Do We Really Want to Lose This?

A snowy mountain sparkling in the sun

Spring snowpack is critical for delivering a steady supply of drinking and irrigation water to billions of people, with bigger and earlier melts causing problems.:

Or This?

A group of lions relaxing

African lions could be completely extinct by 2050.

Are we contributing to the solution or are we part of the problem?

This is a question we all need to ask ourselves. Are we active in the fight for our future? Or are we sitting back fearfully doing nothing? What our world needs right now is a critical mass of citizens willing to fight for a better tomorrow for everybody. To create a successful transition to a sustainable world needs us all, both individuals and governments, pulling in the right direction.

Right now it feels like we are all asleep.

(Not all of us, I know. There are thousands of activists, scientists, engineers, artists, writers, poets, and ordinary people out there fighting in the most imaginative ways for the environment and for the future of our children.)

But it needs millions of us! On the streets if necessary, but there are other ways. We need our governments to act. We need investors to fund renewable energy projects and research in developed countries. We need to find ways of helping Nature recover. And we need to renew our food system so that we can eat enough healthy food. But that will not happen unless we all demand it, and we can.

But we need so much more than that. We need so many more of us to take responsibility for the Slough of Despond we are allowing ourselves to sink into by not taking action, in our fearfulness and our desire to keep what we have now.

Our Democracies are broken, and we are losing them as we sleep. Inequality means that much of the world is struggling to cope and thus cannot contribute to the solutions. The situation will only get worse if we slumber away our future.

Climate Change affects us all, but not equally because it is those who least deserve it who have to manage the problems the industrialised countries have created for them.

We need to fight for justice for developing countries devastated by colonialism and our aid system that takes more from these countries than we parsimoniously give them. See this article.

We need to help them adapt directly to renewable energy, educate their people, and give them a future. If we don’t they will turn to countries that do not have their best interests at heart. Countries who will sell them coal and gas and make the situation worse for all of us if we ignore it.

Nature provides us with many things we need to survive

A mountain stream

Nature provides us with many of the things we cannot survive without. WWF says that “The natural world underpins our economy – – – our forests, rivers, oceans and soils provide us with the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we irrigate our crops with”.

And yet we are slumbering through the destruction of our soils. An article in National Geographic reports that soil is failing across the world. It is estimated that by 2050 about 90% of the earth’s soils could be degraded.

We can do something about that if we wake up to the fact. My grandchildren will be 40 to 50 years old at that time. I want them to have enough to eat and drink, and for there to be birds for them to enjoy, bees to pollinate their food, and trees and clean rivers and lakes to ease their souls.

Chatham House (an international affairs think tank) says that at present one million species are threatened with extinction from human activities like deforestation, Climate Change, and pollution. We are in serious danger of losing rhinos, tigers, polar bears, turtles, gorillas and many of our other iconic species. All these species and very many more are part of Nature’s system to regulate our planet. It feels unbelievable to me that we don’t seem to care.

Nature needs help to recover.

Our societies need help to rebuild.

What can we do as individuals to make a difference?

  • We can vote. If we are lucky enough to live in a Democracy then we have a say in what happens. Democracies are not perfect. Many of them are broken and we hate many of their actions. But still our vote is important. We can find out what each party stands for and if they care about the future. Ask what your candidates will fight for if elected.
  • We can act. Tell our politicians either that we like what they do or that we want them to change. We can change our bank or insurance companies if we see they don’t care about the future.
  • We can eat better and protect our soils and our water. Organic is a more expensive and sometimes out of our reach but if we eat it when we can then every bit helps. Eating less meat will make a huge difference.
  • We can march or protest in some way.
  • We can use our buying power to force companies to change their policies. Many more organisations are changing now to be genuinely more sustainable.
  • We can change our fashion habits, buying far fewer clothes and keeping those we have for much longer.
  • We can cut down food waste.
  • To really make a difference we can start to talk about the situation with family, friends and in our communities, helping other people to become active and to believe they can make a difference.

Most of all though – We need to wake up and act now.

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Photographs 1 and 2 copyright Doreen Hosking and thanks to kazuend on Unsplash for the third photo.