ENVIRONMENT DAY 2020 (JUNE 5)
Theme: Time For Nature
What is Time?
Time is a measure in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future, and the extent of durations of events and the intervals between them.
What is Nature?
This is the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations.
The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature. For instance, each year, marine plants produce more than half of our atmosphere’s oxygen, and a mature tree cleans our air, absorbing 22 kilos of carbon dioxide, releasing oxygen in exchange. Despite all the benefits that nature gives us, we still mistreat it.
Recent events, from bushfires in Brazil, the United States, and Australia to locust infestations across East Africa – and now, a global disease pandemic – demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the webs of life in which they exist, and all these events/occurrences beg for notification.
This is why there is an urgent need to create an awareness of the need to recognise our mode of survival as nature can exist without us, but we as humans cannot live without nature.
After all, even the scriptures justify this claim “unto dust you came, and unto dust, you shall return”.
I recently took a quiz on biodiversity to find out how much I knew about nature, and below are the highlights of what I learned;
- While forests occupy less than a third of the Earth’s surface, they are home to more than 80 per cent of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects; serve as a source of livelihood to more than a quarter of the world’s population; offer sources of medicine, and soak up carbon dioxide.
- Globally, however, deforestation continues at an alarming rate, with 7 million hectares of forest destroyed every year – an area roughly the size of Portugal.
- Coral reefs are home to 25 per cent of marine life and are a significant source of food for more than half a billion people. Every day, drugs derived from coral reefs are dispensed worldwide to treat diseases such as cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections, and viruses.
- The collective value of coral reefs is estimated at US$365 billion per year, and tourism alone accounts for $36 billion in revenues, as travellers enjoy diving and snorkelling among coral reefs. They also provide physical structures that dissipate wave energy, protecting coastlines from strong currents, storms and extreme weather events.
- However, coral reefs are being damaged by harmful fishing practices, pollution, marine debris, ocean warming, and acidification when oceans absorb significant volumes of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. In the last 30 years, 50 per cent of corals have died, and it is projected that 90 per cent will die by 2050.
- There are actually more than 1,100 species of bats. Of these, only three species are vampire bats, and, contrary to modern myth, they rarely bite humans.
- Bats are beneficial to humans. Their droppings are high in phosphorous and nitrogen and serve as fertilisers in many tropical regions. Every year, bats spread millions of seeds after ripe fruit passes through their digestive tract; about 95 per cent of reforestation in the tropical rainforest is a result of their seed dispersal.
- Of the 8 million species on the planet, we have identified no more than about one in ten, which, in my opinion, indicates that we do not know as much as we claim to know about our beloved planet earth.
- Every species draws from and contributes to the ecosystem in which it exists in ways we may not even see. Whales store carbon from the atmosphere. Species like the helmeted hornbill and many other birds fly thousands of miles and disperse seeds that enable forests to provide myriad food sources.
- Many tree species are germinated through the digestive systems of elephants. Pangolins aerate soils to maintain soil health and control pests – eating up to 20,000 ants and termites every day and over 70 million every year. Big cats are apex predators–with no natural predators–that weed out unhealthy individuals to ensure population viability.
- But 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction, many within decades–more than ever before in human history. In fact, many scientists believe we are entering a sixth mass extinction.
With all these above facts being stated, it is about time we started giving nature the important position it deserves (I don’t even want to delve into environmental pollution and the harmful effects it has caused on man and the environment. Else you would either be stuck on this write-up or be forced to move on to something else… Smiles.
I believe that to predict the future; we need to travel down memory lane and study patterns, occurrences and events that happened in history. Mother earth would always find a way to recover from the hurt man has committed, but the question that lies begging to be answered is, “Will or Can man ever recover from the hurt mother earth (NATURE) would cause while trying out its recovery process?”
It is time to get our thinking caps on and treat Nature as it should be treated lest we be made the sacrificial lambs for our and others’ deeds.
- United. “World Environment Day”. United Nations. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
- ^ a b c “World Environment Day 2020: Theme, History, Quotes, Celebration”. S A NEWS . 3 June 2020. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
- ^ “World Environment Day 2015: Our Planet” . web.unep.org. Retrieved 4th June 2020.
- “World Environment Day 2012: Let’s pledge to make the earth a better place” . Times of India: Environment. Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 3rd June 2020.
- “World Environment Day” https://www.unenvironment.org/events/un-day/world-environment-day. Retrieved 4th June 2020.
- “Biodiversity” https://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/topic/biodiversity. Retrieved 3rd June 2020.