By Beatric Wairimu.
Consider this: death of human and animal species, vanishing forests, rising sea levels, and we are now witnessing the fastest rate of species extinction. Most of these are effects of global warming. Did you know that the basic greenhouse effect can actually be good? If the atmosphere did not contain greenhouse gases the average temperature on earth would approximately be 33 degrees Celsius colder and life would not exist. The problem comes when there is increased quantity of green house gases mostly carbon dioxide.
Global green house gas output needs to be at least halved by the middle of the century (2050) if its dangerous impacts are to be avoided. But where did it all begin? Early human beings lived in harmony with nature and were portrayed as noble savages. This was mostly because of the low population density. Then came the sedentary life/settlements and population started to increase which in turn led to food scarcity thus expansion of agricultural land. The population continued to grow exponentially thereby causing human beings to devise ways of increasing food production by adopting techniques and technologies such as the green revolution. Today, there are genetically modified organisms which are allegedly improved species of high yielding to increase food production within a short period of time. Most farmlands are now in turn being converted to settlements to cater for the increasing population. There is demand for food, housing, fuel/ energy and demand for development to cater for seven billion people and all this dis dependent solely on the environment.
Imagine this; even if we make massive cuts in carbon emissions today, the effects of climate change would still be felt for several decades due to the difference in the time lay between emissions being made and their impact felt.
How then can we sustainably balance the fulfillment of human needs without forfeiting protection of the natural environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present but in the indefinite future?
We can start by adopting some behaviors to reduce our emissions. Energy conservation and energy efficiency whereby the former is any behavior that results in the use of less energy. The latter is use of technology that requires less energy to perform the same function e.g. use of a compact fluorescent light bulb that uses less energy than incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light. Use of bio-fuels which are environmentally friendly compared to fossil fuels and carbon trading. Sustainable forest management including conservation of forests, afforestation and reforestation is also of great value. We do not have to wait until the world becomes a desert, we do not have to wait until the last river have dried up or until all wild animals are in the zoo because we have encroached their habitat. It starts with you and me, lets act now and save our future.
Beatrice is an environment blogger, available at: firstname.lastname@example.org