Saving the planet is more important than improving individual life

By Emily Jones. Emily, is a young writer from Middlesbrough, UK. *Shortlisted!*

There are over seven billion people living on the planet- and, yes, we all need this planet. It has the materials we need to build and develop, the gasses we need to breath, the ground that we need to grow food in and environments that provide uncountable amounts of goods and services. Even if there were better planets out there- which I’m sure somewhere in the universe there are- we don’t have the technology to reach them. I suppose what I’m really saying is: we have to save the planet, because we’d be in the deep without it.

Sure, you could devote the world’s energy to improving individual life, but where would that leave us? Cooped up in a fancy underground bunker filled with satin pillows and throws while the planet is outside dying, I’d guess. And we’d need the bunker too, because if the planet isn’t saved, it wouldn’t be able to support us anymore. That would be the result on focussing on improving individual life rather than the planet itself.

What would you say defined a good ‘life’? A good life for a person would likely include a home, clean drinking water, enough food to eat, simple sanitation facilities and freedom from wars and conflict. At least, this is what a good life would look like to someone in a poorer, undeveloped part of the world.

To someone like me and probably you, these things are just expected. We’ve never been without them. A good life for someone in a more developed country might include having a good job and hospitals near their homes. So, yes, individual life for some people does need to be made better and I am by no means saying that all the words social issues are not worth dealing with.

I’m saying that everything that makes life good comes from the planet anyway. No-one plucked clean drinking water from the middle of space, and when was the last time NASA found a chicken dinner floating around outside their shuttle?

If the issues regarding the planet were ignored and the planet became too damaged, then surely the things that could’ve improved our lives in the future would be damaged and perhaps gone too.

Sometimes improving individual life can cause more problems than it solves, too. A lot of people would say less unemployment would make life better, but to build factories would cause pollution, which is proven to be damaging to the planet. Now, imagine that this pollution killed cows, so there were less of them. Some people think eating meat is important to our health, and I‘d have to agree because humans are omnivores. But would we really go to causing the extinction of a whole species to slightly improve the quality of our current generation’s lives? The word for that, I think, would be selfish. I know my example is extreme and unrealistic, but I do hope it gets my point across.

Sustainability is the word of today. We can allow ourselves good lives, but we need to put a cap on where these improvements end, otherwise we’ll kill the planet and our ancestors will have lives so poor that the problem will only be worse than it ever has been before. Not only in poorer countries, either, people everywhere will suffer.

If the planet dies, we die.

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