While man tries to meet the needs of people on the planet today he should do so in a way which means that the planet can go on providing for the needs of future generations.
What are we doing to nature?
It has been observed that man is not meeting the needs of present generations as evidenced by: 1.5 billion people in developing countries having no access to clean water nearly 11 million young children dying each year from preventable illnesses increasing death rates in Sub-Saharan Africa high under 5 mortality rates high rates of adult and childhood illiteracy.
Man is also not staying within the planet’s environmental limit’s so as to be able to provide for future generations. Ecological Studies have shown that given the state of the environment, and the number of people on the planet, a sustainable fair share footprint would be 1.8 global hectares per person.
The average actual footprint is 2.2 global hectares with7.3 million hectares of forest being lost without being replaced each year, and half of the world’s wetlands having disappeared during the 20th century.
Waste and inequality
One way in which we could help to get back within environmental limits, and ensure more people’s basic needs are met, is to be more efficient in how needs are met.
When resources are used wastefully, environmental damage is done, with less good done on the ‘benefit’ side of the deal. More efficient use of resources means more ‘benefit’ for less ‘damage’.
Energy, food, consumer goods, water are wasted particularly in developed countries. This waste is much less in developing Nations were poverty is rampant.
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Greenhouse gases build up in the atmosphere as a result of thousands of everyday and long-term decisions made by all of us, such as where we get our energy from and how much we use, how much we waste, what we do with our rubbish, how we get around, where we buy things from, the chemicals used to make everyday products as well as for specialist industrial use.
To help nature help us, there are some things that we can all do, at work and at home. These include:
Use energy wisely: choose energy efficient appliances and light bulbs, use manual or hand-operated alternatives, don’t leave appliances on stand-by – switch them off.
Use alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, geo-thermal, biomass, wave-tidal.
Avoid the use of ozone depleting substances ensure that all appliances especially those using ozone depleters such as CFCs are disposed of properly. Air conditioning and cooling systems, and fire-extinguishing systems, which often contain ozone- depleting substances should be disposed or maintained safely.
Use public transport, walk or cycle.
We use water for: drinking, generating energy, agriculture, harvesting fish and seafood, running machinery, carrying waste, washing, cooking, recreation, and gardening.
It is important to conserve water in terms of:
Quantity – use water more efficiently, use water wisely, and do not waste it
Quality – Reduce water pollution by avoiding disposal of sewage and solid waste in water, don’t tip paints, varnish, oil or other polluting substances down the drain
Regulate effluents from industries including agricultural industries
Regulate the use of artificial fertilizers and encourage the use of organic fertilizers.
Reduce your use of things which contribute to air pollution: drive less and keep your car well maintained. Use public transport, walk or cycle instead, avoids flying. Choose paint and other DIY products which have low levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Don’t burn garden waste and rubbish on a bonfire – recycle or compost it.
Buy food and other goods which have been produced locally -this cuts down on the amount of transport.
Food webs and fertile soils, fuel, medicines and raw materials
Choose food and other products which have been produced in a ‘sustainable’ way such as foods produced using organic fertilizers, where soil is not over cultivated or unsuitable cultivation methods are not used, where large expanses of forests are not destroyed (deforestation) to make way for mechanized farming.
Help provide places for wildlife, and rebuild natural soil fertility.
Reduce– reduce the amount of waste produced by ensuring unnecessary purchases.
Reuse – Give products to other people who may find it useful; donation of pre-loved (second hand) clothing, furniture, appliances or find alternative use for the same products.
Recycle – Use products as raw materials for a different product such as the use of tyres as playground mats, the use of pure water sachets as raw materials for refuse bags.
Think twice before making a journey by car or plane. Use public transport, walk or cycle.
The Need for Environmental Sustainability
Being better informed about environmental matters, and reducing the environmental impact is not just in the long-term interests of the planet. It can bring short-term and direct benefits to all organizations (not just businesses).
This is often called the ‘business case’ for environmental improvement. There are Cost savings (eco-efficiency) from using things more efficiently: Results in reduced wastage, reduced cost of labour and capital requirements, additional streams of income from waste products and reduced costs of disposal of by- products or waste products.
In conclusion, the little measures we take at home, at school, at play all reduce our impact on the Environment. These measures include walking instead of taking a bike or a car for short distances, carrying a water bottle around instead of buying drinks in disposable containers. Every little bit helps when put together globally.
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There is a need for man to review his present activities in order to ensure the earth is preserved for present and future generations. Decisions concerning where we get our energy from and how much we use, how much we waste and what we do with our rubbish, how we get around and where we buy things from, the chemicals used to make everyday products as well as for specialist industrial uses are important in terms of sustaining the environment.