In our blog posts here at Davidson Environmental, we focus a lot of our topics on different environmental issues and what we as society can do to lessen our environmental burden. As an inherently environmental company, we uphold the on-going idea that protecting the environment is something that everyone collectively wants to participate in. However, why should we as a society feel compelled to protect the environment? What makes it so important that we must compromise our conveniences all in the name of environmental protection? We aim to answer and discuss these questions, as the more we are able to educate people on environmental issues, the more we can help the environment. We hope to provide our readers with information that reinforces why it is so important, as a community, to be more environmentally aware in our everyday lives.
So, why is the environment so important? This is an all-encompassing question that really has no ‘right’ answer. On a very basic level, there is value in maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment because we as a global society heavily rely on the environment for our own health, well-being and basic human needs. There are very few purchases, tasks, chores, or jobs that we as humans do that do not have any environmental impact. From your daily commute to the dinner on your plate (and everything in between), every choice we make in our lifestyle has an impact on the environment in some way or another. These impacts differ from task to task, and even from lifestyle to lifestyle, but we are all reliant on the environment.
Issues such as air and water pollution, global warming, climate change, deforestation, wildfires, and general natural resource depletion are all environmental hazards induced by humans, and yet, they are all issues that impact humans. Humans rely on the environment much more than we think we do, for example:
- Without access to healthy, unpolluted air, we would all suffer from lung/cardiac related illnesses. We need trees and plants to clean our air and replenish oxygen for us all to breathe, but also require there to be less pollutants released into the air so that this balance of replenishment can be sustained.
- Without access to unpolluted freshwater resources, our most basic needs cannot be met. This includes drinking and eating (not to consider showering, cleanliness, disease prevention). Without fresh clean water, we cannot even sustain our own lives and our most basic necessities.
- Climate change and global warming are impacting the way in which we experience weather patterns and natural disasters. As we continue to release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the more unpredictable (and honestly scary) our weather gets.
- Natural resource depletion, in general, is amongst the most worrisome environmental issues that society currently faces, as it is connected to almost every other environmental matter listed above. Everything we consume requires some level of natural resource depletion and at the current rate of consumption, the earth is not able to replenish these resources fast enough for our use.
In a worst-case scenario situation, in which government intervention, company innovation and human effort has not been successful in reducing environmental impact, we will be faced with dramatic lifestyle changes that could hinder future generations and humanity as a whole. For example, if we overuse and over pollute our freshwater resources, we will have a water scarcity issue (this is something other countries are already facing), where food and water will be a luxury instead of a basic human necessity. Although water is one of our most important resources, many of us take it for granted as it comes out of our taps when we want/need it. This can be applied to every natural resource, the overuse of them will lead to a scarcity issue where society will have to either pivot to come up with an alternative or go without. In some circumstances, going without means that society will no longer exist. This may seem extreme, but it is reality. This extreme, but realistic, scenario reinforces that making small sacrifices, in the name of environmental protection, seem minimal.
Based on these human necessities alone, it is critical that we protect the environment and its ecosystems to protect humanity as a whole. Without the environment, we would not be able to sustain human life. Given this, it is our moral obligation to reduce our impact and use as little resources as possible so that there is enough to sustain others and the future generations.
Most of the larger environmental issues, such as those listed above, are perpetuated by smaller impacts that we as humans have contributed to through our daily lifestyles. The big picture issue when it comes to environmental degradation is that it is the earth and the environment that are sustaining the livelihoods of 7 billion people. With the rate of consumption that this population size requires (based on established lifestyle patterns), the earth is not able to keep up to the demand. As a global society, we are depleting the earth’s natural resources 10x faster than they are able to be replenished. So, it is not that you specifically are using too many resources (although many North American lifestyles do perpetuate an overuse of natural resources), it is that you and the other 7 billion people on the planet need to utilize those resources as well.
The idea behind environmental protection and awareness is to lessen our environmental impact as much as possible, for the greater good. Generally operating under a utilitarian approach, environmental protection from an individual level is to ‘take one for the team’ so to speak, so that others and future generations have the ability to live well. If we all made compromises in our everyday lives to decrease our natural resource use (or consume less, recycle more, etc.) then we would be able to lessen our environmental impact and hopefully give way for the earth to properly replenish.
Younger generations (35 and below, realistically) have already established environmental outlooks to their lifestyles, for the most part, or are at least educated in the impacts we have as humans. It is these generations that are pushing forward in the battle against environmental degradation and have lobbied companies to ‘think outside of the box’ to adopt innovative products to assist in environmental protection. It is important that companies and individuals alike, continue on this path of environmental awareness and protection within their everyday lives to sustain impactful change.
Based on all the above, I challenge you to think about how your life impacts the environment, based on the purchases you make and tasks you accomplish. There are things that we can all do in our everyday lives that can either help or hinder environmental protection. To be environmentally aware is to apply environmentalism to aspects of our lives that perhaps we would not consider being impactful on the environment. It is the daily choices we make that have the ability to make these changes. Curbing small habits or consumption patterns can make a difference.
This is where you may think – how can I, one individual, make a difference when everyone else just goes forward with the same impactful lifestyle? It is hard to believe or see the benefits right away, but you are able to make a difference one change at a time. There are others who are like-minded, making the same sacrifices and compromises that you are. It is this group of like-minded people that will drive the change, and every individual that joins this group, further reinforces the reduced impact.
‘Ignorance is bliss’ is often said. This phrase reinforces the ability to ignore environmental degradation and continue making lifestyle choices that do not consider the environment. Realistically, how can one ignore environmental issues when they are happening all around us. Instead, I say, ‘with knowledge there is power’ and we have the opportunity to implement environmental awareness into our daily lives to better ourselves, our community and the environment. Guided by ethics and moral obligation, we can give back to the environment that has sacrificed so much for us. By making small changes in our lives, we can make a difference!
Read some of our other blogs on ways that you can make these changes to have a more sustainable future for you and future generations.