The Power is in our Hands

Did you watch the ‘Our Planet’ series on Netflix with Sir David Attenborough? Everyone was talking about the walruses diving off the cliffs, it was a harrowing watch. But it was the most successful documentary Netflix has ever created. [1]

     

The makers have produced a special cut of the series for corporates to use in order to engage with their employees over the topic of sustainability, and it had an extremely important message that I would like to share with you.

Why do we need to change?

Since 1970, we have seen populations of vertebrates shrink, on average, by 60%. [2]

 

We are at risk of losing 1 million species on this planet. [3] 

Almost half the planet’s forests have been felled for timber and land. [4]

 

We have lost over 90% of oceanic predators, and fish populations have crashed by over 50% in the last 4 decades. [5]

 

Over 90% of people on the planet breathe dangerously polluted air [6]

‘Today we have become the greatest threat to the health of our planet. We are the first generation to know with certainty the damage we are doing, and we are the last generation to have chance to put things right’ – Our Planet.

How are we going to save our planet?

The climate crisis has been brought about because the human population has seen an explosive amount of growth, in both population and technology.

We have thrived so well because of the natural resources we have at our disposal. But now those resources are very quickly depleting, and we have to work hard to ensure our natural world can recover.

We must use our own intelligence and technology and create a positive outlook for this world. We are at a fork in the road of human history, and the road we choose now will determine the future of the whole planet.

We have 10 years to alter our path and avoid catastrophic changes to our planet; but we are in with a chance of saving ourselves if we act now, and act fast.

Will the natural world be able to recover?

Yes, if we give it the opportunity to. It has recovered before.

Since commercial whaling was banned over 30 years ago, we have seen whale populations bounce back.

In protected oceans, we have seen the biomass of fish increase by over 400% in just 4 years.

We are reinventing the way we use the world’s resources.

Waste is just a resource in the wrong place

One example of this is how we have changed fish farming. Half of the fish we eat comes from farmed fish, which used to be fed by smaller fish caught from the ocean. But now we take food waste from hotels and hospitals, allow soldier flies to feed on this waste and then feed the larvae of these flies to the fish. This is a fantastic example of how we have used intelligence and problem solving to create a circular economy.

 

So what can I do?

The key is for everyone to face the crisis we are currently facing. We can shift our mind set and redefine how the world works to ensure we still have a world in generations to come.

We may have caused the problem, but we are going to be part of the solution too. This will take the joint efforts of everyone from individuals to big corporations, from small businesses to governments.

‘Nature once determined how we survive. Now, we determine how nature survives’ – Sir David Attenborough

It is a natural reaction to hide from the ugly truth. No one likes looking at photos of birds being strangled by plastic, or children living in heavily polluted conditions. But if we accept the situation we are in and take steps we are personally able to take, together we can emerge from the dark and look to a brighter future.

‘Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times. If one only remembers to turn on the light’ Albus Dumbledore.

[1] Our Planet Series 

[2] WWF Living Planet Report 2018  

WWF. 2018. Living Planet Report - 2018: Aiming Higher. Grooten, M. and Almond, R.E.A.(Eds). WWF, Gland, Switzerland.

[3] Macroenvironmental - The Sixth Great Extinction Event is Happening Now.

Graph adapted from IUCN data presented in Coballos et al 2015

[4] My world my rules - Deforestation 

[5] WWF - Living Blue Planet Report

WWF. 2015. Living Blue Planet Report. Species, habitats and human well-being. [Tanzer, J., Phua, C., Lawrence, A., Gonzales, A., Roxburgh, T. and P. Gamblin (Eds)]. WWF, Gland, Switzerland.

[6] World Health Organisation 

 


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