Save the planet

By Alicia Kharod. Alicia is a keen advocate for environmental issues from London, UK. *Shortlisted!*

In a world fixated on fossil fuels and revised economic systems, there’s no surprise that the individual comes first. However, is that truly more imperative than the world that mothers us? As humans we have a strong tendency to put our needs first; we always look for what benefits us. Ultimately this psychological mindset has blinded us from the more crucial matter at heart. What has happened to the world?

Year after year we are bombarded with scientific articles and headlines that put into perspective the reality of the world’s state. Despite the evidence presented, nearly everybody seems oblivious – but the truth is we are just lazy. As a generation we are facing the biggest challenge ever: climate change. No, this does not mean that you can go on more beach holidays and that only a polar bear will die. This means the Maldives will be submerged (now I have your attention); that malaria epidemics will spread all over Africa; hydro-meteorological events will increase; food shortages will occur; animals will die, and so will we. Everything that was once untouched will be irreplaceable or extinct. This is not hyperbole. This is the tragic future with which our children will be burdened.

Yes, there’s global inequality, exploitation, a worldwide financial crisis, existing food and water shortages. But how do we expect to solve these problems, if the world we live in will no longer exist to support us? The truth is focusing on individual life makes no logical sense when looking at the bigger picture and we certainly do not need a scientist to confirm that for us. As humans we risk ourselves being exposed to the violent tipping point of the environment. With no escape route or alternative place for life that is within reach or established, we need our planet. There is no ‘grey’ area when assessing this problem. It is evident that we are threatened by the hostile environment we began to create. Now what we need to do is written in ‘black’ and ‘white’. So why aren’t people acting on their light bulb moments?

“Slavery wasn’t a crisis until abolitionism turned it into one” – Naomi Klein. This quote can be adapted in the same way that if we stop acting oblivious to the planet and realise that climate change is worth the “effort” then it will receive the response it deserves. Saving the planet will no longer be dismissed. It will be at the forefront of revolutionising the world’s approach to solving complex issues. Saving the planet through climate change action can be the perfect catalyst to demand a change. We can start to take ownership of our natural resources and adopt sustainable strategies in order for more housing, food and water to be provided. We can start to reclaim our democracies from corrupt corporate leaders and create congruence between the wealthiest and the poorest, so much that the north-south divide will fail to exist. We, as the 7.4 billion people of the world, can restore the harmony between our planet and our generation. However, the only way to do this is to dispose of our selfish instincts to which we so profoundly cling.

At first glance, these prospects seem overly dramatic. Is it really possible for us to do any of that? I bet many of you readers are wondering. Procrastination is definitely every human’s forte. Bearing that in mind, it does seem quite ridiculous to assimilate such statements. Again though, this is the time to start registering the urgent looming crisis upon us. There is no point attempting to improve individual life when all efforts will be destroyed through a natural disaster. Although they are not as frequent as we tend to exaggerate, they certainly do have devastating impacts. Haven’t we learnt already nature will always dominate man? This leads me to the conclusion that saving the planet is without a doubt more important than improving individual life.

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