I know many, despite the evidence, still, don’t agree climate change is real and is happening faster because of the actions of humans.
If we put climate change aside and just look at other environmental issues, there is a lot that should concern us. We may not see the impact ourselves as we are toward the end of our lives, but these are huge issues for our grandchildren and their children.
Bees are dying. As pockets of greenery become less common and more isolated bees cannot move from one pocket to another. If their food source ends, or their home range becomes too hot or cold, they die as they have no escape. Scientists and farmers know they need to plant green corridors with flowering plants to enable bee movement, but there is little action. The consequence for humans is that once bee numbers drop to a critical level, we won’t be able to grow many food crops dependent on pollination by bees. Ironically some of the things that are killing our bees are pesticides and fungicides used by farmers. When the EU moved to ban one of the responsible products they were sued. Under an international trade agreement permitting free and unrestricted access to markets, cutting off the market for the benefit of your citizens and the environment contravened the agreement. No corporate concern was shown over their product’s damage to the future of agriculture, just concern o ver profit.
Fish may become too toxic to eat. Many of us have seen the distressing videos of bird colonies on uninhabited islands showing young birds dead from ingesting plastic scooped up in the ocean. The parents gather the pieces as they fish and then feed them unwittingly to the chicks. We can see these effects in the chicks as they are easily studied as they are flightless and congregated in a small area but the number of adult birds and other sea life dying as a consequence of our plastic is probably equally as high. The plastic in the ocean never disappears, and it spreads widely. The big items do break up into smaller and smaller particles, but it remains plastic and is ingested by fish. These minuscule plastic particles attract metals that are toxic to humans so as the fish take in these plastics the toxic metals like mercury are ingested too. The amount of plastic already in the oceans may be enough to cause fish to become too toxic for humans to eat safely but we add to it globally with few nations doing much to prevent it.
Extinction of some of our wildlife worldwide is getting ever closer. Hunting and habit destruction the main causes. Existing colonies of animals live in increasingly smaller pockets of land isolated from others of their kind that might exist. It has long been recognised that wildlife corridors need to be planted to allow the animals the means to move on to a new area and these isolated animals to breed with animals from a different location and increase the genetic diversity in their species. So far there has been little action except by individual farmers or landholders to do this.
There are so many other issues deforestation, pollution, water quality to name a few. When do we fix it?
In a democracy, it requires a vision our politicians seem incapable of. Their view of the future is the next election and no further. Any move to fix any of these issues may cost existing jobs or stop new jobs being created. The industry may suffer. I remember reading an article about those plastic rings that hold six-packs of beer together and are common in the US. There were endless photos showing dead animals entangled in these. Turtles deformed by the tight band of plastic caught up around their middle years before when they were much smaller. It seems incredibly easy, stop making and using them. Can’t be done was the cry it will cost jobs and investors will lose money as businesses close. Scientists have since come up with edible six-pack rings, so the consequence of irresponsible fishermen or hunters dropping off the rings instead of causing death will just give the fish or other animals a nice snack. Will the plastic rings be abandoned, I hope so.
I think it is time as voters we all became tinged a little green and told our politicians to fix it.
What do you think?
To write for Starts at 60 and potentially win a $20 voucher, send your articles to our Community Editor here.