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The 3 values that can save the planet

My first lobstering experience was on Hurricane Island, off the coast of Maine, in the summer of 2019. It was an intriguing experience for me and the rest of my team. On that bright and beautiful morning, we sailed from the island, a little way off the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, and began lobster hunting. Some traps were pre-set, we only needed to pull them up, one after the other. We pulled up our first trap and it was filled up with a variety of lobsters, crabs and cockerels. We were so excited. But, therein lies one of the most amazing lessons about environmental sustainability, that I would love to share with you.

Our Instructor was not as excited as we were. He said, “The fact that your trap caught them doesn’t make them yours.” But, why? It’s called responsibility and integrity, and he explained, “If it’s too small, a very big male, or a female with eggs, it’s not a catch. We have to throw them back.” Really? Yes, which simply implies knowing your boundaries. Without these values, we endanger not just lobsters but other species which in turn has an affect on our ecosystem. We’re all connected. But nobody was there with us, we could have just taken them all. That is the point about sustainable practices. Most actions that are degrading our precious planet occur where no one is at risk of being arrested or fined. Of course, nobody would throw trash into the ocean or mix compost with recyclables in their home if the police were watching. So, then, it comes down to personal Responsibility, Integrity and Knowing our boundaries. I tag it operation ‘RIK our resources’.

Our planet has been generous to us, providing all that we require for life, but in return we are meant to take care of it in order to sustain it. The planet has been treated as a limitless reservoir of resources for our enjoyment, but it’s far from it. It’s a give and take to keep it going smoothly. And, our actions go a long way.

This brings us to sustainability, i.e. to meet our needs and the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It’s no news that the global population keeps growing, this simply means more demands on our planet’s resources. Depletion of resources without replenishing equals to loss of resources. Think about the law of demand and supply. Hence, you and I need to take ownership and be more responsible in sustaining these resources. Remember the lesson from our instructor, that is just one of many actions we can take to help restore our planet. We need to make it a lifestyle, and teach it to our children and the people around us.

What are these resources?

The Earth’s natural assets are made up of plants, animals, land, water, the atmosphere and humans, all interdependent on each other to sustain the ecosystem. Hence, if there is an environmental crisis, our health and livelihoods are at risk too. The fallout from climate change is a good example of this.

The natural environment affects everybody. It influences our wellbeing, and our ability to supply adequate food, clean water and energy. For instance, the impact of agriculture on the environment has to do with the agricultural practices employed, e.g. use of pesticides, fertilization methods, irrigation problems, pollution, deforestation, etc. And this, in turn, has adverse effects on the water, climate, air, plants, animals, people and the food itself.

You may say, “But agriculture is important for humans to survive.” Then the question would be, “How can we meet human needs in a way that preserves nature and biodiversity?” Solutions are possible when the Challenges have been identified, and challenges are solved when everybody takes responsibility to act.

Below are a few practical ways we can ‘RIK’ our resources for sustainability.

  • If you cut a tree, you must plant another one. That’s sustainable, and helps to continue the supply of oxygen the old tree was giving to the environment. If we reuse or recycle old items, we reduce the consumption of resources for producing that item. Not only that, the amount of carbon released into the environment during production drops, leading to better air quality, more ozone layer, and improved climate. Since climate change affects the world, then the planet is better off. Look at that! We can see how little actions can turn into a global action, and little solutions became a global solution. So, we can be part of the solution.

  • Farmers should adopt organic farming, which is a multifaceted sustainable agriculture practice that can have a lower impact on the environment. Also, innovative production practices are coming up with ways to produce more and better crops with less resources.

  • Don’t waste food, water and energy. We need to learn to manage resources.

  • Avoid purchasing products made from the skin, fur, bone, shell, beak or hooves of an animal in danger of extinction. This will discourage those perpetrating illegal killings.

  • Only buy products that you need. This will reduce the demand for that product and eventually reduce its manufacturing thus saving numerous species of plants and animals.

  • Go for locally made products, because transportation can increase air pollution.

  • Go for organic fruits and vegetables.

  • Go for clean and renewable energy.

  • Avoid bush burning.

  • Go for products from companies that are eco-friendly (check labels, internet).

  • Educate others.

The world needs to act, but if you and I do not act, who will?

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