At dawn when we look at beautiful sunrise or the full moon in the night, do we realise that these natural phenomenon have been recurring every day for past 4.5 billion years here on Earth and will continue to do so, at least for the next 5 billion years as well.
Our Environmental Heritage
While our ancestors appeared on Earth about 6 million years back, the modern form of humans only evolved about 200,000 years ago. And what a beautiful Earth we inherited, pure air to breathe, abundant fresh water to drink, plenty of food to forage, brimming rivers, snowcapped mountains, expansive blue seas, the green foliage of the massive forests along with a rich biodiversity of 8 million sibling species of flora and fauna.
Mother Nature created a very fine intricate yet delicate ecosystem wherein every member of the flora and fauna species played a vital role in its sustenance. Every species draws from and contributes to the ecosystem in which it exists, in ways we cannot imagine. Whales store carbon from the atmosphere. Species like the helmeted hornbill fly thousands of miles and disperse seeds. Many tree species are germinated through the digestive systems of herbivorous mammals such as deer, antelope, elephants etc. Pangolins aerate soils to maintain soil health; and big cats weed out unhealthy prey to ensure their herd vitality.
Under the careful watch of Mother Earth, whatever be the climatic conditions, we not only survive but also thrive. We as human race, have risen from being one among the species to be the one to now lead the Earth.
The Human Legacy
Our civilisation as we know it is only about 6,000 years old. We have accomplished much in that short time. However, during the same period, the damage and destruction we have done to satiate our greed is immense. Rivers & oceans have been polluted, forests have been burnt, flora & fauna and the ecosystem destroyed:
- Forests which are home to more than 80% of all terrestrial animals, plants and insects also soak up the carbon dioxide. Globally, however, they are being deforested at the rate of with 7 million hectares/ year – an area roughly the size of Portugal.
- Farmed poultry today makes up 70% of all birds on the planet and 60% of all mammals on Earth are livestock, mostly cattle and pigs, 36% are human. Resultantly, there are just 30% of wild birds and 4% are wild animals remaining.
- Up to 1 million animal and plant species are currently threatened with extinction, the fastest rate in recorded human history.
The Way Ahead
We have created the ecological catastrophe in a very short time period, a blip on the Earth’s timeline. Recognising our immaturity Mother Nature, the Earth, is now taking the matter into her own hands. During the last 3 months, she has cleaned up the air, purified the rivers and have liberated the flora and fauna.
So, what’s next, you may ask?
Well, she has shown us the way and now, it’s up to us. We can either learn from her and achieve harmony or ignore her and face the music alone.
The choice is ours alone!
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