"Survival 101: Why YOU Need the Environment"
Published in the Namib Times, 19 February 2013.
By Marcia Stanton
We cannot live without air for more than three minutes. We cannot live without water for more than three days. We cannot live without food for more than three weeks.
Where do air, water and food come from? The environment. Here on Namibia’s coast, we have all that we need to survive. Air blowing in from the ocean, drinking water from the mist and groundwater, and fish to eat- all provided 100% free from nature. Even in such a harsh desert environment, there is everything provided for us to live. Yet, we take these gifts for granted and pollute them through some types of industry, mining and energy production.
At the end of the day, where does this leave us when everything we need to survive is tainted with harmful chemicals that make us sick and bring death? Sure, those who have enough money can afford health care and even move away from the pollution... but where does pollution leave the poorest of society who do not have health care or money to move away? The poor are stuck with the pollution and they are hit the hardest by it. Despite what many claim, caring for the environment is not a luxury; it is a necessity- particularly for the poorest of society who remain the most connected to survival.
Yet is it really only a necessity of the poor? Certainly the rich will run out of places to hide from the pollution, especially considering most of the Earth is already so badly polluted. In some places, people only survive the air pollution by wearing gas masks. Rivers catch on fire because the pollution is so bad. No doubt people are getting sick. Cancer is ever increasing as are birth defects.
Yet we are being tempted to become just like the rest of the world, enticed to follow the destructive path of unsustainable development. We have seen that a world economic collapse is still underway and people are dying from the pollution they have created in just 100 years of the industrial revolution. It is very clear that that path that tempts us will lead to eventual collapse, yet we still follow that path.
Sadly we have become so disconnected from that which we are absolutely connected to. Whether we like it or not we are dependent on the environment for our survival. Without it we cannot exist. So why is it that we pollute that which we need to live? We make fools of our human race just to chase a piece of paper and a coin, all the while forgetting that they cannot be eaten.
It’s time to reignite our creative problem solving capabilities instead of lazily adopting a dysfunctional system. If we can send a man to the moon, surely we can figure out a way to live sustainably with our only home, the Earth. Our very survival depends on it.