How far do we go? 

If you hadn’t heard already, there are a lot of things that the human race is currently doing that aren’t exactly environmentally friendly. CO2 has reached its highest levels since records began, we are facing our first mass extinction since the dinosaurs, and we are running out of fossil fuels to burn, to name but a few.

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It goes without saying that all of these issues are huge and affect us massively as well as the general health of the planet that we call home. This is a very current issue and it is something that is being discussed, and needs to continue to be discussed but more importantly acted upon!

But that’s the thing, are we doing everything we should be expected to do?

Is everybody aware of the problem?

Mainstream media is always obsessing over celebrities, fashion, new tech, and many other subjects that I, personally, am entirely disinterested by. Does the constant distraction of celebrity romance and the latest style trends mean that people aren’t being made aware of the issues mentioned above? Or are they just not interested?

Or, does the problem lie in that not everybody has access to mainstream media? For example, in 2015 there were 3.2 billion people with access to the Internet meaning around 4.1 billion people were without this dispenser of news. So perhaps the majority aren’t actually aware of the problem and therefore don’t know whether they should be changing their ways to become more environmentally sustainable. Then there are the people who can’t afford to do things differently.

Going back to mainstream media, of the people who do have access to it, the chances are that some aren’t paying attention to what they are being told; one study has shown that only 6% of Americans actually trust the media. Maybe the world needs to see undeniable evidence that the planet is struggling under the pressure of continual abuse of natural resources.

It is apparent that people are becoming slightly more conscious of the problems, so environmentalists need to keep pushing, spurring on this change that will ultimately result in a better world for us to live in.

How is this possible without media? The easiest thing to do is for people to talk to others about the problems. Simply pointing out the trouble that our environment is in can be enough to change the way your friend thinks. Getting people outdoors is even more important.

Getting people out into nature is the best way to start appreciating it

Getting people out into nature is the best way to start appreciating it

Seeing the world they live in and appreciating everything that lives there allows them to make that connection with buying environmentally friendly bread and the bumblebees they see in their gardens. Otherwise we’ll just have to wait until we can no longer breathe without oxygen masks!

Are people acting to combat our negative impact?

It could be argued that people are learning from past mistakes. We’ve got rid of harmful chemicals from pesticides, we’ve changed the way in which we manage landscapes and we have started to become more sustainable in our use of resources. But have we learnt enough?

There are still harmful chemicals being used such as neonicotinoids, rainforest continues to be depleted at a staggering rate with very little attempt at replanting it, and there is still massive food wastage. The world is still struggling; we still aren’t listening to the alarm bells rung by Mother Nature.

Saving the planet starts at home - recycling is an easy way to begin so long as it's done properly

Saving the planet starts at home – recycling is an easy way to begin so long as it’s done properly

I see friends on Facebook sharing pictures with captions about extinction, pollution, poor treatment of animals, climate change, and many other issues. Are they acting on these issues that they are clearly aware of? How many people actually recycle their refuse properly? How many people refrain from travelling by car? Who donates money to conservation organisations to help with the ongoing effort to stop poachers? It really isn’t possible to say for certain, but from what can be seen in any city centre, not many people are going to the effort of helping to save our planet.

As far as changing our ways is concerned, it’s easiest to continue to make little changes at a time. For example, the whole human race going vegan seems a little far fetched, but raising awareness about how unsustainable meat production is, and encouraging others to eat less meat will make a big difference as more and more people become more aware of the environmental benefits that this comes with.

But what should be expected?

Recycling some of our waste, trying to refrain from throwing out food, lift-sharing when it suits: we really aren’t straining ourselves too much when it comes to sacrificing our comfort in order to save the planet. Or is that all we should really be expected to do?

Many will be adamant that if they sacrificed anything else then they could not function properly. However, is it really that big a sacrifice to take extra time to check where food is being sourced from or to refrain from driving short distances? Of course, this could go further and we could all go vegan, grow our own food, and all cycle but as already mentioned, this is probably a little unrealistic.

The point is…

The human race collectively could (and therefore should) be doing more than it currently is in my opinion. It appears the human race is perfectly aware of the problem, but isn’t doing a whole lot about it. Do we have to wait until that crisis moment before things change?