ONLY ONE EARTH: LIVING SUSTAINABLY IN HARMONY WITH NATURE
On June 5, #WorldEnvironmentDay will celebrate its 50th anniversary with the theme "Only One Earth". The Philippine Online Student Tambayan, along with 150 countries, various businesses, and different organizations, is participating to spread awareness about living sustainably and raise awareness about the importance of taking action to protect the only home we have—Earth.
THERE IS NO PLANET B
500 years ago, when grass was greener, we didn’t know that there were other planets in the solar system. Our forefathers believed that the ground we walk on was the boundary between heaven and hell. Our ancestors believed that this was already the “universe” and that everything else revolved around us. Perhaps it’s not a bad idea after all. Even though science says otherwise, our ancestors were right that there was only one Earth. Because of this, they valued nature and viewed man’s actions that harm nature as sin. Life was simple, and man lived in harmony with nature.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
Roughly one-third of the world’s farmland has become unusable; approximately 87 percent of the world’s inland wetlands have vanished since 1700, and about one-third of the kinds of fish have been overharvested. The proof that Earth is currently in a “code red” condition is everywhere, and it is only getting worse over time. We can feel it in the over-crowded cities, the extreme summer heat, the unpredictable rain cycle, and the declining numbers of animals.
The Philippines is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. We lie in the world’s most typhoon-prone region, averaging 19-20 typhoons each year, of which 7-9 make landfall. Sea levels in the Philippines are rising faster than the global average, increasing the hazard posed by storm surges and threatening permanent inundation of low-lying areas. In the Philippines, more than half of greenhouse gas emissions come from the energy sector, followed by agriculture, industrial processes, waste, and land-use change and forestry.
As such, while our government must deal with other major problems like the pandemic, unemployment, inflation, corruption, etc., the issues hounding our environment cannot be overlooked. After all, solving those major problems will not make sense if our one Earth is no longer habitable.
Meanwhile, as responsible citizens, we must do our share. And the question we should be asking ourselves now is: How do we prepare ourselves and our children for a world that is undergoing such extraordinary changes and severe uncertainty?
MAKE SUSTAINABILITY THE STANDARD WAY OF LIVING
Let’s all first make sense of the word “sustainability”. Sustainability is a concept that recognizes that the world has scarce resources and aims to find a way to supply our needs without further harming our ultimate source—Nature.
Sustainability starts with oneself
At present, we are now at the point of making sense of the information and acting upon it. Sustainability should start with oneself. Even young students can be taught how to practice simple sustainability like reusing and reducing. Here are some of the simple things where you can practice sustainability:
- Switch off lights that are not in use/Do not turn on the lights if it’s not important.
- Unplug power sources that are not in use.
- Reduce your device’s screen time to extend battery life and reduce electricity consumption.
- If possible, walk instead of driving to work.
- Invest in good-quality items so you don’t throw things away often.
- Invest in reusable items.
- Use reusable cups, straws, and utensils when eating outside.
- Use social media to raise awareness about sustainable living and promote local stores with sustainable concepts.
Practical Guide (worldenvironmentday.global)
Did You Know? (worldenvironmentday.global)
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Cover art by Angelica Flores Juan