The Earth of the 21st Century
Written by Anna Głębocka
High school student
Author of activist texts promoting ecology and tolerance
The year 2020 entered our lives exactly 10 months
ago. And, admittedly, it did it with great (and somewhat frightening) momentum. After all, the coronavirus is no joke, is it? The pandemic has turned our heads so badly that we would probably prefer to deal only with it. However, this does not change the fact that this is not the only problem that affects us or will affect us in the near future, if we do not do anything about it.
We live in very uncertain times - the condition of our land is deteriorating every day, every hour, even every minute. For so many years we have lived carefree, not worrying about what will happen next, that you might think that the only thing we can do at this point is to hold our heads and wait for us to die in the flames.
Well, admittedly, it's a bit of a gloomy vision. But unfortunately in some ways true.
We are already experiencing the consequences of the climate disaster. From numerous fires, through centuries of drought, to mass extinctions.
From childhood, us- the younger generations were told that we still have so much time and we don't have to worry that we won't have enough of it. We were told that we would live to a hundred in these days, because that’s the way it will be this days. And not even a while ago most of us would be able to believe in it in 100%. But not now.
Not now, when we see the beginnings of a climate catastrophe around us. Not now, when Venice was flooded only a few months ago, while Australia and the Amazon were consumed by fires. Not now, when one species of animals is irreversibly disappearing from Earth every 25 minutes.
According to research prepared for the international ecological organization WWF, over the past 50 years, the fauna population has decreased by 60%, and every day we contribute to its increasing decline. And although we discover more and more new species of animals every day, we also lose more and more known species every day. We contributed to such a drastic decline not only by cutting down rainforests, unsustainable fishing and poaching, but also by such "trifles" as dumping plastic bags or plastic bottles and the like into the forests. In short: we destroy the natural environment, then cut it down without remorse and build brand new highways in its place.
Unfortunately, apart from problems such as the climate catastrophe and overexploitation of the natural environment, there is another very serious one, called: garbage.
And this is garbage of various kinds: from waste paper, through metal and glass, to plastic (unfortunately, already famous and glorified by our society).
Instead of using biodegradable or recyclable materials that we could reuse, we are still using the cheapest plastics that will bring the most profit to corporations. And a large part of the waste ends up not in bins or landfills, but outside them.
One of the largest garbage islands is located in the Pacific. According to research by The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, it is made of 99% plastic and covers an area of approximately 1,600,000 km2. For comparison - the area of Poland is 312,679 km2.
But while our prognosis is not ideal we still have time to change that. During the coronavirus pandemic, we showed that we can act under time pressure. We put the economy on hold for our security. If we were able to do this, we should also be able to change our lifestyle to save our species and much more. While it may seem that our pleas, our cries for help, are useless, people's awareness of climate change, plastic and the overuse of nature is growing.
Unfortunately, changing only ourselves will not save the Earth. And although there are more and more companies on the market that actually try to act for the benefit of our planet, still not all companies, not even the majority. Therefore, we need to change the system. Let us go to protests, let us put pressure on politicians, let us do our best to be listened to at last. Although we are young, we have a lot to say. And it is us who will feel the effects of today's decisions in the future. So while we can still make a difference, we have to put our whole hearts into it. Because change has to come at last. And it's up to us when it happens ...
And will it not be too late.