The climate emergency is real. And today, June 5—World Environment Day—it is more present than ever. This day showcases the need to protect the environment and raise awareness of the environmental issues that cannot wait any longer: pollution of the seas and oceans, global warming, unsustainable consumption or wildlife crime.
A day of vindication established in 1975 by the United Nations, coinciding with the day the UN Conference on the Human Environment opened in Stockholm in 1972, and from which the United Nations Natural Environment Programme arose. A day with over 40 years behind it, but with a goal that is still very present and yet to be attained: to protect the Earth.
Which is why we present 10 Reasons to Be an Environmentalist and Help Save the Planet:
- To fight global warming. Climate change is real, and if we do not act to mitigate its effects and adapt to those we can no longer change, we will see how our natural habitat will soon change radically and negatively. Climate change is estimated to cause thousands of human displacements and deaths as a result of the loss of living space, and the disappearance of thousands of animal and plant species. It is everyone’s responsibility to fight to minimize its effects and curb global warming that causes, amongst other things, the melting of the polar icecaps.
- To economise, being self-sufficient and banking on renewables. The energy that pollutes least is the energy we do not consume, so it is important to bank on products with high energy efficiency, changing the light bulbs we have at home, and other measures that allow us to reduce our energy consumption. If we all stake on renewable energy, we will move towards a more efficient model that advances self-consumption, smart grid management and the democratization of the energy market, free of monopolies and at fair prices.
- To eat healthily. We must commit to quality diets with local, organic, seasonal food and produce; they pollute much less. It is by preserving the rural environment with sustainable farming that we will secure the present of the land and the future of the planet.
- To reduce pollution. In some regions of the Catalan Countries, pollution levels exceed those recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Reducing these implies, amongst other things, reducing whenever possible the use of private vehicles, those that pollute most, and encouraging the use of bicycles and other non-polluting public means of transport. In addition, we will thus also be able to assure a comprehensive service network that will allow us to make the most of our daily journeys on foot.
- To maintain living seas and oceans. Many marine species are threatened by overexploitation and pollution of their habitats. Indeed, the stocks of some fish such as tuna or cod have declined by up to 90% in the last 50 years.
- To fight inequality. The consequences of climate change have a clear social class component, as in the territories and people with fewest resources who will have the greatest difficulties in adapting to the changes. It is inadmissible that those countries with least responsibility for climate degradation should be forced to bear the unjust burden of the most damaging consequences.
- To improve health. All regular contact with natural spaces is beneficial for physical and mental health. Ensuring the preservation and quality of these spaces helps us improve our health, and not only in rural areas but also in urban ones. WHO highlights the importance of green spaces in urban environments for city-dwellers’ physical and emotional welfare, and recommends that green spaces in urban areas should make up between 10 m2 and 15 m2 per capita.
- To enjoy better quality of life, advancing responsible consumption which prioritizes local, sustainable products that minimize waste production. Buy what you really need, do the weekly shopping with your cart and your own reusable bags and glass containers to minimize waste production. When it comes to recycling, we have not even reached the goal set for 2020 by the European Union to selectively collect 50% of waste. In the best cases, we recycle around 40%.
- To raise the awareness that each individual action has global consequences. Being aware of this brings us closer to being true players in the global change that society needs. The natural resources of the planet are finite and it is in our hands to make a more just and sustainable society possible.
- To attain a green Republic. Committing to environmentalism means being part of a political and social movement that works for the collective welfare of the territory, the planet and its protection. Being an environmentalist brings us closer to leaving a green, clean, sustainable Catalan Republic and a better planet for future generations.