We should all be environmentalists
By Olivia P. Livingstone
In the past decades, just behind the headlines about politics, jobs, crimes, and other lasting media topics, there has been a steady barrage of news item about environmental problems; ranging from Climate Change to Marine Pollution.
Environmental issues have rapidly and pervasively entered the popular consciousness and political discourse of our time and I am certain that you are familiar with these issues. You have heard or experienced some of them.
Now, the question is, have you ever sat and thought about the factors that lead to these problems and worsen them? Have you thought of ways in which these problems can be mitigated or curtailed? Or do you just brush it aside as the “environmentalists” problem, and since it falls within their remit, they will take care of it? Similar to the kind of situation where you consciously contribute to generating the waste but expect someone to clean it up for you? Is that how you perceive Environmental Issues?
Well, if you fall into this category, this article is dedicated to you. Now, I am not entirely blaming you for being indifferent to environmental issues and this is partly because of the scant or no information you have received that relates to environmental issues, especially in our Liberian setting where there are so many problems to focus on that people tend to overlook environmental issues because they do not measure up as significant as the other cardinal issues on their list of preference.
Now, this article does not seek to automatically transform you into an environmentalist or an expert in a day’s time. Instead, it seeks to evoke an emotional response powerful enough to stem within you interest for your natural environment and how you can make it a safer and better place for you, your future generation, and all forms of life that exist here.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, an environmentalist is “a person who is concerned about protecting the environment.” This implies that if you are not an environmentalist, you are simply someone who lacks concern for protecting the environment. To lack, this concern equates to being indifferent to the fact that you need the environment to survive and thrive.
Every single person in this world should be concerned about the state of our environment, regardless of age, religion, political affiliation, cultural belief, etc. because in the end, we all need clean air, clean water, food, aesthetics, and all of the other natural resources and services that nature selflessly gives us.
Being an environmentalist entails that you have an innate sense of care for nature. The care that restraints you from throwing a plastic bag on the street because it may end up in the Ocean and hamper the marine ecosystem. The care that prevents you from cutting down the trees in your backyard because it provides ecological services for you and your family. Those are some of the simple things that it requires.
Being an environmentalist means that you are devoted to keeping the environment clean and safe. It implies that you are an advocate for nature. A lover of the natural world, a friend to all species, and a naturalist. It necessitates being morally obligated to protecting our common earth and her inhabitants. It frowns on viewing the world through anthropocentric lenses and encourages us to be tolerant of all other forms of life on earth because we are all interconnected and interdependent.
Once you become an environmentalist, you acquire a vivid understanding of how important your surrounding is and you start to lead the change by taking individual actions to protect the environment and start encouraging others to emulate. There is an eclectic list of things that you can do to mitigate these problems. You could read more on deforestation, marine pollution, and environmental crisis and become an advocate. You can desist from using the wetlands as dumpsites. You can stop cutting down trees and mangroves. You can firmly decide to never throw a plastic bag in the streets again, you can clean and manage your waste by generating less waste. You can use reusable shopping bags every time you go shopping. You can conduct clean-up campaigns.
There are actually thousands of little things that you can do to contribute immensely to protecting the environment. Remember, change does not have to be big, it can start right with your voice and your passion to protect this earth.
It is now or never. The detrimental effects of environmental deterioration on the human race are evident in the frequent occurrences of floods, tsunamis, mudslides, earthquakes, cyclones, etc. I believe that we can all become environmentalists. We need to become environmentalists. If not for ourselves, then for our children, and for all the other forms of life that cannot stand for themselves. We have only one earth. We need to protect this earth and we can only achieve that if we are all environmentalists.