The creation by man of his own world, in his own image, within the world of nature is found in Antiquity (Simmons, 1993). Right from the very recorded times, humans have realized that the planet did not provide an ideal habitat for them.
Why? You may wonder. From the Christian religious perspective, I think it may be due to the fall of human from the Garden of Eden (the ideal world) to “outside the garden” the undead world. Well this is just an aside.
You will realise that within the earth some parts are too wet, others too dry, too mountainous or too heavily forested for easy access to a livelihood. Part of these features could not be altered, but others could be modified.
For instance, swamps could be drained, forest replaced by agricultural lands, and predators upon cattle, killed.
In Western Christendom, says Simmons (1993) this could, for instance, be presented as holy work: that is, either as refining a creation which was incomplete or as trying to return it to an Edenic state, because wastes and fearsome forest were tangible evidence of the fall.
Each human demands some inputs for survival, growth and reproduction. A full grown adult for instance, requires a daily metabolic needs of about 2500kca1 (men) and 2000 kcal (women) of energy, 60g of protein, several vitamins e.g. B-complex, C,. D and others, and 2 liters of water.
These, together with some other basic human requirements (such as shelter, clothing and access to services such as medicine) call for materials which are garnered from the lithosphere and biosphere.
When these and other resources have been used, any wastes are led off back into water, land and the atmosphere. In general you may wish to agree with the fact that humans, “milk” or extract material resources from their environment.
The Environment, (which we may also refer to as natural as used in some text and a synonym we can use here) to human implies or can be regarded as a set of resources for human use. For the modern human apparently, if I may conclude it in this fashion, it (nature) has no more benefit than that.
In the process of exploiting nature, when there are difficulties then we look up to science and technology to provide a way out. Why not change human behaviour and give a breathing space to nature.
For instance, why not change human behaviour of destroying wetlands because it is a matter of social class to construct a home near a wetland, river or sea.
Human have continued to reject therefore, the suggestion of nature which says limit your negative attitude and activities towards the environment. Rather than listening to this voice of nature we prefer that of human ego which says we must have control over nature.
Simmons (1993) beautifully expressed my idea of human ego over nature “as being instrumental, since no-human nature is viewed as an instrument” particularly aimed at gratifying human’s selfish purposes. Selfish because very often we are totally inconsiderate of other organisms within the environment.
Conclusively, human must realise that our environment – mother earth has limits. There are limits to growth: that somewhere there must be physical limits to the quantity of resources that can be produced, the amount of wastes that can be absorbed by environmental systems, and hence there are limits to the number of humans that the planet can support. This perception is tagged environmentalism.
What the previous section has done is to trace human as the one responsible for the environment resource problem.
This section will however, point out some of the key causes or factors that human have contributed either directly or indirectly to environmental resource problems.
Environmentalist have tried to outline these root causes to include the following:
Population explosion around the world
Poverty which has made poor people to rapidly deplete potential renewable resources, unattainably and expose them to health hazards
Political and economic failure to stimulate environmentally friendly policies, actions and development.
Parts of the earth’s life support system are being simplified and degraded. Thus rendering them potentially low
Pollution and waste are on then increase, coupled with rapid and wasteful use of resources without adequate preventive measures
Pursuit to dominate, control and manage nature for human desires without adequate knowledge of complex interconnectivity of activities in nature.
Modern science and technology have been human latest instruments. That is why nature reacts without our ability to control or predict its reaction as a result of some alternations in nature due to human activity.
Example is the use of chlorofluorocarbon (EFC) which has been in use since the 1940s and 1950s. It has been linked to the destruction of the ozone layer which protects life on earth from dangerous ultra-violet radiation. For decades this problem has being there, and we are still battling with its consequences.
In conclusion, humans are at the root of the current environmental problems the world is passing thoroughly. This is a fact we are all aware of but we now find it difficult to believe that the consequences of our negative attitude and actions towards the environment are threatening our survival today.
For instance, there are people today even, in learned societies like the United States of America, who would not agree that global warming is a consequence of human negative activities on the environment. Their disagreement is not because they are non-literate but a matter of conviction, perhaps politics or economic reasons.
Except we begin to have a rethink and reshape our activities that are anti–environmentalism, nature will react perhaps not just against you and I but against our innocent grandchildren who never had a bit of Adam apple “that led to the consequences of son” against the environment.
The “wages of sin” the Bible says “is death” – “death” perhaps not for the guilty but his grandchildren and beyond. Remember nature will always win no matter how long.