By Annette J Beveridge
The natural world is suffering and every species on this planet is at risk including us. There are solutions to help heal our fractured planet but to do so, we must take a multi-pronged approach. These are often complex situations and we need to respond with clarity, looking at the core issues rather than being swayed by financial gain.
41% of species have declined since 1970, according to a recent State of Nature report. This is staggering. But it does not end there, other species are still at risk, and approximately, one in seven species could be lost. As nature is intricate, this loss could be costly.
Let’s take a look at just some of the threats to the natural world.
We should all know by now that we are in a climate emergency. It is our current practices that impact the natural world on a negative level. We chop down trees without even thinking about the impact. We poison rivers and oceans, and we use pesticides without due consideration. We are in the process of destroying this planet and our ignorance is sending us hurtling to the no return point. If we want to save this planet, we must do a lot to help nature thrive once more.
Climate change is about more than shifting weather systems. It will impact every part of life. To ignore the warning signs is to sleepwalk into a crisis like none other. If we can restore nature – protecting peatlands, and restoring our woodlands, with a focus on rewilding the landscape, we can help nature to absorb harmful carbon emissions. A healthy natural habitat will protect us from air pollution, rising temperatures, flooding, soil depletion and coastal erosion. We can protect our pollinators too because without them, we will have no crops. We cannot solve the climate crisis if we do not restore the natural world. It is that simple.
Intensive farming is designed to maximise the yield from land available and it enables mass quantities of food. The downside to farming so intensively is serious. It brings about the destruction of the natural environment – hedgerows, trees and meadows. It also damages the soil. Intensive farming leads to poor living conditions for livestock.
Multiple pesticides, insecticides, and chemical fertilisers are used and fruit and vegetables are covered with these chemicals which although invisible to us, enable a serious problem to health. Heavy use of chemicals/pesticides impact insects which will reduce the ability to pollinate but also affect the health of the animals that eat them.
To fix these problems, we must go back to the drawing board as to how we farm.
Plastic is everywhere. We see so much debris in our oceans, and rivers, and it chokes the life from sea birds and marine animals. Most plastic products are made from tiny plastic pellets and it is so easy for these to wash down our drains and to end up in the ocean or polluting rivers. Wildlife often mistake these pellets as food.
Sadly, plastic which is cheap and disposable has become a part of everyday life. Here in the UK, we produce more plastic waste than most other countries. That’s a horrifying thought. Much of it makes its way abroad and ends up in countries that cannot dispose of it in the right way. Every minute of the day, the equivalent of a truckload of plastic makes its way to the ocean. Some animals starve to death because they are unable to feed.
As individuals, we can try to avoid buying products made from plastic or, wrapped profusely in it. We can contact manufacturers calling on them to alter the way they produce or package products. Every business and government has a responsibility to stop this surge of plastic that is wholly damaging to the environment. Public outcry will enable change. We cannot afford to remain quiet.
We are the caretakers of this planet and we are doing a terrible job. The truth is that we may not be able to adapt quickly enough to resolve many of the negative elements and this is likely to be costly in terms of lives – ours and the lives of animals. We must still try to overturn our destructive practices and we do have the solutions. The difficulty is getting governments, businesses, and manufacturers to do their bit and to do it quickly.
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