Only One Earth
Did you know that over 4.7 million hectares of forests are lost every year? Every three seconds, the world loses enough forest to cover an entire football pitch and over the last century, half of the wetlands have been destroyed. Humans have been exploiting the planet’s ecosystems carelessly for decades now. The health of the planet and the health of the people are like two sides of the coin. Degradation of resources increases human-wildlife conflicts and has been linked to outbreaks of diseases such as the COVID-19 virus.
Studies have revealed that students are at the forefront in wanting to make an impact in conserving the environment. A study conducted by The Student Housing Company revealed the lengths students aged between 16-25 were willing to go to protect the planet. The results revealed that to reduce their environmental impact, around two-thirds of students recycle (68%) and actively reduce their food waste (63%), while around a third reduce water use (38%), meat consumption (36%) and refuse to purchase fast fashion (32%). Another interesting finding was that a company’s position on sustainability would impact whether students would work for them.
The theme for this year’s World Environment Day is ‘ecosystem restoration’. Ecosystem restoration is about recovering degraded or destroyed ecosystems and conserving the healthy ecosystems. “Just as we caused the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis and the pollution crisis, we can reverse the damage that has been done; we can be the first generation to reimagine, to recreate and to restore nature to kickstart action for a better world,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Few steps you can adopt in your day-to-day routine to conserve the environment include:
- Volunteering: Volunteering can benefit the planet and your own wellbeing. There are different volunteer projects available that you can get involved in. With many of them being online from last year, it is easier for you to be a part of an environment friendly organization.
- Join a clean-up club: Clean ups have gained a lot of popularity over the years. From combing beaches to collecting trash in the local park, you wouldn’t believe some of the stuff that people have left behind that now need collecting and throwing away.
- Plant a tree or pick up some plants: Planting a tree in your garden or donating to a local trust who will plant a tree for you in a specific area has long term environmental health benefits but also helps reduce the stress in life.
- Switching to sustainable products: It’s always the little things that make a huge difference. Switching from a plastic coffee mug to a reusable mug has a lot of positive impact on the environment.
Be it through making subtle changes to the daily lifestyle or by taking direct action to support environmental or sustainability causes these tiny changes has a massive impact on the environment!