Inspired by a presentation given by Canadian environmental scientist, David Suzuki, my son delivered an impassioned speech of his own at school on the topic of the urgent need for environmental rehabilitation.
His words echoed that of Suzuki as he explained that the days of merely preserving nature are over. Alarmingly, many scientists believe that 90% of humans will be gone by the year 2100. This horrifying revelation is not science fiction, but based on scientific data related to overpopulation, environmental destruction, carbon pollution and climate change.
Our kids understand the urgency and want to be the difference that saves our planet. Unfortunately, adults with the power to execute change, aren’t listening.
Suzuki’s concern and underlying frustration was apparent, “Who needs nature in a city? We have Netflix,” he said. His tongue-in-cheek statement refers to our obsession with technology. We’re too distracted and desensitized to comprehend or even notice the gravity of our situation.
I can’t get his words out of my head and I want to shout from the rooftops, “Wake up!! We need to do something!”
Earth, air, fire, water. These are fundamental needs. Without them, life will cease to exist.
We know this, but do we understand the urgency? Most people are unaware how serious things have become. They hear, “mass extinction, global warming, climate change, pollution, contamination,” and either accept that this is just the way it is or completely dismiss the possibility.
Desensitization and apathy will be humanity’s downfall.
Forests are disappearing at an unnerving rate. The air we breathe and the water we drink depend upon our forests—the engine and filtration system of the water cycle.
Fracking practices continue to contaminate our ground water. And chemical and manufacturing plants are poisoning earth, air and water.
The sobering fact is that we are living beyond the “carrying capacity” of our biosphere. The amount of life we can support (provide with food, water, and air) has exceeded what we can handle. And we’ve been living this way for far too long, depleting the earth of resources.
Scientists have been telling us this for decades but their warnings have fallen in deaf ears. The evidence is crystal clear and undeniable yet there are those who continue to argue that climate change isn’t real.
During Dr. Suzuki’s presentation about about the chemicals and toxins in our drinking water and all around us, he made an off the cuff remark that stuck with me. He said, “We’re so impressed with ourselves. How smart we are. We can travel into space. So what? We need to take care of the mess we’ve made here on earth.”
And boy have we made a mess.
Numerous respected scientists say we are approaching mass extinction. Our children and grandchildren could witness the end of humanity. I found this notion chilling and I can’t understand why aren’t people freaking out, demanding action, and rapidly making a plan.
A woman at our table asked Dr. Suzuki what individuals can do to help—she wanted to hear there’s a silver bullet solution.
There really isn’t one.
Suzuki acknowledged that small changes are important, but recycling and planting a garden, actions like these, are no longer enough. What’s needed now are big changes…BIG changes on a global political scale. We’re talking about legislation and laws and mandates and swift, effective action.
We are running out of time. This isn’t something we can continue to debate and delay. We need action RIGHT NOW. With climate impacts such as extreme weather, thawing permafrost and sea-level rise unfolding much faster than expected, scientists say the urgency of the crisis has intensified.
What can we do?
The single most important thing we can do, (us for now, then our kids when they’re old enough), is to get involved on a political level. We must hold corporations and the politicians who enable them to continue to contaminate our earth, air and water, accountable. We can no longer allow ourselves to be distracted by Instagram filters and reality TV.
The phrase “time is of the essence” doesn’t seem to relay the urgency strongly enough. Every one of us needs to step up to defend our fundamental needs and to demand the implementation of technologies that can reverse and repair the damage our actions have caused.