Essay and Answer Writing

“Earth isn’t a commodity, it’s a heritage we share”

“The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is the only thing all of us share” – We all have an obligation towards taking care of the planet that is our home. Too often, ‘heritage’ is narrowly understood as a few rare spaces of an earlier time, with great historical value. We often forget to gauge that heritage in fact is whole of the living environment, gifted to us by earth! Off late, excessive human intervention on the nature has rendered our environment degraded and weak. Pollution, exhaustion of resources, mechanisation, technological advancement etc. have all occurred without keeping in mind the threshold of the nature’s bounty. As a result, today we are faced with the challenges of global warming, deforestation, conflicts, poverty, etc. If we continue at this pace, soon our future generations may not find it easy to survive on this planet! The essay outlines the importance of conserving our planet – earth, outlines some of the ways in which it has been harmed and how these can be rectified. 
 
What is ‘heritage’?
Heritage in the broadest sense is that which is inherited. Everything which our ancestors bequeath may be called heritage: landscapes, structures, objects, and traditions. Humans have understood the concept of heritage ever since they developed artefacts and language. And, although by this sense of the term, earth qualifies as heritage, for it has been inhabited by our ancestors since time immemorial, we don’t understand it as that. People discriminate between things which are worth inheriting and passing on and other things which they prefer to forget. They may decide to preserve only structures considered grand or beautiful, or traditions and legends which are inspiring or useful. A constant process of selection is under way, both conscious and unconscious, as each generation decides which elements of its inheritance to keep and which to throw away.
 
Our planet should be understood as our biggest heritage – something that is shared by not some individuals, or a few states, but every living and non-living entity alive or dead. Earth sustains us, provides us with the necessary conditions that make human life possible. Earth and its resources make life possible on it. If we were to imagine our lives without these resources, that would not be possible, as life cannot function without sunshine, air, vegetation, and water. However, this is soon going to be our reality if we do not save the earth now.
 
Problems in treating ‘earth as a commodity’
“The time is passed that humankind thought that they could selfishly draw on exhaustible resources. We know now the world is not a commodity” – The French President Francois Hollande made this statement at Davos in 2015. The resources earth provides us with are limited. They are blessings which we do not count. Humans have become selfish and are utilising the earth’s resources at a rapid rate. There is an urgent need to protect them in order to protect our lives as our survival depends on it. 
 
In the vast universe, we were born on this planet called Earth, where various cultures and ethnicities, all living things, and all of nature exist together. However, in our world today, we face numerous problems:
·Pollution - Air pollution, land pollution, and water pollution have increased at an alarming rate. Various factors have contributed to this rise in different types of pollution. For example, chemicals released by our appliances and other daily use products, vehicle smoke, burning of fuel, improper waste management are some of the major factors impacting pollution in the world. The result of adverse effects of pollution is there for all to be seen and felt. Several diseases and disorders have become common. 
·Pollution has impacted climate change and ozone layer depletion. Global leaders must urgently combat growing pollution and take a stand to promote healthy and pollution-free living
·Depletion of natural resources - The increasing use and dependency of fossil fuels in different industries to produce energy have resulted in the depletion of natural resources. Reduction in the level of natural resources is not the only issue related to the consumption of fossil fuels. It poses several other adverse effects that include greenhouse gases emission. 
·The release of these gases is resulting in 2 of the major issues faced by our planet Earth: global warming and change in climate.
·Deforestation - Forests play an essential role in maintaining the balance in our eco-system. However, just like the loss of biodiversity, growing population rate has also resulted in deforestation. Forests are known to serve as “carbon sinks” due to their ability to absorb carbon dioxide. Deforestation causes CO2 to be absorbed by our atmosphere and ultimately result in global warming.
·Ozone depletion - Chlorofluorocarbons, which are released by numerous daily-use appliances and products, forms one of the major reason of depletion of ozone layer. This depletion has resulted in global warming and change of climate. The largest hole created in the ozone layer by such chemicals is over the Antarctic.
·Loss of Biodiversity - this effect has taken place and is rapidly increasing due to the human behaviour on this planet earth. Due to increase in population, humans continue to destroy natural habitats of species regularly, which in turn affects the food chain.
 
Plan of action
Given this situation, what do you think is the best way forward for humanity? How do you wish to fulfil your role as a citizen of Earth?
 
·We must re-commit ourselves to strive to do a better job towards a more sustainable future.
·Operational Strategy on Youth (2014-2021) - UNESCO considers that today’s young people are crucial for the shaping of our future. It is imperative that they are enabled to develop to their full potential. Therefore the Organisation’s objective is to help empower young people and ensure that their contributions are taken into account.
·A little effort will go a long way on everyone’s end. Each action will make a difference. For instance, even if one man decides to stop drinking bottled water, thousands of plastic can be saved from consuming. We can start by planting more trees to make up for the deforestation that is happening these days at a rapid rate. When we plant more trees, ecological balance can be restored and we can improve the quality of life. Similarly, we must stop wasting water. When done on individual levels, this will create a huge impact on conserving water.
·There have been students who have protested and preached their understanding of the issue, better than most of the current world leaders. One such is a 15-year-old, who is putting aside her classes, her education to fight for our environment. Her realisation came with why bother learning about the environment if the politicians don’t really care for it? Greta Thunberg went on a strike, refusing to go to school, and her popularity grew with her transforming and eye opening speech.
In short, the government and individuals must come together to save the earth. People need to be made aware and taught ways to contribute to saving the earth. If all this collective effort starts happening, we can surely save our planet and make it sustainable. 
 
Conclusion
The world is facing incredibly serious natural resource and environmental challenges: climate change, fresh water depletion, ocean over-fishing, deforestation, air and water pollution, dand the struggle to feed a planet of billions.
 
Climate change is taking place at a rapid rate mostly because of the burning of fossil fuels. According to a study, fossil fuels account for 57% of the global warming that is taking place, 17% is because of the carbon dioxide, which is from deforestation and decay of biomass, and 14% because of the release of methane. And a clear evidence of global warming is that the average temperature in late 19th century to the last 100 years increased by 0.8 degree Celsius, but in just about last 3 decades, it increased by 0.6 degree Celsius. 
 
To say that saving the earth is the need of the hour would be an understatement. All the activities of humans driven by greed and selfishness have caused immense damage to the earth. It is degraded it beyond repair. Earth is the only planet which can sustain life on it. This makes it all the more important to save it. If we do not take strict actions now, we will lose the chance of seeing our future generations flourish forever.



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