The Way Forward!

Assessing ecological interactions is key in understanding the various hazards and natural disasters we experience daily. The frequent numbers of earthquakes, disease outbreaks, mudslides and other natural hazards are signs that the earth is been depleted beyond its standard. The earth is adapting to an introduced weather pattern, a pattern that was created by us. The USA, and other nations that are in lock down, are now being beautified with a clear blue sky; a person’s decision to use clean energy can relieve the air of toxic chemicals.

Are Humans prepared to change for a changing climate?

Now this is the question! Psychology says: an animal can adapt to his environment and undergo changes in their behavior patterns, this doesn’t seem the same for humans. So, if we should analyze the possibility for humans mutating their behaviors for a changing climate, we stand a chance to achieve a changed attitude. The Sustainable Development Goals failed to address ecopsychology. The Goals should mainstream the human psychological approach to environmental issues. How they respond to adaptation. This can enhance the prospects of it been achieved. Ecological Psychology examines the mental relationship of people as they inter-relate with the environment, it helps in understanding the functions of the brain and how changes in behavior can accelerate the process of adaptation and mitigation for a changing climate. The application of eco-psychological research findings can decrease frequent environmental hazards and lower its risk exposure. The architects of the SDGs need to understand that people can be constrained to allow immoral behaviors to override their ethics, at some point in time. If a man lives along the forest border, he surely will see the forest as his only means of survival. Environmental Mental Health can address major processes that form the customary social practices in communities.

Philosophers have studied how the activities of humans are as a result of free will forces or determinism. The science of Free will and determinism can help us grasp the behavior of people, as it relates to the decision they make. Children can make a free will decision to raise a dog (as a pet) and protect it from harm, while external determinism can impact them in seeing dogs as meat. The interaction between man and his environment is more psychological than physical or literature. People who practice deforestation, open burning or other forms of environmental degradation have options to do the right thing but restrain from doing it. Why? Circumstances surrounding a person’s personal history of doing these activities makes destroying resources their norm.

Do natural disturbances disturb our mindset? Sugarloaf Mountain, Sierra Leone; Wuhan, China.

We always surpass our boundaries; going beyond the borders that nature have set for us. We carry on unsustainable mining practices, using chemicals like cyanides to extract resources, all in a quest to advance technology and enhance development. Sugarloaf Mountain (Sierra Leone), in the year 2017 experienced a disastrous morning, a day that took the lives of many. People built their homes at the edge of the mountain slope and when the rain came, they were swept off. In December 2019 a site survey was done in this same location, there were saplings present, reforestation had just started. But even at the early stage of these plants’ life, construction materials were found, buildings were about to be established! Was it that they did not learn from the previous tragedy? Or maybe because it is a developing country. But let’s look at our present happenings. China recently experienced a drop in covid19 and within that same week, they went back to their wet markets? Is it that humans’ mentality revolves around nature degradation? If Sustainable Development is the goal for 2030, are these the objectives of reaching them? We cut down trees |the primary producers| to carry on construction, we are replacing nature! If a pandemic can’t teach us, then Humans should be preparing for a catastrophic from Mother Earth.

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Building Construction materials at Sugarloaf Mountain Sierra Leone. Photo by Anthonette Quayee

The Need for Humans to Understand their role in Nature.

Over the past 3.5 billion years of life on Planet Earth, various kinds of energies have evolved; these energies have resulted into several kinds of lives on the planet. With humans being the most dominated life form, detrimentally to us, we have given our race ownership over every other life form. The high fecundity rate of our species has cause disruption in the Earth’s natural order. Humans ability to realize the impacts from their actions on this planet, has placed us in a subjective position as guardian and managers of Earth’s resources. With this right to own and manage these natural resources, our duty to protect them from degradation and depletion is definitely imposed (The Earth Charter Preamble). The increase in human population has converted several ecosystem forms. Natural forests have been changed to agricultural lands (meadows and pastures, inclusive), natural mangrove swamps have been changed to industrial sites, and these industries are emitting harmful gasses into the atmosphere, causing much more depreciation in the natural air quality. As the population increases, more pressure is placed on the resources to fuel our sustainability.

With the outset of technology and increased knowledge, we have misunderstood our roles within the ecosystem. We tend to be a ‘crowned head’ rather than a ‘guardian’. Our actions have resulted into catastrophic and unprecedented events; these events have led to global warming, disease outbreaks…etc. Humans have ignored their impacts on the natural environment over the past decades. Deliberately or accidentally we have caused the alterations in the weather pattern; and introduced non-native species to different ecosystems. Our actions have triggered the depletion of the ozone layer and increase radiations from the sunlight. From all evidence, it is time for our race to put a pause on industrialization and focus on understanding the idea of interdependency. The duty given to us from both the religious and scientific background, was never to own, but to manage. Managing our resources will create a new system, a system that will renew our mindset and help us in adapting to sustainability. Over the past twenty years, from the introduction of the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals, we have believed that the change we need is more theoretical and should be gradual. But with the onset of these present activities, the World needs to understand the change that is needed. These theoretical changes need to be applied from a changed mindset with in an instant. The time for implementation can no longer be adjourn, the earth is signaling us to take an action now. Our actions to either leave it or conserve it, is no longer up to us; the environment is demanding us. These demands have shown itself in forms of uncontrolled disease outbreaks, climate change, cataclysmic earthquakes, droughts; and we are still waiting! Why are we waiting?

A Call for Action!

The World is experiencing increasing rates of environmental hazards as a result of globalization. And there is no guarantee of reduction in these events, we can only work towards lessening the magnitude of their impacts. Our present relationship with the earth needs to be re-evaluated. The Sustainable Development Goals have been on the table for way too long, it has elapsed its theoretical timeframe. If actions are not taken now, our grandchildren will see the Environment in a densely depleted form. Conventions, conferences, webinars and several others have straightened and developed our minds over the past decades. The actions we take now will display the content of knowledge we have attained over the past years. As we enter a new decade (along with a new virus), the earth is calling on us for action. With the form of penalties that we’re confronting, there should be no more wasted time; we have reached the era of implementation.

Conclusion

As of 1980, there were 4 billion (plus) of us on this planet. Ten years later, we reached 5 billion (plus). We are now 7 billion plus. Are we the only inhabitants of this planet? The quantity of offspring that we are producing over this short period of time, is causing harm to our only planet. We have recognized our failures towards managing earth’s resources, but our need of excessive resources, has stopped us from applying the rightful measures. The human race has moved from a viable economy to one of greed and exploitation; we have overshadowed the survival of life forms.

In order for the Earth to be well balanced, it is essential that we now place a limit on reproduction. We must beckon to a new beginning, one that shall incorporate all species as interdependent resources. The loss of species at each trophic level have altered the composition of several ecological cycles, including the food chain and food web. Common resources like water cannot even meet the needs of this present population, thus causing water scarcity on every continent. Earth, the only planet that support several forms of lives, is under threat due to greed and exploitation of the Human’s race. We must change our mindset and applied these changes to our everyday routine; only by that way, we can save all species.

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