ONLY ONE EARTH by Jean Karari and Jemmy Waigumo
On Sunday, 5th June 2020, the world celebrated Nature for the many resources it provides to us. World Environmental Day was first celebrated in 1973, a symbolic event aimed at raising awareness of climate change action as well as enhancing cooperation and leadership of the international community in conservation. 50 years on, we hold this day as a reminder that we are to be good stewards of the greatest gift given to us by God. OUR ONE EARTH.
The universe is faced with a triple threat of Climate disruption, Nature and biodiversity loss; and Pollution and waste. Billions of flora and fauna exist on earth and many more are birthed every passing second. Between them, there exists a complex interdependence without which the survival of all organisms is threatened. Human beings are among the greatest and fastest consumers of what nature offers, sadly at a rate faster than they can replenish the same.
With climate change being on the rise, global temperatures have risen exponentially, by 1.5oc. There is an increase in the illegal wildlife trade, as is in Water Sea-levels. Rural and urban communities no longer have the freshwater streams that had for long provided water to households, and our lakes have become dirtier and more toxic. We continue to witness the mass extinction of organisms within nature’s ecosystem. Our once clear skylines are patterned with toxic fumes coming from industries that are, HYPOTHETICALLY, supposed to make our lives better- yet they aren’t.
All these points to irresponsible behaviors and desire by man to develop- coming at a VERY HIGH cost. In the past decade, countries have pledged to increase climate recovery budgets- yet this seems insufficient to effectively combat climate change. There is infact- an urgent need for collaborative corrective action in dealing with this crisis, now an existential one
This year’s theme is centered on safeguarding the ONE EARTH that we have, a call to ensure that our actions are aimed at replenishing mother earth. This is a call to change our attitudes when using what nature offers- a change in our attitudes towards conservation.
While some interventions require large-scale approaches, at our personal level we can act and speak up. We can plant trees, and ensure that they grow to help decarbonize the atmosphere. We can also sensitize our friends and family and create awareness for others to do the same. We must rid our surroundings of waste, which finds its way into our rivers and farms. We can embrace sustainable agriculture to ensure that food production mechanisms do not harm the environment. In the words of John Paul II, The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship We Must deliberately express our love for nature by protecting it, and sustainably using what it offers. We must ensure that all that depend on it- equally receive their fair share of its provision.