Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

From Global Destruction to Regeneration

EarthWISE—Megan Quinn Bachman

Any honest look at the state of our planet will conjure up such headlines as “Unprecedented Global Climate Changes Threaten Survival of Modern Civilization,” “Global Oil Production Stalls Out at All-Time High and May Soon Collapse,” “Natural Resources Diminishing Faster Than They Can Be Replenished” and “Mass Extinction Event Not Seen Since Time of Dinosaurs Underway.”

And any honest assessment of the root causes of these crises identify humanity’s over-consumptive, out-of-balance, unsustainable way of life. But when it comes to solutions, how often are they of sufficient scale to turn the tide? Usually we get simple lists, such as the top ten ways to save the planet, with the endlessly repetitive recommendations to change light bulbs, properly inflate tires, and, of course, recycle various household items.

That we need massive and immediate cuts in our carbon dioxide emissions and fossil fuel use is not the message of environmental alarmists but many of the world’s governments and top scientists. At a meeting of the Group of Eight nations in July, world leaders agreed to cut emissions by 80 percent by 2050. President Obama has promised as much, adding the need to begin now by making deep reductions by 2020.

Time is running out. But we can’t say we haven’t been warned.

In 1972 the Club of Rome’s monumental study, Limits to Growth, projected population growth and resource depletion and informed us we were outstripping the earth’s carrying capacity. In 1969 Shell geologist M. King Hubbert projected that worldwide oil production would peak around the year 2000 and diminish toward exhaustion. And in 1987 the United Nation’s Brundtland Commission urged sustainable development, defining it as meeting the “needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Yet in each year since these warnings, the ability of the earth’s resources to sustain its fast-growing population has been degraded, our industrial society has continued to consume oil and other fossil fuels as if supplies were endless, and the needs of the future have been compromised for the unbridled, excessive consumption of today.

The human prospect grows dim while the planet is ravaged. But dwelling on such dismal statistics as the fact that one-quarter of all coral reefs are gone or constantly lamenting the plight of the polar bears and the more than 100 species that go extinct every day doesn’t change a thing.

As the proverb goes, the best time for planting a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. So let’s embark on a massive grass roots effort to adopt the real solutions to the huge problems we face.

These include anything that drastically curtails personal energy use such as retrofitting our homes and businesses, reduces the need for the transport of goods or people, such as relocalizing agriculture and other production, or increases the amount of time spent on low-energy, communal activities, such as community gardening or a bike ride.

These are the solutions we’ll explore in more detail in future columns. But beyond facts and figures, you’ll read stories of the eco-pioneers who are transforming their lives—and those around them. May you be inspired to transform yours too.

Together we can halt global destruction, but only if we begin global regeneration. Even if we never live to experience it, living harmlessly and harmoniously in balance with nature should be our greatest aspiration. It is our birthright. And it is our only hope.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A pipeline being constructed in Pennsylvania. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday mandating federal agencies bypass key environmental reviews of energy and infrastructure projects.
Read More Show Less
A coke storage area is seen as steam rises from the quench towers at the US Steel Clairton Works on Jan. 21, 2020, in Clairton, Pennsylvania. White plumes of smoke billow above western Pennsylvania's rolling hills as scorching ovens bake coal, which rolls in by the trainload along the Monongahela River. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's claim that the U.S. has the cleanest air and water in the world has been widely refuted by statistics showing harmful levels of pollution. Now, a new biannual ranking released by researchers at Yale and Columbia finds that the U.S. is nowhere near the top in environmental performance, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Students walk by a sign reading "Climate Change" at the Doctor Tolosa Latour public school in Madrid, Spain on Sept. 9, 2014. In the U.S., New Jersey will be the first state to make the climate crisis part of its curriculum for all K-12 students. PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP via Getty Images

New Jersey has invested in the future health of the planet by making sure the next generation of adults knows how human activity has had a deleterious effect on the planet. The state will be the first in the nation to make the climate crisis as part of its curriculum for all students, from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade, as NorthJersey.com reported.

Read More Show Less
Some reservations are reporting infection rates many times higher than those observed in the general U.S. population. grandriver / Getty Images

By Lindsey Schneider, Joshua Sbicca and Stephanie Malin

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is novel, but pandemic threats to indigenous peoples are anything but new. Diseases like measles, smallpox and the Spanish flu have decimated Native American communities ever since the arrival of the first European colonizers.

Read More Show Less
As we continue to grapple with the issues of overfishing, plastic pollution, and climate change, there exists an opportunity to address these existential threats with new innovations. Sawitree Pamee / EyeEm

By Kaya Bulbul

The ocean is our lifeline - we rely on it for the food we eat, the air we breathe, as well as for millions for jobs worldwide.

As we continue to grapple with the issues of overfishing, plastic pollution, and climate change, there exists an opportunity to address these existential threats with new innovations, many of which unidentified or insufficiently supported.

Read More Show Less
The coronavirus adds a new wrinkle to the debate over the practice of eminent domain as companies continue to work through the pandemic, vexing landowners. Patrick J. Endres / Getty Images

By Jeremy Deaton

Pipeline giant Kinder Morgan is cutting a 400-mile line across the middle of Texas, digging up vast swaths of private land for its planned Permian Highway Pipeline. The project is ceaseless, continuing through the coronavirus pandemic. Landowner Heath Frantzen said that dozens of workers have showed up to his ranch in Fredericksburg, even as public health officials urged people to stay at home.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Weeds dying in a soybean field impacted by dicamba spraying. JJ Gouin / iStock / Getty Images

A federal court overturned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) approval of dicamba Wednesday, meaning the controversial herbicide can no longer be sprayed in the U.S.

Read More Show Less