Humans have walked on the face of Earth for approximately 6 million years now. We had been strengthened by the ground beneath our feet, enjoyed the breeze rustling through the leaves and loved the warmth of the sun.  What is happening now in the 2020s! Let me take you through my experiences. The ground beneath me is appalling because of all the garbage it has been stuffed with. The breeze is no longer coming, though I stand waiting outside for hours, all I hear are the horns of the vehicles blaring. What is that horrible smell? It’s not the earthy smell from flowers or soil; it’s the smoke from the vehicles filling up my lungs making me gasp for air. Well for what has happened with the warmth of the sun! I know you all have experienced that. It is no longer felt like warmth but instead what the sun is giving us is heat strokes. So, what is happening? 

Our relationship with Earth is off balanced. For years now we have been the ones cheating on our planet. We were too busy focusing on the growing economies, all we ever did and still doing are abusing and harassing the planet Earth. News flash! In one word let me tell you. Our planet is in the red.

“We’re consuming as if we had 1.6 Earths available to us, and the effect of environmental change is wreaking havoc on human social and economic well-being. We must absolutely stop taking nature for granted.” 

– World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Here is a list of daunting issues we are facing worldwide,

Plastics in Ocean of the Earth
  • By the year 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean.

According to a report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, the ocean is filled with 165 million tons of plastic that’s 25 times heavier than the weight of the Giza pyramid! The reason being that in the last 50 years there is a 20 fold increase in the use of plastic. They further state in the report that only 14% of plastic packaging is recycled, and it’s the biggest source of plastic pollution in the ocean.  So if we reuse the plastic packaging we could significantly reduce the plastics being ended up in the ocean and in the marine animals’ tummies.  

  • Population sizes of wildlife have reduced by 60% on average globally in recent decades

Our land use choices have directly and indirectly put biodiversity on the dark side. With our choices of deforestation and abusive over use of land, land beneath us has degraded beyond repair which has led to disruption of functions and habitats, paving for the loss of many species off Earth.

Forest on Earth
  • An area of land equal in size to a football pitch is lost in the Amazon forest every minute.

Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest, much known for its vast biodiversity. In addition to the 2019 Amazon wild fires that destroyed thousands of acres of forests, deforestation too is having sweeping stakes on the forest. Ironically, as forests like these disappear, the rest of the world too is in jeopardy because as you all know, trees are the ones reprocessing and filtering the world’s harmful CO2 output.

  • The global average sea level has risen by 16-21 cm since 1900 and at a rate of over 3 mm per year over the past two decades

The water in the sea is rising mainly because of the combination of melting glaciers and ice sheets and thermal expansion of seawater as it warms. For example, if we take the Arctic ice, the graph on the left will show what I’m going on about. According to a new study, the absence of sea ice in the Arctic is closely connected to the melting of permafrost (a thick subsurface layer of soil that remains below freezing point throughout the year mainly in Polar Regions). Permafrost contains massive amounts of carbon stored but as it melts it releases all those stored carbon as CO2 and Methane warming up our planet further.

  • 50 percent of habitat destruction from food production happens in grasslands and savannas

 Agriculture causes nearly one third of deforestation. Along with forests, other types of ecosystems such as grasslands and savannas too are getting destroyed. Savannas and grasslands provide habitat to important species and regulate an important part of the Earth’s nutrient cycles.

water abundance clean water faucet
  • 66 percent of the world’s population faces water shortages for at least one month each year.

To make this clearer I would like to present more numbers. According to a UN report of 2018, over 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress. UNICEF estimates that by 2040, 1/4th of the world’s children under 18 (about 600 million) will be living in areas of high water stress. In this heating globe, water is going to become scarce, so use it carefully and remember water is not a privilege it’s a right.

So here’s what we should do readers. We don’t have another planet.  We have to respect the resources of Earth and preserve and conserve them whatever it takes. Use the resources of our planet sustainably and be mindful of your actions and repercussions. 

Image credits:


Written by:

Anusha Vinodhini Jegathesan
Secretary 2019/20


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