The Earth, our mother, our home, the foundation of life itself, is stressed as a result of our actions and the way we live, so out of harmony with nature and with our natural selves. We can choose to ignore what is happening but once we learn the facts about the state of the planet and comprehend our part in this sorry state, we have no choice but to act.
The facts are that at our current rate of consumption we need three planets to sustain ourselves; by 2040, when the population breaks through the nine billion barrier, it will be five planets. Landfills are under pressure to the point where waste is now put on to massive container ships, sailed across the seas and “sold” to any bidders, or simply dumped. In the deepest and most remote areas of our oceans, we now find heavy metals and all the waste of the world. Fish become scarce and algae (a vital element of our food chain, a carbon sequestrator and oxygen producer) disappear. Already one-third of the planet’s population does not have access to sufficient water and a billion go to bed hungry at night.
The pressure to produce the food required to feed 6.3-billion — and counting — is also leading to less safe and healthy food. Mad-cow beef, genetically modified vegetables, spinach high in E coli, or staphlococcal chicken anyone?
Mass production is leading to less diversity and increasing the use of maize-based food. A problem with monoculture is that when disease or pests hit a density of the same plants, they hit hard and there is little resilience to keep sustainability. So we need food security, food safety and food sovereignty. For those of us fortunate to have access to the world in our supermarkets: know that these foods are being transported thousands of kilometres, at a heavy carbon cost. The average carrot travels 2??855?km just to reach your dinner plate.
The facts are that at our current rate of consumption we need three planets to sustain ourselves
We cannot escape the interconnectedness of everything on the planet. Don’t think that if you leave the lights on, run the water while you brush your teeth and reduce your footprint, it doesn’t count. We can all start with seemingly small actions such as recycling or, better still, reducing and reusing what we can.
We are already experiencing the ominous effects of climate change, the result of our inexorable spiral away from understanding our part in sustaining this jewel of a planet we live on. The saddest effect of climate change is that on the billions of vulnerable poor — 66% of those affected by climate-related disasters in developing economies are women.
It is women, though, who are the solution, and on whom the hope of the planet lies. It is women — our sisters and mothers — who are naturally in accord with the elements and are the stewards of the natural world. Think about it. Rural women across the world need to nurture the Earth to feed their families. Despite the fact that their access to land and property is mostly severely limited, women intuitively understand the need to care for their environment.
Women in particular, as creative and passionate advocates of change, have shown that they are more than ready to make the world a better place for all. Indeed, we all want change, as is evident in the increasing civil unrest across the Middle East and Europe, where ordinary citizens are making their voices heard.
So, as we celebrate being women, we who nurture and produce life, food and shelter, let us also celebrate Mother Earth by giving her the respect and love she requires. The result will be our wellbeing, hope for our children and avoidance of a bleak future.
— Jeunesse Park