Since time immemorial, man’s needs have been supported by the great variety of life on Earth and its resources. A support system has been built due to the diversity of living creatures and the presence of resources essential for survival of human kind, which has been utilized by each civilization for its growth and development. Those who used this gift of nature carefully and sustainably, survived and those who overused it perished. Human beings can exist only when the precious biodiversity of earth and its resources are managed properly. The relationship of human beings with the earth is not very healthy and this makes it important for us to increase our environmental and global awareness, unless we want some serious consequences, which can affect our well being.
The need for global awareness in the contemporary international community can be best understood by looking at the relationship of human beings and Mother Nature. We should try to find an answer to questions like, what are our actions towards our environment, what is the earth doing for us and what are the consequences of our actions, which makes the elevation of global and environmental awareness amongst the people essential. After understanding the consequences, we should try to bring modifications in our action to have a better future.
Exploitation of earthly resources by humankind and resultant harm caused to the earth
Human beings are dependent on the earth and its ecosystem for goods and services. The goods and services are important and essential for the personal well-being of human beings. The earth is the source of all wealth — dams, ports, highways, buildings, etc. It is giving us the goods and services without taking anything in return.(Chiras 20). Earth can fulfill our needs but it cannot fulfill our greed. Its resources can fulfill our requirements but cannot last in front of our exploitation.
Human beings are exploiting the biodiversity of the ocean. The development of industrial fishing and sophistication of the fishing technology is putting pressure on this “supposed- Inexhaustive aquatic resources” (Adeleye 230). Fishes and other aquatic products have declined due to the ruthless exploitation, loss of habitat by sand filling operations and pollution of wetland from oil exploration and industries. The uncontrolled trawling for fishes throughout the year has led to the extinction of some species (Adeleye 231)
The harm caused by man to the ecosystem is enormous. The world’s ecosystems have deteriorated by 33% in between 1970 to 2000 and exploitation of natural resources have increased by the same amount in that period according to World Wide Fund of nature. The indices of the forest and marine ecosystem have showed deterioration by 12% and 35% respectively in the same period (“Exploitation of natural resources”).
Man is plundering the natural resources of the earth. He is destroying forests, degrading lands, throwing toxic waste into the sea, etc. The pollutants are causing disasters from time to time. Destruction of the ecosystem in the Mediterranean Sea due to pollutants is one of the best examples of mans exploitation and its consequences (Environmental Studies 7-8).
Earths generosity in giving us what we need
The earth provides us with everything we need. It gives us resources like food for our survival and essential components which are necessary for our development and well-being. It gives us air, water, fire or the five elements which we need to survive. Whatever we built, whatever we do could not have been done without the help of the forces of the earth. We can understand very well how we are dependent on the earth by looking at our condition, when we are struck by a Tsunami or an earthquake. We can imagine how horrible the position of Japan could be after it was struck by the recent earthquake and Tsunami. We are dependent on the earth in all respects, food, shelter, well-being, sustenance, etc. Isn’t the earth generous in providing us what we need or even more than what we need?
Despite the fact that we are doing so much harm to the environment by our activities— Does it stop for an instant, not providing us the things which are essential for our well-being and survival? We cannot imagine a moment without air or water which are essential for our survival. The biodiversity, ecosystem and all the elements of the earth are always busy in serving us in spite of the fact that most of the time we are busy destroying the biodiversity and ecosystem in the name of development and prosperity. When earth is so generous, we also have a duty on our part to take care of earth, may be not for the sake of earths generosity but at least for our own well-being.
Importance and need for increasing global and environmental awareness
Loss of global biodiversity and its consequences requires us to become more globally and environmentally aware. The scenario of global loss of biodiversity is not very good. The genetic diversity of crops and livestock are continuing to decline. The principal elements responsible behind loss of biodiversity i.e. habitat change, overexploitation, pollution, invasive alien species, etc are increasing constantly (Global Biodiversity 5). Human activities are causing serious loss to biodiversity and harming the ecosystems, which are going bring serious consequences for humankind. The production of phosphates and nitrates from agricultural fertilizers and sewage can cause inland water ecosystems to shift into algae-dominated state. This can lead to unavailability of fish thus resulting in food shortage in many developed countries. The coral reefs of the world are constantly harmed by the inland deforestation, bleaching impact of warmer water, over fishing, sediment deposition, etc which can have serious impacts on the livelihood and food security of millions of people (Global Biodiversity 7).
The human activities are causing lots of harm to the environment and with the growth of population the environmental impact is increasing at a high rate. The human beings are altering the global nitrogen cycle and have been responsible for doubling the green house gas N2O globally. This is causing losses of calcium and potassium from soil, resulting in soil infertility, contributing to the acidification of soils, accelerating the losses of biodiversity, etc. (Moran 11). As industries are increasing throughout the world, the environment is seen as a source of raw materials and also as a place to dump the industrial waste. This is increasing the air and water pollution. In United States, wildlife species have no place to go, as their habitats are destroyed and groundwater has become contaminated, which has become a major problem. According to the Environmental protection agency global warming, ozone depletion, and species extinction will be the greatest threat for future generations (McKinney et al 12).
As stated earlier, the relationship between earth and man cannot be commended. Man is constantly harming the biodiversity and ecosystem through pollutants, industrial activities and other means. The harm caused to the biodiversity of the oceans, the diverse ecosystem of the world, and exploitation of the natural resources of the earth is enormous and increasing daily. The declining genetic diversity of crops, harm caused to the inland water ecosystems, destruction of most important ecosystem of the world, like destruction of the coral reefs can bring forth serious predicament and dangers in the near future. While earth is trying to provide us with all that it can; we are in the path of destruction. We are forgetting the extent of our dependency on the earth’s resources. As harming the earth will have serious consequences for us at present and in the future, environmental and global awareness is the need of the present age. We should try to achieve sustainable development. This can be achieved through “protection of resources”, “restoration of resources that have been mismanaged or damaged” and “taking responsibility for management for resources” (Carson 89). The self destructive tendencies in human action should be given up and substituted by things which lead to sustainable development and a better future.