Given the extinction crisis we’re facing, a day can seem a little like farting against thunder. (Sorry Sporty.)
She hates it when I use un-ladylike words on the blog.
Our planet is currently in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals — in the past half-billion years.
The last time things were this bad was when the the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago.
Scientists estimate that we are now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal rate. (What they’re calling a global species decline is actually more of a plummet.)
In the past, mass extinctions were the result of unavoidable events (asteroid strikes, volcanic eruptions, and natural climate shifts, etc.), but this one is our own doing.
Humans have been around for 6 million years, but civilisation as we know it is only 6000 years old.
We’ve got the biggest brains, the ability to reason and we make up a puny 0.01 percent of all life on the planet.
Despite this, we’ve made such a spectacular mess of things in such a short span of time that even the trees are trying to get away from us.
How utterly humiliating.
According to podcast host Josh Clark, the end of the world isn’t a given. He reckons we humans have a bright future ahead of us. Unless…
Here’s the caveat you were waiting for.
…the very thing that’s supposed to save us, accidentally wipes us out of existence instead. I’m going with the glass half full approach on this one. It’s just easier.
5 Things You Can Do for Earth Day 2019
I know, super helpful.
I’ve included some of our favourites below, but be sure to check out the rest of them as well. Every bit counts, so don’t just discount these ideas out of hand.
1. Take Action
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the face of our current challenges, but take action anyway. You can’t do everything, but you can do something. Go do that. Now.
Pro Tip: Apathy and inertia got us into this mess, action and purpose will get us out.
2. Clean up Your Community
Taking part in a beach or river cleanup is rewarding and a great way to meet new people. If you’re not keen on mingling, just go and pick up trash on your own.
Pro Tip: Take a bag with you on your next hike and fill it as you go. Easy peasy.
3. Plant a Tree
You can plant a tree yourself of get an organisation to plant one on your behalf. We get the guys at Greenpop to do our dirty work, but check with Google if there’s something in your ‘hood.
Pro Tip: Virtual trees make great gifts and you get to support your local tree NPO.
4. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
It’s easy to live in a bubble. One where our actions don’t seem that bad. But that’s what we’ve been doing and look where we are now. It’s time we held ourselves accountable.
Pro Tip: Not owning a car is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, you save money.
5. Compost Your Kitchen Scraps
Composting your kitchen scraps is relatively easy and it can be done even if you live in a studio apartment in the middle of the city.
The biggest barrier to entry is finding somewhere to drop them off. We’re fortunate to live close to the Oranjezicht City Farm, where they’re more than happy to take our old coffee grinds and banana peels off our hands.
Pro Tip: Use a compost accelerator to eliminate the possibility of ‘farm’ odours.
Can We Fight Climate Change?
The suggestions mentioned above, along with all the other how to tips included in the articles I linked to, are all common sense. It’s not that we don’t know how, it’s that we’re not doing enough.
Or, in some cases, nothing at all.
In the face of everything that’s happening right now, it’s easy to throw our hands in the air and say our actions won’t make a difference. But I disagree. I believe it is possible to fight climate change as an individual and I’m not the only one.
Thank God, else I wouldn’t have an article to link to.
The article lists eight ways to fight climate change, with reducing your food waste coming in as the #1 solution. In second place is our personal favourite: eating a plant-rich diet.
Other suggestions include supporting local farmers and swapping to LED lights (if you haven’t already).
One last thing, you may want to rethink your online shopping habits.
What We’re Working to Save
Diet, poor consumer choices, supporting the wildlife trade, these are just some of the ways we’re driving extinction.
They’re all lifestyle choices and it’s up to us not to buy into them. Instead, we need to work toward a sustainable Earth-human relationship.
This Manifesto for Earth shows us how to do that.