We each have a very important individual role and responsibility towards the natural world and preserving the resources that we have in this world. Each person needs to take responsibility for themselves and their own actions in trying to preserve this beautiful planet for future generations. Some people may believe that environmental protection is not their problem, so they may ignore the issue all together. These people may believe that they are only one person, and that because they are only one person they will have no major impact on the earth, and therefore they have no reason to act environmentally responsible. Yet, people who believe that they have no impact on the environment are completely incorrect in their thinking.
Each person in the world can make a big difference in the state of the environment if we each make a few small changes. If every person changed just one habit to help the earth, then the impact that would occur would be outrageous and would have a great positive benefit on the environment. We all live, work, and play on the same planet. Each person needs to accept responsibility for their planet and make the changes necessary to keep the planet functioning for as long as possible. This can be as simple as using reusable bags at the grocery store, instead of filling up landfills with thousands and thousands of plastic bags, or using a refillable coffee cup, instead of throwing one away every time they drink a cup. These may seem like small and insignificant things, but if just one person in every family made the decision to do one good thing each day for the environment, the results would be extraordinary in protecting our greatest resources.
On our planet, there are many resources available to us, some are renewable and some are not. The wind is a great renewable resource to use, because we can harvest the energy and power of the wind without creating any waste. Other resources, such as oil, are not renewable and are harmful to the environment. The definition of the word resource, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, is a supply or support (Merriam-Webster.com). Here in America, and in other industrialized countries around the globe, we take advantage of the resources that are present, and are abusing them. Oil is a great example of one resource that is over used. Too many people are dependent on oil for a variety of things, including gasoline and heating sources. There is only a limited supply of this resource, but there is no sense of conservation in the American people. There are even many manmade resources that are being abused and are having a negative effect on the environment. There is a serious and dangerous level of overproduction of unnecessary products, and this is causing a tremendous amount of waste in our planet. It is also wasting non-renewable resources, such as oil, in the process of making these unnecessary things. This is driven by consumerism and is a very negative use of resources.
An example of this over-consumerism and greed that is damaging to the environment can be seen in the way that loggers in California are cutting down age-old redwood trees in their need for paychecks. There is no doubt that there are many people in this country who are in need of a job, and therefore jobs, even logging, are a necessary part of our world. Yet, the reason for the logging is driven by consumerism, and the need to over produce more and more, and this is an unnecessary aspect of logging. These age-old redwood trees are a treasure in our country, and should be protected from outside interference. While the extreme and childish action seen in the book Eco-Defense may be going a bit far, there is no questioning that something needs to be done to stop the unnecessary deforestation that is occurring throughout the country.
This example of over-consumerism can also be seen through the commercial fishing that occurs throughout the country, including the Gulf of Mexico. Many of the individuals who use commercial fishing as a means to make a living, feed their family, and pay their bills would say that it is just a necessary part of life, and that they are simply doing their jobs. The economical devastation that is caused by commercial fishing is not the direct fault of these individuals, and they should not be made to suffer by losing their jobs and not being able to feed their families. Yet, there are many aspects of the commercial fishing system that have damaging affects to the environment. Any waste, garbage, and fuel products that are released into the ocean from the fishing vessels are hurting the ecosystem of the marine animals, including the fish off of the Gulf of Mexico. These waste products are directing hurting the population of fish that these fishermen rely on for their paychecks. The question that rises, is that are these fisherman trying to simply to their job and catch fish to be sold for food in America, or are they greedy individuals who are pulling up more fish than our culture demands?
Dave Foreman, author of Eco-Defense, would argue that we are invading the territory of these animals and that these fishermen are ruthless in their profession. He may suggest, rightfully so, that this problem begins and ends in the government officials and legislation that exist within our country. Although many individuals and politicians say that they stand for ecological and environmental protection, they do not take any actions, whether severe or mild, to make a difference in the world they live in. If each person would take a stand, and legislators and law makers would stick to their word, we could all work together to make our planet more sustainable. This may seem idealistic to some, but doing one small thing each day is an easy and effective way to make our planet last for future generations to come.
“Resource” Meriam-Webster Dictionary. Online Edition. Accessed 27 July 2012.