“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” Robert Swan
The statistics are mind-boggling:
- In 2016, the world’s’ cities generated over 2 billion tonnes of solid waste, amounting to a footprint of 0.74 kilograms per person per day. This is only expected to increase.
- An estimated five trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year. Globally only 9% of plastic ever produced has been recycled, whilst 79% can now be found in landfills, dumps or the environment.12% has been incinerated.
- 9 out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air. An estimated 7 million people die every year from air pollution.
- 3.6 billion of the global population live in potentially water-stressed areas. With the current climate change scenario, between 24 million and 700 million people will be displaced by 2030 due to water scarcity.
As an environmentalist… these figures terrify me. What will the status of this Earth be in 2050? What kind of a world are my future grandchildren going to inherit? Will they have clean water to drink and pure air to breathe? How many more species of wildlife will be extinct within a few decades? However, there is some light on the horizon.
As a consumer… it is heartening to notice big and small brands trying to make a difference. Plastic bags, in many companies, are becoming a thing of the past. Restaurants are doing away with plastic straws. Eco-friendly options are being installed in existing buildings and green offices are springing up.
As a traveller… I am pleased to witness an increasing number of hotels and lodges adopting an eco-conscious approach. By example, the last safari lodge I visited was completely off the grid, running off solar power and generators and eliminating disposable materials in lieu of reusable items. This ensures that guests can wallow in luxury while enjoying a truly sustainable safari experience. Another hotel I visited, featured advanced solar, wind and water-harvesting as well as rainwater recycling technologies. It’s green features included an eco-pool, a vertical garden and power-generating gym equipment. I am more likely to support these establishments.
As a mother… I am gratified to note that the younger generations are being inculcated with an eco-conscious mindset from an early age these days. My children constantly bring home assignments and projects which focus on developing this mindset. This year, we have learnt to separate our household trash and dispose of it in a manner that will reduce our carbon footprint.
What can you do?
Small steps lead to big changes. Here are some changes you can make to your lifestyle which will help the environment.
- Reduce your household waste and separate it. Reuse and recycle as much as possible.
- Start a compost bin to get rid of kitchen waste responsibly
- Conserve water. Take quick showers instead of baths.
- Use reusable containers and items instead of disposable options.
- Be aware of what resources you are using and make environmentally friendly choices that will reduce this usage eg. Turning off lights when leaving the room and using energy-efficient lighting.
- Plant trees around your home. We need trees for clean air, food and shelter.
- Use fuel-efficient travel options when travelling. Walk, use public transport or car-pool if possible.
- Buy locally grown products or plant food in your backyard.
- Support companies that care for the environment and avoid those that don’t.
- Raise awareness of environmental issues to educate others.
As the Native Americans believe, we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children so let’s return it to them in as pristine a condition as possible.
This is my entry into the Yellow Zebra Safaris and Asilia Africa competition to win a trip to Kenya.