The Earthly Reminder: What Humanity Must Change

Lyka Louisse Villaflores | 9 — St. Maximilian Kolbe| Staffer , John Christian Lacsi | 10 — St. John Paul II | Staffer

The deterioration of the world continues to accelerate as we, the people living on it, continue to utilize fossil fuels, oil, plastics, and other environmentally destructive materials. And throughout the years, scientists have been repeatedly calling for us to take action to save our dying planet. Currently, the world-sensational #LetTheEartheBreathe campaign reminds us again of our obligation as inhabitants of the planet to help save the Earth and restore it to its former glory.

The #LetTheEarthBreathe campaign began when over 1,000 scientists from 25 different countries staged protests to warn the public of catastrophic climate events in 2025 if people don’t cut off from their extensive use of greenhouse gas emissions. In Los Angeles, NASA Climate Scientist Peter Kalmus, along with a few other scientists, protested beside the JP Morgan Chase Building and were later arrested by the police. For context, a report from Forbes shared the report of the Rainforest Action Network which hailed JP Morgan Chase as the biggest funder of the fossil fuel industry.

“We’ve been trying to warn you guys for so many decades,” he said. “The scientists of the world have been ignored. And it’s gotta stop. We’re going to lose everything. And we’re not joking.”

Why should we care about this matter and take action? Mountain glaciers and rivers will start to disappear and mountainous regions will see more landslides, as the permafrost that held them together melts away. By 2100, sea levels could rise by a meter, displacing 10% of the world's population. Each day, the environment is worsening quickly, and this is mostly because of how humans abuse the natural resources and technology provided to them that damages the environment. As the planet gets destroyed, so will we. Our world's demise will also mark the end of our lives.

How you could help at the individual level.

Fire, spray cans, vehicle exhausts, and factory incinerators all emit harmful smoke that damages the ozone layer in the Earth’s atmosphere. These possess chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs that contain compounds of carbon, hydrogen, chlorine, and fluorine. When CFCs pluck out holes from the ozone layer, people and animals will experience more dangerous amounts of ultraviolet radiation and may suffer from forest fires, heat strokes, sunburns, skin cancer, eye cataracts, and immunodeficiency disorders. Wise electricity usage and avoiding riding cars whenever necessary are ways you can reduce CFCs in your own home.

Attain sustainability and its five factors: social effect, focused business strategy, economic viability, adaptability, and delivery capacity. To minimize environmental impact, implement recycling programs, decrease waste by reusing reusable products, support green merchants, conserve energy, and a variety of other measures.

Corporations and governments are also at fault.

Neighbors who overuse appliances and produce stellar priced electricity bills are not the only people who should be blamed; but many corporations who are accountable for environmental damages too. Individual contributions of reducing electricity usage and carbon emissions are not enough to make up a big impact in saving the planet. Corporations have mass produced everyday items that we consume and quickly throw away: food, plastics, and gadgets. The products that they create are one of the biggest causes of the destruction of the ozone layer and the possible calamitous effects of climate change. Simply avoiding the purchase of plastics and attaining to the 3R’s principle is not as equally efficient as forcing powerful companies to keep their system eco-friendly.

According to a report published by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), over 100 companies out of hundreds of thousands in the world have been responsible for 71% of the global greenhouse gas emissions since 1998. The report also revealed that 32% of emissions came from public investor-owned companies. Therefore, these investors are potential drivers to a more sustainable economy by providing their economic support to companies that are committed to decarbonizing energy production.

On the other hand, investors who are dedicated to companies using fossil fuels may be put at risk as the energy sector is rapidly transitioning to energy production methods that are less harmful to the environment. If these companies continue using fossil fuels like what they have been doing 28 years ago, it’s estimated that the global average temperature will rise by 4°C. Even with an increase of just 4°C, it could potentially result in the extinction of numerous species and food resources.

It’s important for high-earning corporations to hold the social responsibility of protecting the environment and sustaining natural resources to satisfy the needs of all humans and animals on Earth. Filthy businesses that accumulate too much raw materials and sacrifice the condition of the environment leave a bad mark on the planet’s health.

Sachet Economy

Surprisingly, the Philippines also contributes to the slow destruction of the environment despite having followed ‘no plastic’ ethics in some businesses and the trending use of eco-bags. There was a report published by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) which was entitled, “SACHET ECONOMY: Big Problems in Small Packets,” which suggests that sachets or single-use plastics show an overwhelming amount of purchase and use everyday because of its affordability and convenience. Though it may become convenient to people who live in poor conditions due to its inexpensiveness, doing cleanups in sachet-filled gutters and oceans decorated with plastic are expensive for a city’s budget. Additionally, they are much harder to recycle and reused.

Multinational companies are also able to exploit people living in lower socioeconomic brackets. By advertising sachets as a lot more affordable and easier to purchase, they can easily produce an unreasonable amount of plastic compared to small quantities of the actual consumable product. Having smaller packets of a certain product gives the people an impression that it is easier to ration than bigger containers. For example, buying a small bottle of soft drinks for each person is easier than buying an entire two or three larger bottles.

The country lacks an integrated national policy to limit the production of sachets, so the government must step up and provide solutions to the country’s plastic waste problem and pollution.

Eco-Fascism

Eco-Fascism is a more racially-targeted and illogical ideology where the protection of the environment may even cost the lives and comfort of other people. Because humans produce massive amounts of garbage that harm the environment, it can be justified by incorrectly blaming poor people or people of color for using plastics and non-renewable products without considering major polluting corporations. Most eco-fascists believe that the destruction of the environment is majorily caused by overpopulation, immigration, and over-industrialization, and the solution they came up with is through mass murder of refugees in Western countries. As summarized by Naomi Klein, an iconic progressive author, “It’s environmentalism through genocide.”

NFTs and Crypto damage the environment and affect communities, too.

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a cryptocurrency token that can take the shape of any file format online, whether it be an art, a meme, or a GIF. But the big problem here is that one NFT generates so much energy that could already damage the planet. NFTs are largely bought and sold in marketplaces like Nifty Gateway and SuperRare. Both of which use Ethereum, a cryptocurrency that is built on a system called “proof of work” that is unfortunately energy hungry. It can suck up as much electricity as the entire country of Libya!

A straightforward solution to the emissions problem of NFT is to have it run on clean energy. This is already starting to be implemented on cryptocurrency machines, however relying on renewable energy for these machines isn’t a perfect solution for cryptocurrencies, since it would be extremely energy intensive and this energy should rather be invested on something urgent like heating or lighting homes.

Environmental scientists have risked their own careers to make people realize how urgent it is to make up for the damages already done to the environment and immediately change our way of life. Over 212 Filipino environmental activists in the past two years were killed and injured for being accused of being rebels or communist sympathizers. Their lives were lost by protesting against the government’s plans of bringing more danger to the environment. The planet Earth is calling its inhabitants to help save the environment now more than ever.

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The OLPSianTimes PUBLICATION

The OLPSianTimes PUBLICATION

The Official School Publication of Our Lady of Peace School