What is happening to our planet? Is it “just happening” or are we, humans, playing a decisive role? We all want to live, not survive, therefore we should put more effort in caring about our Home.
According to doctor Jane Goodall, the main problems we are facing now are population growth, extreme poverty and waste. If not addressed, these will have terrible consequences. They are all intrinsicably linked. This is why, now is the time to take action. It is such an exciting time to live in, we all have the power to reverse what is happening to the Earth.
The exploitation of resources, the erosion of soils which become infertile, this eagerness to grow “faster and faster”, to consume incessantly are happening now. It did already happen and, according to many scientists, was the cause of the decline of the Rapa Nui, the inhabitants of the Easter Island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
The environmental destruction started with the Polynesian “invasors” on the island. They started a massive process of deforestation to construct boats and houses and at its peak in the 17th century, 15,000 people were living on the island. But by 1722, they experienced a huge fall to 2-3 thousand people (blogs.discovermagazine.com). By taking down forests, the Rapa Nui caused a shift in the ecosystem, whose species used to a palm-dominated environment found themselves in grassland within very short time. Thus, most species did not have enough time to adapt to the change.
The author Jared Diamond, in his book Collapse, even talks about “Ecocide”. The theory is that the deforestation and the loss of endemic population caused the erosion of the soils, which did not allow crop to grow anymore. But, this is not happening to us now, right?
In Lagos, the commercial centre of Nigeria, is experiencing a new type of urban growth, where people are driven by “the rage of survive rather than prosper”. People live in so called “Face me, face you” apartments, where entire families live in small rooms along a corridor. 50 people share bathrooms and kitchen, classrooms fit 100 kids in one room. Nowadays, it is the Subsaharian Africa which is facing the worse overpopulation consequences. In Asia women have now on average 2 children, while in Africa for a woman it is more than common to have 5 children. These figures can be lowered with education, access to contraception, employment for women. But it is not that easy.
People now fight for shelter, food and a decent existance. Violence is spreading. The government does not seem to take any measures. This is just an example, which shows how growing “faster and faster”, consuming “more and more”, have huge consequences.
These and many other topics are discussed in the Documentaries which SSA will screen in November. If you want to learn more, and be inspired, make sure to attend!
It is still not too late, and there are many people who are trying to make an impact. There are conservationists working on trying to preserve the rest of the endmic species on the Easter island, new startups are trying to give free education about taboo topics to African women through cellphones and anonymous messages and many others.
Of course we have to start from us if we want to see changes. We can all consume less, being aware consumers, trying to reduce OUR impact on the planet. Starting small. The word of mouth will do the rest. And if there is willingness there is power.