No PLANet B

We humans, started having massive advantage over plants once we developed agriculture. Around 12000 years ago, plants and trees were so abundant relative to us humans that we had no issue of balancing oxygen. Due to this stability of power over plants, our population went through the roof (7B today) but since our average lifespan is about 60-70 years today, we’re unaware of such long-term problems.

The problem of environment is not just the problem of global warming, not just the problem of animals being unable to survive due to us, not just the problem of fishes unable to reproduce due to extreme fishing depleting the resource by us.

Everything we use comes from nature and goes back to it.

It is the problem of all of the above combined and quite a lot more. Analysing from point of view of humankind, everything except humankind is nature. Everything we use comes from nature and goes back to it. The best way to stay in harmony with nature is to take material from nature, use it as much (longest time) as we can, give back to nature which the nature can use very fast(shortest time) and convert to form which we can use.

This is the very reason why plastic are so very harmful that their usage must be stopped at once. On an average, they take about 400 years to decompose. Every material that we take from nature should be analysed with respect to how much time it takes to merge back with nature. Typically, the tendency is, the more the purification process required, the more we take it away from it’s natural form, which makes it more difficult for nature to restore it back to natural form.

Nature is always gonna survive, whether in form of rocks, plants, cockroaches, oceans, or as hydrogen and helium. The only problem is whether we will survive or not? It’s a very common phenomenon in ecology that when a species becomes too successful, it changes it environment so much that it essentially destroys it’s own survival conditions. This happens because most species are not as conscious as humans and they change their survival conditions drastically! Surprisingly, we’re not so intelligent as we might think.

Nature is always gonna survive, whether in form of rocks, plants, cockroaches, oceans, or as hydrogen and helium. The only problem is whether we will survive or not? It’s a very common phenomenon in ecology that when a species becomes too successful, it changes it environment so much that it essentially destroys it’s own survival conditions.

What can we do?

Most of the things that we take from nature and give back to nature are consumables. These things form most solid waste on this earth. Let us choose the most eco-friendly (when disposed, most easily used by nature) things.

In my case, it consists of CO2 which comes out from the electricity which I use (coal power plants) and vehicle usage, food and drinks (not an issue), their packaging (plastic, metal and glass), furniture (wood), chemicals like adhesives, inks, mercury from thermometer, paints.

Once we list these items, targeting the most surviving waste and reducing the time by choosing an alternative which solves the problem makes the world better! Choosing paper instead of plastics, choosing bamboo (takes 5 years to grow mature bamboo) instead of wood (takes 80 years to grow), using all the materials as much as we can!

In today’s times, when business is cut-throat and public opinion is practically controlled by the powerful people through social media, in my view, change would come only through policymakers and enforcers (Civil Servants) of this. Some things, like the chemicals disposed from manufacturing plants and nuclear waste, can only be targeted by people in power. These issues exist today due to conflicting short term and long term rewards for people in power. Unfortunately, short term in this sense can possibly mean over the complete lifetime of the person in power which is not so short term for him.

These things aren’t optional! There is no planet B! Human beings have evolved for the conditions of earth’s environment which contain a million variables, and planning migration to other planets isn’t gonna work!

Read More: Limits to Growth : The 30 Year Update by Donella Meadows
Picture Credits: Bella@pixelfed.social licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

Sagar Acharya
1st January 2022