Your Public Value continues to call on young people from Africa and Europe to dialogue and discuss the most pressing issues of our times. Ellen Lindsey Awuku is a youth development advocate with a special interest in the environment, youth civic participation, and youth empowerment. She coordinates three environmental organisations in Ghana working to achieve environmental sustainability through advocacy, policy, and implementation. She participated in our discussion focused on how to live in harmony with nature. We are happy to publish here the blog she wrote following this discussion.
In harmony with nature
Several environmental challenges are being faced by the world today. From climate change, air pollution, soil degradation to species extinction. Humanity’s unsustainable lifestyle choices are leading to unprecedented environmental impacts that have never been felt throughout history.
Carbon emissions from anthropogenic activities has resulted in global warming and its accompanying climate change and even though scientists consistently warn of the danger of a tipping point, the world continues in a business as usual kind of life.
Each year, 9 million people are killed from breathing polluted air due to fossil fuel combustion and the world’s oceans are now 30% more acidic since we started burning coal.
Nature continues to suffer the most negative impacts, yet we remain unconcerned with our selfish greed. The world risks losing half of all land based living species this century due to human activities such as hunting and habitat destruction, climate change, invasive species, pollution, human overpopulation and overharvesting. It is estimated that 25% of all mammals will be extinct within 20 years. Animal and plant species are now being forced to move towards the pole at alarming rates.
The destruction of biodiversity
The destruction of biodiversity does not only affect nature but humans as well in most important ways which is why we must make efforts to conserve biodiversity at all cost.
Biodiversity supports a healthy ecosystem as plants and animals are interdependent on each other. Any change in an ecosystem can lead to its destruction as this causes imbalance in the system.
Our food supply is heavily dependent on biodiversity with about 80% coming from plants species alone. Destruction of biodiversity would automatically mean huge deficit in food supply to feed the world’s almost 7.8 billion population, exacerbating the issues of starvation and malnutrition at all levels and most especially among poor and marginalized communities.
Biodiversity provides source of medicine to treat human ailments and diseases. About 80% of the world’s population relies on animal and plant-based medicines. Also, major breakthroughs in the pharmaceutical industry have been made based on careful study of the biology and genetics of different species.
Biodiversity in the form of rainforest and oceans help absorb an estimated 50% of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere while fungi decomposes dead matter and help to enrich our soils with nutrients.
The world’s biodiversity provides raw materials for industries, serve as tourist attraction, has been a useful tool in education and research and finally provides great solace for man and evokes peace of mind.