Our planet is being plundered for its finite resources, smothered by pollution and buried by an ever increasing mountain of waste. The human population is increasing and the demand we place upon our planet is of course increasing with it. The natural world is gradually collapsing around us and the more we exploit it, the less chance there is that enough of it will survive into the future to support us.
Humanity faces some tough choices when it comes to population levels, and very likely will fail to make the right ones in time. This will ultimately play out in terms of natural selection, but that won’t be enough to save us if the climate has become uninhabitable in the meantime.
Whilst it may be possible at some point in the future for humanity to populate other planets, that is never going to be a realistic option in the time we have available, and in any event would not be an option for everyone. No, Earth is where we are, Earth’s climate is what we must concentrate on saving, and we must start doing it now.
Whether you consider the developed or developing parts of the world, no amount of finger wagging or legislation imposed by our governments will deter our demand for the latest technological innovations or labour saving devices. As long as that demand exists, manufacturing will try to meet it and our climate, and therefore we, will ultimately suffer the consequences.
We are all inhabitants and consumers of our planet, we are all responsible for the damage that has been, and is being done and we must all act now to save our climate, before it is too late. Failure to act now is unlikely harm us directly of course, but our descendants may be condemned to a legacy of unimaginable hardship. That would be inhuman, and that, we are not.
We have become far too comfortable with the concept of ‘disposable’ and that must change if we want to continue to populate this planet in the future, in the way that we do now. We cannot simply get a new climate. We must ensure that the one we have is sustained, and to do that we have to make everything last longer, thereby reducing waste and the demand for manufacturing and the consequent drain on our planets resources. We must no longer expect to be able to buy a replacement at the drop of a hat.
So what are we to do? Are we all to become eco-warriors, abandon our cars, stop washing and petition the government to act? Of course not, but if all of us as consumers start making small steps in the right direction, it is going to make a real difference in the years to come.
Wouldn’t an initial target of making everything last twice as long would be a great start?
What if you didn’t insist on having that new mobile phone as soon as you were eligible for an upgrade? If your current phone is working OK, hang on to it for a year or two.
Many people will replace a laptop or desktop computer when it starts to slow down, or develops some issues. These are often easily fixed and its useful lifetime extended.
TVs are an exciting technology and Smart TVs evolve at an alarming rate, with 4K or Ultra HD being raved about. But good old HD is still the current standard, and the technology for broadcasting 4K isn’t finalised yet. So if you buy a 4K TV today, it could well be obsolete in a year or so. If you don’t have to buy a new TV, don’t. If yours has broken down, then get it repaired instead of replacing it.
As typical consumers in the developed world our repeat purchases include everything from cars to cable ties and we spend millions on things we want, rather than need.
Next time you are about to throw something away, stop and think about it. Could it be mended? Could it be used for something else? Maybe someone else would have a use for it? Perhaps a charity would benefit from receiving it? Put yourself out instead of adding to the waste problem. Your grandchildren will appreciate your efforts.
If we all made everything last twice as long, and put up with some minor inconvenience but saved a few pounds along the way, think of the impact that would have on manufacturing and the demand for resources from our planet. Then, as we wouldn’t be buying so often, there would be more competition which would drive prices down.
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. Our Earth has been around for a lot longer than the human race and has dealt with a great deal of upheaval and turbulence over its 4.5 billion year history. It has been inhabited before and very likely will be again, long after the human race is consigned to the history books of the universe, or universes as they maybe.
Then there’s the human race that, young and naïve as it may be, has already achieved a great deal and will in all likelihood adapt to deal with significant climate change in whatever form it takes.
However, in the meantime we need to slow things down a bit and give our climate a break. Let’s give science and technology a chance to get their heads around the environmental challenges we are facing and the demands of humanity, so that we can go forward with confidence.
If we all act together, our small changes will hopefully give our climate the breathing space it needs.