“For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” Matthew 24:7
Brad Plumer recently posted his article in the Washington Post discussing how our global environment is getting worse. I want to join him by sharing with you some parts that I read from his article.
Most ecologists would agree that humans are plowing through the Earth’s natural resources at an unsustainable rate. The planet’s ecosystems are being hurt by us, and this is widely believed to have adverse consequences for human beings, but at the same time, humanity itself has never been better off. People are living longer, healthier, richer lives than ever before.
McGill’s Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne and his team studied this paradox by using their four big hypotheses to find out the disparity. I invite you to consider the following discussions:
1. Maybe humanity isn’t actually better off.
Perhaps the decline of ecosystem services is having an adverse effect on us and we just haven’t noticed them since it is not easy to prove with the data and knowledge that we currently have. The truth is we are experiencing a wide spread disaster around the world. What we begin to realize is we are heating up our planet with our carbon pollution from our greedy consumption. In 2010 the United States alone injected 1.5 billion tons of carbon and China added another 2.2 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. In fact, the Human Development Index shows us the inequality in area of life expectancy, education, poverty and disease. Maybe it is time that we should think wisely about how much we are consuming now and the difficulties that this will cause our children in the future.
2. Advances in food production are more important than anything else.
The advance of agro-industry has increased production through the extensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. There is wide-spread concern that this may disrupt the natural nitrogen cycle and may also deteriorate water tables. The increasing of world population forces us to feed 7 billion people with variety of foods, but my concern is that the technological advance that supports the food industry is in truth not serving humanity fairly. While an abundance of food is left untouched in household refrigerators millions people have no food to eat. The question is “Are the benefits we are receiving at the moment justified by the degradation of the global environment in the following decades?”
3. Technology makes us less dependent on ecosystem services.
We are able to grow more crops on less land and use advanced technology to make our lives more comfortable. The more we are able to invent new technology to please ourselves the more we overlook our dependence on the natural ecosystem. We may happily use advance technology to increase our speed of communication, but we also increase our miscommunication and distrust. If we continue using advanced technology without weighing the future cost we have to pay for the adverse effects in our natural ecosystem. What are our responsibilities to our children?
4. The worst impacts of ecosystem degradation are yet to come.
We are injecting more and more carbon into the atmosphere but it may take few decades before we can actually see the fully effects manifest into our future lives. Our ecological debts have not come due yet. Many researchers suggest that the effects from environmental degradation may seem to occur slowly, but it may have tipping points whereby suddenly and rapidly an irreversible shift takes hold. I presume that we have already experienced the high 40 plus Celsius temperature in this summer but wait to see what is going to happen next summer.
Samuel Wilson said “There is no doubt that environmentally related diseases will continue to pose problems in the future.“
And I totally agree with him that if we keep spoiling our natural environment we will have to face the new version of environmentally related diseases.
I pray God to have his mercy on us for our foolishness. J Amen