Protecting our planet starts with you

22nd April 2021

UKZN Extended Learning

– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase

Many countries across the world refer to the earth as ‘Mother Earth’, as she is the beginning and has the potential to be the end of all life. This, therefore, highlights the type of relationship we should have with the earth as its inhabitants. On the 22nd of April, International Mother Earth Day is celebrated to remind us of the importance of preserving the earth and its ecosystems, by reducing the amount of waste and pollution emitted into the environment. This year’s theme in the format of an Earth Day Live digital event is ‘Restore our Earth’. Taking care of the planet should not be reserved for one day but should be an ongoing process and ingrained in our everyday lives.

Climate change is real and poses an imminent threat to humanity. This earth is the only one we have, and it is essentially our home. We must constantly try to make our world as habitable as possible for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. We have a responsibility as a society to address the needs of the environment and promote harmony socially and economically for generations to come.

The earth provides every resource for sustaining life. It is unfortunate that our activities, no matter how grand or minuscule, are causing irreversible damage to the environment. By taking care of this planet, we can improve our well-being, as a healthy environment improves our quality of our life. As it stands, the environment is deteriorating, oceans are being polluted with plastic and oil spills, forests are dying, and the ramifications of climate change are evident through the increase of natural disasters and extreme weather conditions that have affected millions. The pandemic has now added to the laundry list of man-made innovations that pollute the environment, especially with the introduction of disposable masks that are being discarded at a rapid rate.

The onus is on us to raise public responsibility regarding the well-being of our mother earth. Here are some simple choices you can make for a healthier environment:

  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle: Cut down on what you throw away
  • Volunteer: Volunteer for clean-ups in your community
  • Educate: When you further your education, you can help others understand the importance and value of our natural resources
  • Conserve water: The less water you use, the less runoff and wastewater that eventually end up in the ocean
  • Shop wisely: Buy less plastic and bring a reusable shopping bag
  • Use long-lasting light bulbs: Energy-efficient light bulbs reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Plant a tree: Trees provide food and oxygen. They help save energy, clean the air, and help combat climate change
  • Don’t send chemicals into our waterways: Choose non-toxic chemicals in the home and office
  • Share the United Nations Emissions Gap Report