World Environment Day is marked globally every year on 5th June to raise awareness about pressing environmental issues affecting man and other living organisms. First celebrated in 1974, it’s been observed yearly afterwards with various themes like: “Green Cities”, “Biodiversity”, “Beat plastic pollution” and “Time for nature”.
Coordinated by the United Nations Environment Program with support of the United Nations, this year’s theme is: “Ecosystem Restoration” and with the slogan: “Re-imagine”, ”Recreate”, ”Restore”
Humans have to co-exist with other components of the environment, including biotic (Herbivores, Green Plants, Bacteria, Carnivores, Fungi) and abiotic (Rain, Wind, Temperature, Soil, Topography), because we cannot survive in isolation of those components.
It is often said that man is a product of his environment and the debate about whether man was made for the environment or the environment was made for man is a never ending one. Rather than looking at which needs the other more, it is important to know that neither can function without the other.
It is important to know that our every action and inaction impacts on the environment, negatively or otherwise. From seemingly insignificant practices like bush burning or overgrazing to the complex ones (road construction and mining, to mention just two), they all affect the environment in varying degrees.
Humans are believed to be higher animals and as such ought to know better about preserving the global habitat; ironically, we have been the main catalysts to the destruction going on in the ecosystem. Due to industrial revolution, civilization, more technologically based activities, ignorance, quest for knowledge and exploration, the ecosystem is being destroyed daily with man also feeling the negative effect.
Like Newton’s third law of motion that states: “To every action, there’s equal and opposite reaction”. The environment is reacting to us as we have treated it. Are you one of those who dispose pep bottles of soda drinks anywhere you please? Do you own a fleet of cars which all need fuelling constantly? You commission elaborate sculptural pieces, which means more indiscriminate felling of trees? You have an insatiable taste for exotic meat, which means more hunting and killing of certain species of animals till they go extinct?
The list is a long one. Man has been practically taking from the environment over the years without giving back or giving little compared to what we are taking from it, thus putting pressure on the environment.
And the negative effects of man’s selfishness are already here with us in varying degrees: flooding, water shortage, food shortage, pollution and most common in recent times rise in temperature.
Though man has done damage too far on the ecosystem, it is never too late to do what is right. It begins with us embracing simple actions in our everyday life: start tree planting; stop killing everything you see for food; don’t cut down trees; follow all government environmental policies; learn to re-use, re-cycle, re-duce use of non-biodegradable materials; dispose waste appropriately; avoid refuse burning; don’t throw waste into any water body whether large or not; promote environmental awareness.
We are all environmentalist by nature. Be reminded that if the ecosystem takes ill, man also does likewise. To keep that possibility at bay, let’s be guided by this year’s WED charge, which I am happy to re-emphasize: “Re-imagine”, “Recreate” and “Restore”.