Talk from ecologists, conservationists, climate scientists, environmentalists and experts of other such related fields seem to have been towing the same line increasingly over the past decade.
All these experts are holding placards with one clear message running through we need to act swiftly to save the environment for our own sake and for posterity.
By telling evidence all around us of our ailing environment, no voice added to the global chant for better protection of our environment and sustainable development is considered ‘too much’.
If anything we welcome more voices, today most importantly, to chime into this fight for our very lives as we mark World Environment Day.
The major drivers of biodiversity loss are anthropogenic (induced by human activities).
Deforestation, illicit poaching, wildlife trafficking are the primary causes of biodiversity loss. Rapid urbanization worldwide, population growth spikes, and climate change are also significant contributors to biodiversity loss.
These problems are primarily human inflicted and are seemingly abstract to the average person because of two main things: the lack of appreciation of the intertwined nature of life on earth and the absence of a sense of responsibility to the environment.
The disinterest and disregard for environmental issues emanate from our inability to fully grasp the chain reactions our actions and inactions set in motion in the environment.
Forests makeup 31% of the total landmass and are home to over 80% of terrestrial biodiversity. Deforestation not only destroys the natural habitats of species but also affects the global water cycle and the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere leading to global warming.
Global warming increases the incidence of droughts and floods which affects crop yield and the source of livelihood for many families. Floods destroy property, threaten precious human lives, and may result in many persons being internally displaced.
Droughts can lead to famines and cause food insecurity for millions of people, especially in the most vulnerable parts of the world. The loss of viable lands due to deforestation takes away the means of living of families.
High unemployment rates are linked to high crime rates and psychological problems such as depression, suicide, and stress and anxiety-related health problems.
There have also been notable instances in world history where high unemployment rates caused political uprisings. Also, both traditional and modern medicine face direct risks in the field of biomedical research if more and more plants face extinction.
Many people are of the opinion that the environment is the government’s business and not theirs to mind. This is why people will clean their homes and dump the rubbish indiscriminately outside.
Why nobody seems to be concerned about where our waste ends up. Or for instance, care about the irresponsible use of synthetic fertilizers for farming, or about the imminent threat to the Atewa forest’s biodiversity to make way for mining and exploration.
So far as they still have access to food and are able to go about their lives the way they have always known, then it is assumed that all is well.
This is the mindset that has kept us at a standstill for years, and it has to be completely eradicated.
If we do not begin to nurture some concern and love for the environment, we will be completely taken aback by the turn of events. It is with this love that we can truly take actions in our own little ways, and more importantly, drive policy and demand changes at the governmental and institutional levels.
In the absence of forward-thinking policies and sustainable actions, we risk being caught off guard when things as we know it begins to change for the worse.
Life on earth is like a play and all living and nonliving things have their roles till the curtains are drawn. Even if we seem to be the star actors in this production, it would not have been possible without all the other actors and props doing their part.
For what is a King without his majestic palace and a breathtakingly beautiful golden crown? All that we hope and dream for is in futility if the operating system is in peril and the novel coronavirus has taught us that much.
We seem to have forgotten our lines, but luckily for us, the curtains have not been drawn yet.
Biodiversity loss spells doom we may never fully recover from and the time to act was yesterday.
Human beings are just a small part of this complex and interlaced life on earth and need to start living up to the name ‘superior beings’ and take our roles more seriously.
The panacea to the biodiversity crisis will not be simple but it is definitely attainable. It will require a synergy in the actions of organizations, nations, and individuals to develop more sustainable ways of living to ensure the maintenance of the integrity of biodiversity.