In our childhood, we all have heard a story of a foolish man trying to cut the branch of a tree on which he was sitting. As he cut the branch, he fell from the tree. The whole of humanity is now making the same mistake.
For our survival, we rely entirely upon the natural ecosystem and biodiversity of the planet. We know that if some species or natural resources are extinguished, our existence will also be threatened. Knowing everything, we are still harming the environment.
Nowadays, the existence of many species is under threat. Many have become extinct, and others are becoming rare day by day. There are several causes of extinctions like changes to the earth’s atmosphere, changes in the positioning of the continents, collisions, and cataclysms like different volcanic events, etc. But most environmentalists agree that the current rate of mass extinction is the result of the activities of the Homo sapiens or modern human beings. It is often said that the human-induced extinction rate is 100 to 1000 times faster than past natural rates (before the arrival of homo sapiens on earth).
Exponential population growth, pollution, excessive greenhouse gas emissions, overhunting, overfishing, deforestation, conversion of natural ecosystems into agricultural lands, urbanization, etc., are the leading causes of human-caused extinction. Humans are not only the cause of the extinction of species; they are also the cause of the destruction of natural resources. Dodo bird, Steller’s sea cow, passenger pigeon, great auk, etc., were extinguished due to humans. Many species like tiger, sea whale, giant tortoise, mountain gorilla, Indian elephant, Ganges River dolphin, Asian elephant, etc., are now endangered.
Overexploitation of Natural Resources
The utilitarian behaviour of people results in the overexploitation of natural resources. Degradation of the environment is done at a massive rate for the economic growth of the so-called civilized people. Energy consumption has increased rapidly during the 20th Century. With increased energy consumption, fossil fuels, coal, oil, and other natural gases have also increased a lot. As a result of intensive agriculture, humans are ruined terrestrial ecosystems. Deforestation, degradation of the aquatic ecosystem, different types of pollution, over-extraction of subsoil minerals and precious metals, etc., have several consequences on the environment.
We all know that natural resources are not limitless. Our careless attitude and excessive consumption of natural resources cause climate crisis, desertification, forced migration, extinction of species, soil erosion, greenhouse gas emission, global warming, water, and air pollution, ozone depletion, minerals, and metals depletion, and several other natural disasters.
The term’ intergenerational responsibility’ suggests the duty of the present generation for the benefit of coming generations. Human being claims to be the greatest and most intelligent animal on earth. To prove our claim right, we must change our careless attitude towards nature. We should start working on environmental sustainability as soon as possible. In terms of climate change, destruction of natural resources, and animal extinction present generation of people has some responsibility for future generations. We should limit deforestation and stop greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the above-said problems. We must protect and preserve the environment so that our forthcoming generations don’t suffer from severe environmental disasters.
A recent study that was published in Science under the title of ‘Intergenerational inequities in exposure to climate extremes’ found that children born in 2021 will have to experience “life on a planet with seven times more heat heatwaves as many wildfires, and almost three times as many droughts, river floods, and crop failures as people born 60 years ago did”.
To minimize the burden on our future generations, we must work towards climate change reversal. We should take sympathetic measures to prevent animal extinction. We must remember that natural ecosystems, including all animals and plants, play a vital role in keeping us alive. If we cannot save them out of sympathy, at least we should take care of them for the sake of our survival.