Updated: Nov 27
The human population is currently estimated at 7.6 Billion and increasing. This puts heavy pressure on the earth’s resources and this is a growing concern for conservationists. This can be attributed due to the fact that more people means more food to be grown, more land for houses as well as more industrial areas to produce goods and services to the people. Extensive amounts of natural habitat is being destroyed or altered to make room for this growing population and the environment is suffering for it. Some examples of natural habitats being destroyed is the Borneo Forest to make room for palm oil plantations. This is affecting the already endangered Orangutan. Amazon rainforest for subsistence farming of local communities, the Great Barrier Reef due to climate change, the Everglades due to urban encroachment and the Congo basin because of illegal logging and industrial practices, wildlife trade and guerrilla warfare.
In order to protect nature we need to start leading more sustainable lives.
Conservation efforts are doing what they can on all fronts around the world however the environment is still being destroyed. As the human population we need to find better and more sustainable ways for living on earth so that our future generations and wildlife have a chance to survive and live comfortably.
Here is a list of examples and ideas to help reduce our own ecological footprint at home, in the office or wherever you may be.
· Recycling – With 8 Billion tons of plastic in the ocean already, this is an important aspect of daily living. A new solution to the plastic problem is by making an eco brick. When you are finished using a 2 litre plastic bottle, put all the soft plastic items into it. Once it is full you can donate it to certain organisations who then use them as low cost building material. Just find out first if your country has this program running before you start.
· Don’t use plastic straws or ear buds, these two items are the most commonly found plastic pollution on beaches other than plastic bags.
· Purchase reusable bags to go shopping with, instead of using the plastic ones at the till.
· Plant indigenous plants in your garden instead of exotic species, this will encourage birds and other wildlife to your garden and it will also save water.
Sustainable, water preserving garden
· Due to climate change rainfall patterns are shifting. Along with this more people on the earth means more water consumed and fresh drinking water is becoming scarcer. In order to combat this, purchase a water harvest tank and in doing this after it has rained you can use that water for a variety of things such watering the garden, washing the dog or car. This saves you from using municipal water.
Rain harvest tank
· Use eco-friendly washing detergents.
Eco friendly dishwashing liquid
· When printing documents, print them on both sides of the paper as to save paper. In doing this you reduce the pressure of cutting trees down and ultimately saving forests.
· Eat fish which is caught sustainably and not from fish stocks which are collapsing due to over fishing.
Rather buy sustainably sourced fish
· Try eat less red meat, Have a meatless Monday.
· Plant a tree, the more trees planted the more carbon dioxide can be extracted out of the atmosphere.
· Car Pooling, The less cars there are on the roads, the less carbon monoxide will be let off into the atmosphere. So chat with your colleagues and friends to find out whether you live close by and if you are going to the same destination catch a lift with them. This will not only minimise pollution levels but also reduce traffic congestion which I like would make everyone a little bit happier.
· If carpooling is not an option for you, then try and use public transport more often.
· A number of people around the world are laying down artificial grass. This can have detrimental effects on ecosystems and wildlife in that area and in general. Artificial grass laying has become a popular trend in Britain and many conservationist are concerned about the ramifications that it will have on the local wildlife. Birds, butterflies and bees have decreased already and this may add to the problem, large amounts of soil are excavated in order to lay the plastic artificial grass, lots of worms and other insects who live in the soil are displaced. These insects, particularly the worms have important jobs of aerating the soil as well as providing nutrients for the soil and keeps its structure. This aids the soil when heavy rains come or droughts. So think twice before laying down artificial grass. It may be low maintenance but in the long term we may all suffer the consequences.
Some of these examples and of being more sustainable you may have already heard of. However if each of us could adopt at least one of these examples it will go a long way in preventing further destruction to the earth we live in. I believe in conclusion that it is also very important to educate not only the next generation to conserve and protect the environment but also everyone around us. In doing this we can preserve what’s left.