Ever-expanding cities, power and water hungry conglomerates are the order of the day. We live in a human-centric society where all of nature’s resources are considered for our consumption only. With little to no understanding of the need to conserve what is left, we are blindly running a race where we’ll only end up exhausted, forgetting that it’s a marathon with many more laps to come
By Arun Krishnamurthy / The Guardian /
The problems facing us are enormous, and yet the efforts being made to fight them are small and isolated. With many still unsure where their next meal is coming from, we can’t expect people to solely focus on wild animals and habitats – but at the same time, we can’t just wait patiently until every last human has all of the material comforts they desire and only then worry about our environment.
Technology has played a critical role in improving education and healthcare, and has enabled social empowerment. Passionate environmentalists such as myself must now harness technical innovations to replicate these successes in conservation. In the digital age, spreading awareness shouldn’t be a difficult task. The challenge is in putting scientists to better use in identifying solutions to the fresh challenges that come our way in conservation. We can’t afford to stick to age-old practices when new threats emerge every day. Our efforts in conservation can also not be isolated; everybody from the international to individual level must change the way they behave in order to ensure sustainability.
Most conservation efforts start with a bang, and fizzle out over the months or years due to a lack of support. This could be a lack of money, of public awareness, or even the in-depth knowledge needed to proceed further.
Innovation is key to sustainability
We need to reinvent ourselves and our project to ensure results. However, in the race to reinvent, ethics and values should never be compromised. It is vital that we align our causes together for a joint effort greater than the sum of its parts. Problems come about when individuals and organizations grow to become bigger than the cause itself. The cause needs to be the hero rather than us; we need to understand that the work gets done when the focus is on the work itself.
Reaching and maintaining a consensus of opinion, from governments to individuals, is the biggest challenge in conservation
We need to start looking beyond our own needs, because selfish use of new technology can only come back to haunt us. Most of us live in cities with unhealthy air and water, but we fail to worry much about these because we live in an age of false security. We fear the future in terms of cash reserves, and yet are blind to other threats coming our way.
If there’s a crisis
In the event of a food crisis, we would only know where to run and search for food, but not how to grow our own food. In the event of water scarcity, we only know how to protest and demand for it but not how to harvest and use it wisely. We are evolving into just being consumers and losing our human ingenuity.
We need to understand that our environmental conservation mission is not to protect the natural world around us, but to ensure that our future generations can continue to walk on the face of this planet
We are dependent on it for everything and we cannot disregard that fact due to urban arrogance. It’s time we did our bit, as we can no longer wait for that somebody else to bring positive change – we have to become that somebody.
Action in conservation is something that every mother and father should focus on, in addition to saving money for their children. We need to grow into a generation of responsible citizens who happily co-exist with other life. Humans hold a great power over the planet, and we have a duty to protect it.
Arun Krishnamurthy is founder of the Environmentalist Foundation of India, and was 2012 Rolex Young Laureate for the environment.