It is hard for many to take environmentalism seriously. Even the term ‘environmentalist’ lends itself to harsh and humiliating social terms that make the practice seem unfashionable. The public’s perception of environmentalists always ties into ‘liberal’ agendas. This misconception is a dangerous idea that has been allowed to fester and will be the death of the planet and all living organisms on it, unless it is changed.
The issue of protecting the ecosystems, the inhabitants of, and the planet itself is not a political issue. It is an issue of humanity, and an obligation of the rational-beings we have evolved to be. Homo sapiens are the most successful macroscopic being on Earth, and have developed the ability to reason (though some choose not to), and therefore, have the duty as apex-species to protect the ecosystems that we are destroying with our gross overpopulation and the consequences of our advanced societies.
I submit to you, a plea to actively pursue a change in mindset of how the average person affects the habitat in which they reside. Americans in particular are extremely passive in attempts to minimize the harm that they do. To change for the better, we must have a reform of the way we live our lives, as well as supporting funding for clean resources and energy requirements for the technology we use.
Human beings are the most harmful thing to ever happen to planet Earth. We are one of the most adaptable organisms on the planet, we are an apex-species, and our brains are developed to the point in which we can affect the entire planet as a collective, be it for good or harm.
Cane toads were introduced to Australia in 1935 with the aim of eliminating an insect that had been effecting sugarcane growth in parts of the country. The effects of the toads on the ecosystem were unprecedented. Now, almost three quarters of a century later, the toads are overpopulating and killing many large predators that have not had time to adapt to the toxins in the toad’s skin.
These toads do not have the mental ability to understand the harm that their presence is doing to the ecosystem. Human beings do, and yet, choose to abstain from real solutions. With our ability to rationalize actions, we have an obligation to protect and preserve the land and species we affect.
The problems of our overpopulation of the planet are much more wide-ranging, but just as harmful as the Cane toads in Australia. Human beings are polluting the oceans, destroying the atmosphere, and pushing species that are unnecessary to our survival into extinction. It is no coincidence that populations of cows, chickens, and pigs are booming, while the populations of snow leopards, giant pandas, and white rhinos are dying out. These are not a result of natural selection, but of our infringement into the territory of those species, as well as the selfish slaughtering of those animals for parts. It can be debated if the end to Darwin’s natural selection inevitably comes with the destruction of all species on the planet, except one op species, and a few others that are allowed to continue as sustenance, but does not have to be that way.
Outside of the challenges our species causes to other living inhabitants of the planet, we are pushing gases into the atmosphere that destroys our only protect from the sun, while defiling our planet’s natural sources of drinkable water, and condemning the rainforests, which are the planet’s source of 80 percent of its oxygen. As a result, we are committing a mass murder/suicide. Humans are destroying their own sources of water, oxygen, and cosmic protection while simultaneously condemning any creature that still lives, or would continue to survive after we perish. It is impossible to morally justify these actions.
Whether one chooses to ‘believe’ it or not, scientists in all fields agree that global warming and the greenhouse effect are occurring. Cosmic rays from the sun are becoming trapped inside our atmosphere, causing rapid changes in the temperatures and weather conditions of our planet. Whether global warming is happening rapidly or not, immediate actions are necessary to prevent any more damage, or one day soon, our beautiful blue planet will be as desolate and as uninhabitable as Venus. We caused this process to accelerate, with the air pollution we allow (and I’m not talking about Justin Bieber).
It was not until the 2000s that recycling became ‘fashionable’ in American society. Though European countries have been recycling since the 1970s and in some cases longer, it is not enough to stop the destruction that the materials we use and pollutants we throw away cause.
Big business markets ‘green’ materials to consumers because those items sell, not because those items are better for our planet. Companies are still largely unregulated in the products that are manufactured, the pollutants from machinery that are spewed from factories, and the materials used in many household products like Styrofoam. Citizens must actively support legislation and legislators that will endorse regulations on companies large enough to affect the planet on a massively-negative scale.
We, as consumers have been fed the idea that ‘buying green’ or reusing grocery bags is enough to protect our planet and its resources, but that is false. These are passive activities that, while mildly-effective, do not give substantial support to the wildlife and natural resources on Earth.
The mindset of “I will help the environment when it is convenient for me,” must change. Support regulation on the largest producers of pollution. As electors, we do have the power. If it is the focus of the vast majority of constituents, the elected officials will follow or they will be unemployed. Help control human overpopulation, in any way you can and curve the destruction of our ecosystem for artificial growth. The power is in our hands.
Every person must take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. The human mind is not often used to look at the world in a broad spectrum, and I fear action will not be taken until much more luminous problems arise from our actions. By then, it will be too late. Look beyond yourself and strive for humanity, not the individual. Advocate clean energy, low-emission transportation, and reusable materials. Support those who would do well for the environment.
The planet will be here tomorrow, whether or not you are. It is imperative that you live proactively to ensure the continuation of our personal cosmic wonder.