Environmental news just keeps getting more and more discouraging. Today, I read the following on the BBC:
The actions of mankind could lead to the extinction of half of African birds and mammals by the end of 2100, a UN-backed study has said.
The report conducted by 550 experts from around the world said reduced biodiversity could affect people’s quality of life.
It also found 42% of land-based animal and plant species in Europe and Central Asia have declined in the last decade.
The study said the main causes of the decline are due to climate change, pollution, and deforestation. In other words, problems we can reduce with our actions.
Climate change is the biggest worry, as no amount of action can stop the near future threats of rising seas and extreme weather (such as periods of drought or terrible storms). But, the hope is countries will take steps to prevent the problem from getting even worse.
If we had enough leadership and support, we could reduce deforestation and pollution quickly. Sadly, countries like Brazil have reversed some protections for rainforests in the past year. Palm oil plantations in countries like Indonesia continue to grow at a rapid rate. The USA is reducing environmental protections and promoting increases of funding for the coal industry and oil exploration.
It may seem like the individual has no effect, but I firmly believe that’s not true. Continue to be an example for others by being as environmentally friendly as you can. Continue to learn about the issues and let companies and politicians know you care.
Today will mark the March for Our Lives in Washington. The students from Parkland have changed the conversation on gun control in just one month. So far, the political action has been small, but their voices are being heard and I think it is inspiring to see how a small group of vocal students have created a nationwide movement.
Perhaps we can join their generation in changing the conversation about environmental issues too.
My picture: March for Science last year in my home town