We take for granted many of the things around us. Try to look back a century ago and compare the quality of our lives. You buy water now. You even buy air through the air conditioning units you install at home. Many of the things that were free before are now for sale. What does that mean?
It can mean two ways – either that entrepreneurs found a way to make a sale and enjoy bigger profits or that our environment is deteriorating. Well, the reason is likely both. You need a good product or service to make a name and a living in this world. And if you can make people buy something that used to be for free, then you hit the jackpot.
But if you also survey your surroundings, you’ll see that it is far from pristine and we contributed to its deterioration. Can you safely drink water from streams and rivers today? Probably not. It is no longer safe for human consumption that even fishes can be rarely seen or fished. But it is not yet too late to save the environment if we all unite and act now.
Five dozen demonstrators marched through the streets of downtown Oakland on Tuesday afternoon at a “Resist Trump” rally focused on protecting the environment.
Marchers, carrying banners that said “One Planet, One People, No Pipeline,” started at 12th and Broadway and stopped at two downtown banks that they said were funding the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
“The climate crisis is a symptom of a deeper problem — an economy based on extraction and exploitation of resources and people,” said Martha Kuhl, treasurer of the California Nurses Association, as she addressed the crowd.
The event was led by the Bay Area environmental justice organization Sunflower Alliance. Marchers also stopped at Frank Ogawa Plaza and outside the office of developer Phil Tagami, who has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the city of Oakland’s ban on shipping coal from the city’s port.
And the social and geopolitical instability do not help. Many countries in the Far East are now ravaged by war that its citizens are forced to find a new home somewhere else because there is no more hope left back home.
The world faces a lot of issues but we fail to acknowledge how the environment suffers from the unending conflicts among nations and its people.
Much of the world seems to be on edge. The West’s relationship with Russia, the future of Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), the Syrian civil war and refugees, rising right-wing populism, the impact of automation, and the UK’s impending departure from the European Union: All these topics—and more—have roiled public debate worldwide. But one issue—one might say the most significant of them all—is being ignored or pushed aside: the environment.
Allowing environmental issues to fall by the wayside at this time of geopolitical and social instability is a mistake, and not just because this happens to be a critical moment in the fight to manage climate change. Environmental degradation and natural-resource insecurity are undermining our ability to tackle some of the biggest global issues we face.
Environmental insecurity is a major, though often underestimated, contributor to global instability. The UN High Commission on Refugees reports that natural disasters have displaced more than 26 million people per year since 2008—almost a third of the total number of forcibly displaced people in this time period.
But the ultimate point is this:
The crises engulfing the modern world are complex. But one thing is clear: The environment is connected to all of them. Solutions will mean little without a healthy world in which to implement them.
Everyone is busy with things that do not really matter but always point fingers once tragedy strikes. Every day, you hear about stories of war, calamities, droughts, floods, global warming, and climate change among others but only a handful act on these causes.
What’s even more disheartening is that the people in authority and power do not seem to act on it.
Environmental advocates had less to be happy about. Lawmakers are phasing out a tax credit for solar panels. And a bill to continue a clean-vehicle tax credit died.
Let us hope that things will change for the better by raising awareness on environmental issues that plague the world today, to protect the public in general especially vulnerable groups.