Environmental Crisis - We can win this race
Climatic change is a very big crisis in the present age and is happening at a faster pace than we could imagine. The environmental crisis is an emergency that we are losing but we can surely win this race. There is no corner on this planet that is immune to the consequences of climatic change. The temperature of the planet is rising, natural disasters, extreme cold and hot climate, insecurity about food and water, economic disruption, the rise of sea level, melting of the Arctic cap, deforestation and acidifying of oceans are a few examples of climatic change happening in the world. It is time for bold collective action to help save our planet.
- Global warming as a result of Fossil Fuels: The rise of global temperature is 1.1° celsius compared to pre industrial levels. About 4 million years ago, carbon dioxide levels on the earth were almost as high as they are today. There has been a rapid increase in the temperature of the earth as a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases. This has resulted in catastrophic events all around the world. Countries like Australia and United States of America have experienced devastating bushfires, countries in Africa, middle East and Asia have experienced locusts swarming, a large amount of crops have been destroyed al over the planet and Antarctica has experienced a heatwave, with temperature rising above 20° for the first time ever. The earth has experienced a series of tipping points that can have disastrous consequences. These include the melting of the Greenland ice sheet at a very rapid rate, increased deforestation in the Amazon rainforests, acceleration towards the sixth mass extinction of the species on earth and the global warming is melting the permafrost layer in the Arctic regions at an alarming rate. The environmental crisis has resulted in tropical storms and other calamities like hurricanes, heat waves and floods. All these calamities have been more intense and occurring more frequently than ever before. Even if there is a halt on all the greenhouse gas emissions, the temperature of the earth would still continue to rise in the coming years. Hence, it is imperative that we drastically start to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, invest in renewable sources of energy and reduce the use of fossil fuels as fast as possible.
- Food Waste: Around 1.3 billion ton of food that is meant for human consumption is wasted or lost. This amount is enough to feed half the world population. Food waste accounts for 33% of greenhouse gas emissions in a year. About 40% of food waste and loss occurs after harvesting or at processing levels in developing countries, whereas in developed countries, about 40% occurs at the final channel of distribution and consumer level. In retail, a huge amount of food as wasted because of aesthetic reasons, for example a lot of produce is thrown away as it doesn’t look appealing to the eye.
- Loss of biodiversity: In the past 50 years there has been an increased growth in human population, consumption and urbanisation has resulted in the depletion of earth’s resources. There has been a rapid decline in the population of aquatic animals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. The loss of biodiversity is caused by a variety of reasons which include change in land use, for instance conversion of Forest and grasslands into agricultural systems. As a result of illegal wildlife trade, sea animals like sharks and sea horses have become critically endangered. Close to 500 species of animals found on land are on the brink of extinction and if rapid action is not taken, they are likely to be lost in the next two decades.
- Plastic pollution: Plastic pollution, which is the accumulation of plastic objects in the earths environment has an adverse effect on humans and other wildlife. As plastic is cheap and durable, plastic is used more of other materials. It is estimated that around 8,000,000 tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year. This harms the wildlife habitats and the aquatic animals that live in the ocean. If no action is taken, there will be a huge plastic crisis and the amount of plastic in the ocean would reach to a whooping 600 million tons in the next 20 years. As plastic takes 400 years to decompose, the irreversible effects of plastic pollution has an adverse effect on our environment.
- Deforestation: Deforestation refers to the large-scale removal of trees for human activities. In this present day, deforestation is occurring in tropical rainforests and resulted in altering landscapes around the world. If it continues like this, by the year 2030, Earth 10% of its forests. The main cause of deforestation is agriculture. Forests and trees are cleared to make way for logging, cattle ranching, to raise livestock and for crop plantation. Deforestation results in more release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Loss of trees can result in soil erosion as the trees binds the soil and prevents it from being washed away. As a result of deforestation, there is an increase in landslides. Countries like Brazil and Indonesia are experiencing very high levels of deforestation.
- Air Pollution: Pollution is one of the biggest environmental problems that we are facing today. 9 out of 10 people breathe air that has an alarming level pollutants. An estimate of 6 million people worldwide die because of air pollution. Air pollution is caused by industrial sources, motor vehicles and dust storms.Studies show a correlation between air pollution and Covid-19 related mortalities.
