Chipping away at our natural treasures?
Like it or not, mankind doesn’t exist in a bubble, but is part of a wider system of plants, animals and other organisms. A change to one part of this ecosystem has repercussions for all other parts, and as we continue to make radical changes to the world around us, our own future hangs in the balance.
Nature provides us with essential life support services for free. We tend to take clean air, fresh water and food for granted, without realizing how valuable they are, but with intensive agriculture, pollution, deforestation and our overexploitation of the oceans, we are in the process of destroying the very resources we depend on.
Even more worryingly, once an ecosystem has been destroyed there is no turning back the clock. So with irreparable damage being inflicted on the Earth at an astonishing rate, we risk not only ruining the planet for plants and animals, but also sabotaging our own long-term interests.
An assault on nature?
Life on Earth faces numerous threats, many of which are manmade. The carbon dioxide emissions we have created by burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests have led to global warming, with serious consequences for our future. Luckily, nature can help! Ecosystems like oceans, forests and wetlands are natural ‘carbon sinks’ which can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. By protecting and restoring these ecosystems, we can help reduce global warming.
Once a species is extinct there is no way to bring it back. Yet sadly, thousands of species are now in danger of going the way of the Dodo. The Bluefin Tuna, for example, is threatened by overfishing. Read its story at Facebook - biodiversity or search for ‘biodiversity’ on Facebook.
What can you do?
Tread lightly on the Earth! For example:
- What do you eat? Try to favour local, seasonal and organic fruits and vegetables.
- How much do you consume? Think about how much "stuff" you really need. Remember, it all has to go somewhere in the end...
- What's nature worth to you? Treat nature as something we value!
Discover nature and enjoy it, but don’t forget to respect it as well.
Across the EU many landscapes, their plants and animal inhabitants are protected under the Natura 2000 network. This means that many wetlands, flower-rich meadows and even underground cave systems can only be developed in a way that respects the environment. To find a Natura 2000 site near you, check out: