Earth is a beauty. It is the only planet we know of that contains such a vast variety of life, with water, oxygen, land that we can reap crops from, suitable temperatures for life with a moon that keeps us from getting closer to Jupiter or the sun. To those who have travelled, you will know how different our landscapes can be- we are blessed with tropical rainforests, savannahs full of life, stretching forests, incredible mountainous areas and fantastic beaches where we can stare at rolling oceans, which too are full of life.
The biggest threat to all of this beauty are, ironically, the only beings able to truly appreciate it- humans. Our numbers increase by 353,000 every day (as estimated by UNICEF) and each of those people require food, space, water and materialistic items. Each baby, born into a first world country, has got through 4,000 disposable nappies by the time they are potty trained which causes the production of half a tonne of carbon dioxide. Our growing population is placing incredible strain on our planet, as we destroy natural forests for agriculture, as our obsessive plastic production gets into the sea and poisons our fish as our lives become more and more materialistic. The food demand- particularly the meat trade, has a devastating impact on our forests, our quality and global warming. Across the world 37% of methane production is caused by factory farms which acts as a potent greenhouse gas, trapping more heat year by year and raising our global temperature. Agriculture causes 80% of tropical deforestation, stealing away homes and habitats so we can grow food animals instead. Over 56 billion farm animals are slaughtered for food every year and every one of these has to have space and be fed, both which require land clearance and destruction of natural habitats.
Some, hopefully most, individuals recognise that climate change is happening and that we are not living sustainably. We can see it around us. We see our weather becoming more erratic, we see pictures of orang-utans clinging to tree stumps in the demolished space that was once a forest, we see pictures of dead whales full of plastic, we then consume fish containing plastic particles which can become carcinogenic in our body systems. It all needs to stop, our pace of life needs to slow down if we are to give the planet a chance. Of course, there are a few options of what we can do in the face of this unwelcome information. Our first option is to bury our heads in the sand- at least we can enjoy our lives fully and allow the next generation to face our irreversible damage. Our second option is to hope that someone will find us another planet which we can move to, rather than face up to what we have done to our incredible planet. Our third option, which is the only one which is responsible and will help, is to acknowledge these dreadful sights we see and to cater our lives around doing the least damage possible.
As individuals we can cut down our carbon emissions, by cutting back, or out on meat and dairy. We can help by using public transport, or carpooling where possible. We can help by eating locally sourced food, by growing our own vegetable patches. We can help by reducing our water usage, purchasing clothing and materialistic items from responsible sources. We need to advocate sustainable energy where possible. We need to recycle everything we can, including old phones and batteries. We can create compost heaps in our back gardens, get everyone to plant a tree, do five minute beach clean ups where we collect all the rubbish we find on beaches. All of this helps. But we all need to consider our actions if we are able to continue enjoying the wonderful home we have been given to enjoy. We are not the only species on this Earth, so we need to stop acting like we are. We need to take care of the people we do have.
We just need to remember we are a lonely planet. It will most likely to be impossible to find a planet we can all move to. There is no Plan B and we are not the last generation who will need a home here.