- Melting of the Ice Caps and Rise of Sea level: Environmental crisis is warming up the Arctic at almost twice the rate as anywhere else. The sea levels are rising a double the rate as they did in the 20th century due to global warming. The sea level is rising by almost 3.2 mm every year and by the end of the century, will grow upto 0.7 m. As a result of the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, there is a high risk of rise of sea levels. Meanwhile, Antarctic contributes to a millimetre rise of sea level every year. If the sea level keeps on rising like this, it can have a catastrophic impact on people living in coastal regions as it could flood the coastal areas, resulting in migration of close to 400 million people into areas that are safe. This can result in over population and strain of resources in the places they move to.
- Acidification of the oceans: Global warming has not only affected land, but is very because of acidification of the oceans. The oceans absorb carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere of the earth. As a result of human activities like burning of fossil fuels and global environmental change, a higher amount of carbon is emitted, and absorbed back into the sea. Even a small change in the pH scale can cause a great impact on the acidification of the ocean, causing the aquatic ecosystem and aquatic species to be effected. Ocean acidification has cost curve leaching and coral reef loss. Due to the high acidity levels in the ocean, the ability of a coral reef to rebuild their exoskeletons is lost. Ocean acidification is caused by plastic pollution, as the bacteria and micro organisms from plastic garbage can cause damage to the marine ecosystem and cause coral bleaching.
- Agriculture: Out of 33% of emission of greenhouse gases caused by human activities, a third of it comes from livestock and fisheries. Greenhouse gases like nitrous oxide are released due to the use of fertilisers. Agriculture not only covers land, but consumes a vast amount of freshwater. Hence, it is important to rethink the current food system and start thinking about switching to a diet that is plant based, which can help reduce the carbon footprint of the agriculture industry.
- Food and water insecurity: As a result of the rising global temperatures and practises in farming that are very unsustainable, there has been a rise of threat to food and water in security. The top soil is eroded at a faster pace than it can be replenished. As the soil is laden with fertilisers and pesticides, this soil ends up in waterways, contaminating drinking water. This soil has more vulnerable to wind erosion as well as water erosion. Due to population explosion, the global food demand is expected to rise by 70% in the next 30 years. Close to 800 million people around the world do not get enough food to eat. Very serious action needs to be taken and countries need to encourage more sustainable farming practises and change their food systems. There is only 3% of water in the world that can be consumed and out of that, two third of it is unavailable for our use. In the next 2 to 3 years, more than half the world’s population may face water shortages.
- Textile Waste: With the rising demand for clothing in the fashion industry, there has been an unprecedented rise in global carbon emissions. Fashion accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions that both the aviation and shipping industry combined. Around 90 billion m³ of water is wasted from dyeing of textiles. Discarded clothes and textiles, which are mostly non biodegradable land up in landfills. The microplastics in materials like nylon, polyesters and other synthetic materials pollute the soil and water resources.
- Overfishing: A third of the world’s population rely on fish as their main source of protein. As a result of over population, the waters that were commercially fished are now over fished. This means that the fish in the fishing water is being depleted at a quicker speed than it can be replaced. Overfishing results in increased algae in the water, destruction of fishing communities and high rate of loss of biodiversity.
What can you do to protect the environment?
On a personal level, you can join a community, which is one of the best ways to increase your impact as it enables you to make a lot of connections. Joining a community brings you in touch with other people who are walking towards the same goal. On a professional level, you can donate a portion of your income to organisations that focus on protecting the environment. You can encourage your family and friends to donate towards this cause. You should vote for politicians to campaign for effective climate action. You can protect the environment by planting more trees. Reforestation can help in cleaning the air and decreasing the percentage of carbon dioxide in the air. There should be a focus on all the industries going green. Use of wind energy and solar energy in industries is one of the factors that can help reduced pollution. It is very important to create awareness about the importance of conserving the environment. Even a small action taken by an individual can have a big impact on the environment. People should be encouraged to recycle and reuse. The existence of human life is dependent on the environment. Hence it is crucial to protect it at all costs.
The Role of Carita World Foundation in protecting the environment
Carita World foundation works with other non-profit organisations that work on improving the environment. You can donate to Carita world foundation and help us to conserve maintain and preserve the environment. The environmental crisis call for very strict action, hence we make sure that your donation is put to good use. Our foundation is equipped with social networks, know-how and a plan of action that we take to work on our missions. We are able to tackle issues that one probably cannot do at personal level. Since our operations run on donations, your small contribution can help make a difference in dealing with the environmental crisis that is happening on the planet. At whatever scale, your donation can help us collaboratively find solutions to deal with this crisis.