Earth Day is a time to reflect on the state of our planet and what we can do to make it a better place. Unfortunately, things are not going well. Our planet is in trouble and we must act now if we are to save it.
Let's take a look at the 5 biggest killers on our planet and what we can do to stop them. These problems are huge and caused by a variety of factors, but they all have one thing in common: humans. This is why we have a duty to try to repair our share of the damage. Let's start!
By the time you finish reading this paragraph, a forest area the size of 3 football fields will have been destroyed. And it's just an average: in some parts of the world (think of the Amazon) the deforestation rate is even higher. Losing trees not only means loss of wildlife habitat, but also climate change, given their role in regulating the Earth's temperature.
1) Encourage people a eat more vegetables and fruits. This would reduce the demand for animal products, which are a major driver of deforestation.
2) Promote responsible logging practices. This would reduce the need to clear new land for agriculture or livestock.
3) Plant trees! This is obvious, but still worth saying, even if this thing alone absolutely not enough.
Below-average rainfall in a given region results in prolonged water shortages. A phenomenon that can last for months or even years, with devastating consequences for both humans and the natural world. Agricultural productivity decreases, fires increase, water sources dry up. Ecosystems under stress ecosystems, leading to the death of plants and animals. Unfortunately, the drought will become more intense in the coming years, leading to civil unrest and mass climatic migrations. We need to find ways to adapt to this new reality, to minimize its impact.
One of the most significant solutions to drought is the water saving. Starting from the food industry, that wastes oceans. And then, having arrived in our homes, move on to low flow shower heads, repair leaks and water the lawns only when necessary, perhaps using waste water from the sink (not that of washing clothes). To use innovative appliances that reuse water: smart bathroom furniture. In terms of landscaping, introducing drought-tolerant plants can help reduce the need for irrigation. Plants such as succulents, cacti and native herbs require less water.
Extinction of species
Every year, more and more species of plants and animals go extinct. Every year, a loss of 11.000 species is estimated. Since our advent, we humans we have practically destroyed half of the living species. Loss of habitat, climate change and pollution have helped us. Some of them are showing incredible adaptability: some animals are even changing shape. Not enough, of course. With the disappearance of species, the biological diversity of our planet also disappears. This loss of diversity can have far-reaching consequences, affecting everything from the food we eat to the air we breathe.
There are many ways to help reduce the extinction rate of species. One is to protect and restore natural habitats. Provisionally (e.g. restoring burrows destroyed by fires), or definitive (artificial coral reefs on which new natural barriers grow). Another key strategy is that of reduce the demand for products made with endangered species (yes, there are still many). Finally, it is important to promote sustainable hunting and fishing practices that do not put undue pressure on animal populations. By taking these steps, we can help protect the incredible diversity of life on Earth.
Acidification of the oceans
Ocean acidification is a major environmental problem caused byincrease in CO2 levels in the atmosphere. When carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater, it forms carbonic acid, which makes the water more acidic. This can have a significant impact on marine life, as many creatures depend on a specific pH level to thrive.
It gets worse: acidification alters the chemical makeup of the ocean, which can disrupt the food chain and reduce the overall biodiversity of marine ecosystems. If the acidification continues to increase, it is likely to cause serious damage marine life and the ocean ecosystem as a whole.
Reduce our dependence on fossil fuels: this is the main remedy to reduce the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere. We can also promote the growth of marine plants, which absorb carbon dioxide from water. Another solution (among those considered extreme) is to add limestone to sea water, which helps neutralize acidity. This process is known as ocean alkalization and may be effective in reversing some of the damaging effects of ocean acidification. By taking these steps, we can help protect marine life from the damaging effects of ocean acidification.
Here we could talk for days. If other phenomena depend in part (sometimes a good part) on us, this depends on us in everything. We know well about the sources: from car exhaust to factory emissions. It is probably the greatest cause of damage to the planet, its animal and plant life, air and water quality. And to our health, with increasing respiratory and microplastic problems even stuck into the bloodstream.
Here too we could talk for days. Just a few: Industries can install scrubbers on their chimneys to remove harmful emissions before they are released into the atmosphere. Farmers can use best management practices to minimize runoff from their fields. And we can do more with the recycling e the use of public transport. By working together, we can make a difference in the fight against pollution.
It is clear that we face many environmental problems that threaten the planet and its inhabitants. But it is also clear that there are things we can do to help mitigate these problems. Earth Day is just another symbolic anniversary. Instead, today and every other day, let us commit ourselves to do our part to protect the planet.