Throughout history humans have made their mark on the planet. But an industrial revolution around the eighteen twenties took things to a new level. The earth’s population was around a billion and mass production lowered the cost of living. The population exploded to almost eight billion in two hundred years.
Fuelling this growth is a trillion barrels of oil. That’s 1,000,000,000,000 when written in figures. Fossil fuels push science forward but they also release vast quantities of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas which is dramatically accelerating the natural cycle of climate change.
To feed our ever expanding population we continue to cut down almost half the trees on earth, mainly to grow animal feed. Billions of animals are confined in factory systems where their innate behaviours are restricted. While this is happening on the land, the destruction in the oceans is equally devastating.
Mega trawlers scoop up entire schools of fish and drag the ocean floors. 90% of large fish are gone. The remaining marine life consume plastic from human rubbish. Chemical runoff from farms is causing ocean dead-zones. Desperate fishermen now travel further, with bigger nets but come back with less.
Extreme weather, droughts and famine are increasingly common. People are at risk of wars over resources. Many become refugees in search of a better life. Sometimes those who are struggling most are met with hostility as they cross borders into neighbouring territories.
Projections for the rest of the century aren’t good – things are set to get worse. Humans have achieved miracles, but have also caused this crisis. We need the same human ingenuity that helped to raise human living standards to move us into a new era of real sustainably for all lifeforms.
But there’s hope for mankind Let’s measure success in a new way. It’s time to put the planet before profit. We must give back to the environment while we live our lives and we can do this starting now. Let’s focus on what matters most – our green planet.