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Soil erosion threatens modern society as surely as it did with other civilizations long since vanished. Although more than 99% of the world’s food comes from the soil, experts estimate that each year many acres of crop land are degraded or lost as rain and wind sweep away topsoil. Actually, societies in the past had collapsed or completely disappeared because of soil problems. Easter Island in the Pacific is a famous example, and also the Maya civilization. There are many scientific evidences that even a small change in soil could be harmful.
The changes in temperature but particularly in rainfall to be expected as a result of global warming are subject to major uncertainties for several reasons. Also effects of climate change on soils through CO2-induced increases in growth rates or water-use efficiencies, through sea-level rise, through climate-induced decrease or increase in vegetative cover, or a change in human influence on soils because of the changes in options for the farmer, for example, may well each be greater than direct effects on soils of higher temperatures or greater rainfall variability and larger or smaller rainfall totals. But the most dangerous changes in soils are changes by direct human action like deforestation, chemical emissions and urban construction.
As you can read in the article The mirror of our fate, “the parallels among Easter Island, the Maya and modern world are chillingly obvious”. However the media is focused on climate change, fuel problems and forest fires, but not on the soil because it is less spectacular. But reality is that in Iceland, for example, about 50% of the soil ended up in the sea. And an area big enough to feed Europe has been so severely degraded it cannot produce food, according to UN figures. So we need to take action before it is too late. Is it possible to balance human society with our planet’s ecological needs? I’ve been pondering this question for a while now. Icelandic society survived only through a drastically lower standard of living. Perhaps, we here in Americans are taking too much for granted.
Nature is not simply a warehouse of resources to serve our needs. Rather, it is a highly integrated, interdependent functioning system upon which all life forms, including the soil, water, plants, animals and humans depend for survival. As a result, it is necessary for us to treat the natural environment with love and respect. The recent Paris accord on global climate change is a key step in acknowledging limits to human actions, but the challenge of respecting the limits remains underrated. Society and conservation science have tried unsuccessfully to resolve this need. In my opinion, there is a need for a technological “greening” of the economy which imply developing ways to reduce our dependence on nonrenewable energy and resources to produce goods and services.
The first step is to admit that other interests than human ones should be taken into account. Then, facing the huge uncertainties about how to respect and enhance opportunities for the rest of the living world, we should explore, experiment, and deliberate collectively. Here, the ecological limits of the planet can give both a moral motivation for respecting nature and an indication about how to do this.
Indeed, the present disruptive condition of the whole planet is a symptom of our troubled relationship with other living organisms and, at the same time, an indicator of the paths to follow to rebuild and balance this relationship. The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert or a millionaire to make your contribution. Everyone can help to do their bit for the environment. In other words, if each of us can be more conscious of environmental issues and willing to take some simple steps to save the Planet, we can make it. Unless that you want end living like a real character of the movie The Lorax, in a world that aside from the human citizens, is completely artificial; where everything is made of plastic, metal, or synthetics with no living plants, you have to take responsibility for our planet.
Nowadays, with increasing environmental awareness among the public, people around the world are coming together to fight for a greener future, and the effort has achieved great results. We have to live a life dedicated and committed to improve and take care of our surrounding environment, by providing practical tips to your community, children, family members, friends and neighbors on the things they can do to live more sustainably. Let’s save the Earth so that future generations don’t have to live like environmentalist Audrey, yearning to see a “real tree”.
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