A damming report that delivers a startling facts about the loss of Earth’s natural life and the level of environmental degradation we all face in this and age. We have to understand that this is not a political left vs. right issue – it never was and never will be – but rather one that affects us all right now and with even worse consequences for the future generations. We also need to recognise that the main reason we’re here today is precisely because we’ve decided either willingly or unwittingly to delegate control on such a vital issue to politicians who – along with their partners of lobbyists/special interest groups – decided to take a pass on the topic despite years of false pretences; so dear friends the only way we can save this planet of ours is by simply revoking such delegation once and for all and making sure we’re able to lead in forcing politicians to take action. There are certainly some options we may consider to get us started;
- The Environment should feature as a top agenda item one of strategic importance to the nation where policy/debate must transcend party/ideological boundaries and driven entirely based on merits and scientific evidence. We need long term solutions that do NOT change or reversed every time we have an election. It is also worth remembering that environmental degradation posses a very real and equally devastating security risks not just on a national level but at a global scale where the likelihood of conflicts & mass migration would be the only kind of future to be had. In other words we need a well-coordinated regional effort to help reverse this tide otherwise any fix we come up with will be a temporary patch.
- We need to ensure there is a well defined “action” plan; one that is validated for viability with both short & long term measurable objectives along with a systematic evaluation mechanism to ensure new realities/challenges are continually assessed/addressed. The concept of constantly kicking the can down the road must STOP.
- Commitment to sound environmental policies should factor in when assessing the credibility/suitability of politicians and what they bring to the table on such a critical issue in terms of experience and ideas. Hollow promises alone without a valid/supporting profile can no longer be acceptable nor can the power of the purse be allowed to continue in swaying environmental policies.
- Local environment protection agencies should be a big part of new approach to address these issues not only in terms of policy but equally important would be raising awareness at the local level through projects/debates in partnership with the business community. We also need to be empowered at a community level to do all we can to protect the environment and reporting abuses of existing protections through organised efforts while at the same time having a say at decisions affecting our communities/neighbourhoods on environmental issues particularly on matters related to deforestation.
- Education is key if we are keen about changing behaviour/attitudes; this is an obvious one so no elaboration needed.
- The only way we can save the environment is if we can actually feel/benefit from the environment around us; so we need to ensure we not only preserve but continually develop elements of nature/wildlife in our town/cities and have well-defined regulations that help preserve the balance between the need for expanding our industry or housing projects and the need to protect our environment/wildlife. Without such a balance we are essentially seeding in our own demise as a community/nation from within.
- We need to review/continually re-assess our environmental safety standards at every level to ensure they are fit for purpose and are well implemented both in terms of industrial as well as trade activities.
- Last but by no means least, the new generation should take the lead role in overlooking efforts by the government to protect the environment; not through individual/group activism but rather through a more official capacity in dedicated parliamentary oversight committees which would involve public representation.
Hope this list provides useful ideas but the take away has to be the need for urgent action and that does NOT start from the top of the pyramid but from the very bottom of that pyramid which represents the base.
PS: One final thought; Today the news of Prince Harry’s new born child has gone into overdrive on the story even to the ludicrous extent that some networks started a guessing game on the name of the new baby. Now while I feel it is certainly fair/proper to congratulate Prince Harry and his wonderful wife Meghan Markle on their new born child, I think this level of coverage is way over what is called for particularly that this is drowning a more significant/sobering news story about the environment. Perhaps it makes sense NOT to worry too much about the name of the new born baby but rather focus on his future and the future of many of this new generation when we’re handing them a time-bomb while it seems that we’re caught arguing about the colour of the box we’re putting it in.