We all know something has gone seriously wrong in our world.
Ocean pollution, deforestation, climate change, overfishing, littering… we could list as many man-caused environmental problems as there are letters in the alphabet.
An Ocean of plastic.
It is said that 95% of the ocean remains unexplored, which means amazing discoveries are still possible.
But will there still be something left to discover?
Experts say that if we don’t work to stop biodiversity’s decline, the world’s ocean will be empty of fish by 2048. Thanks overfishing, pollution and climate change…
A shorter time-frame? By 2025, there could be more than 1 ton of plastic for every 3 tons of fish in the ocean. As the saying goes, there is plenty of fi… plastic in the ocean.
Even though they represent only 0.025% of the 8 million tons of plastic that pollute the ocean, getting rid of them is easy and doesn’t require a big change of behaviour.
So, why are more than 500 million straws used every day, in the US alone?
But if the main target of awareness campaigns only represents such a small percentage of ocean pollution, where does all that nasty trash come from?
Did you say plastic bottles?
According to a study from The Ocean Cleanup, almost most of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (world’s largest floating trash island) come from abandoned fishing nets and gear.
And this is a double-edge knife. This abandoned “ghost gear” keeps trapping and killing marine wildlife.
Illustration by Ed Dingli
Whether industrial, from households or individual, is nothing but an act of laziness and ignorance.
An act of laziness that has not only an environmental, but also an economic cost.
People need to understand that with littering comes consequences. It affects plants and animals but also tourism and safety. Littered streets and surroundings tend to be abandoned, by both tourists and locals.
Nobody enjoys having a Sunday walk in a waste ground…
Most litter that isn’t picked up in the street by birds and animals ends up carried by wind and rain into rivers and drains that lead to… the ocean. Yes, disposing of an “innocent” single piece of trash in a street that is dirty anyway causes more harm that it seems. You might as well throw your trash directly to the ocean.
That’s why governments allocate a huge budget in cleaning up that mess. And you know what it means right? Yes, as a good taxpayer, you pay for the litter of the others.
By the way, did you know that cigarette butts make about half of the litter on the street? And contrary to popular belief, they don’t decompose in a few days… bur rather 10 years.
Our planet doesn’t need an haircut…
Forests, lungs of our planet, home for billions of people and animals… are under attack. Every year, we are destroying the equivalent of 27 soccer fields every minute.
Half the size of England… gone.
The main cause of deforestation is agriculture. Farmers burn or cut down trees to make more room for crops and livestock.
Are the farmers guilty? Or rather the hungry bellies of a growing population?
The second cause is logging. A huge amount of trees are cut down for producing palm oil and paper and wood items.
Or for building illegal roads to access remote forests or for providing new houses to that growing population.
And the victims are numerous.
The main victims are obviously the forests, but the tropical rainforests are hit the most. They may be completely gone within less than 100 years.
By destroying forests, we are also destroying the home of millions of endangered species. And most won’t survive that disaster.
Finally, some may not care about such events that take place thousands of kilometres away. But deforestation also plays a big role in global warming.
Trees are kind of a carbon sink, they absorb the greenhouse gases that would normally reach the atmosphere. But when trees are cut down, it reduces the amount of carbon absorbed, and dead trees also release carbon dioxide into the air.
Speaking of global warming.
It is proven than human activities are changing the natural greenhouse and thus warming the planet.
Causes are numerous, but burning fossil fuels, deforestation and farming are the most impactful.
It’s time to start thinking: What’s the future we want our children to live in?
But let’s stick to the present, because the thing is: future is already happening!
The greenhouse effect is warming our planet, the ocean included. Which leads to an increasing sea level due to melting glaciers and icy surfaces. While humanity still remains safe from that event, we can’t say the same for polar bears.
Sea ice is their natural habitat and hunting ground. The increasing loss of their habitat forces them to travel further to hunt and many die from hunger or drowning.
It shouldn’t be their job to adapt…
Humanity needs to start thinking and focusing on what really matters.
Who’s the real danger after all?