience disease outbreaks, this can be prevented by providing appropriate resources.
- Energy cycles; little attention or almost zero emphasis is placed environmental resources like sunlight, rainfall patterns, winds. If the world was dark for 24 hours for one week continued, how would people survive. We have experienced continuous droughts for maybe a month, the results such as low food production, death of animals and people have shown us the significance of rain. Floods associated with continuous heavy rains present worse intermittent and continuous disasters. Currently the biggest threat to the human race is an environmental issue “climate change”. The disadvantages are almost endless from spreading of diseases to loss of life forms and low food production, the list is endless. All these affect human life and if the mitigation are not urgent and sustainable, then probably man is facing extinction. It sounds extreme but what if we do not act on the issues here?
The environment is life and survival of the human race is leaning upon protection of this resource. It has always been said that the earth doesn’t need us, we need it. When you die, the earth will remain therefore, it is a resource we have to protect for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. When we carry massive deforestation, uncontrolled mining, give birth to a football team, over-consume, drive fuel guzzlers and old imported cars…….. then we forget that we need to live for the next generation. As we complain bout climate change, increase in diseases, pollution, violence, joblessness and reduction in food supplies, ,,,,, what is your input on all these?