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“We’re replacing the wild with the tame. Half of the fertile land on earth is now farmland. 70% of the mass of birds on this planet are domestic birds. The vast majority, chickens. We account for over one-third of the weight of mammals on earth. A further 60% are the animals we raise to eat. The rest, from mice to whales, make up just 4%.” – David Attenborough from ‘A Life on Our Planet’ 2020 –
These numbers do not just showcase the statistics of what changes humans have brought into the natural ecosystem of this planet, but also underlay an important thought on how much of biological diversity remains around us and why it is essential to allow the variety of life surrounding us to create an ecological balance for our survival.
The growing domestication of animals, and wiping of wildlife all around is leading to a noticeable void in the ecological balance of our planet. From vast deforestation and development to farmers catering to single commercial crops in lieu of profits. We are starting to see a reduction in crop production marred by the pests. And the reason behind all these ignorant practices is only one: We are forgetting how interdependent everything is for survival of our species and sustainability for modern consumers. And if we continue on this path, we will soon be the only large species left on this planet. Without our largest communities of wetlands, grasslands, and forests, and will have unforeseen impacts on the entire ecosystems.
No, we cannot live without wild places because it is a known fact that all different species on this planet including man are involved in a complex interdependent network called ecosystem. A healthy ecosystem regulates the climate, purifies our air, and clears the water. It also maintains healthy soil, recycles nutrients and provide us with food. And YES, we should care because simply put through it is the foundation of all the civilizations that have helped us sustain till now, and will continue to.
A healthy ecosystem is any geographic area where animals, plants, and other living (biotic components) and nonliving organisms ( abiotic) alongside landscape and weather interact with that area’s environment and seasons and naturally co-exists. The role of a healthy ecosystem is important in defining environmental conditions and sustainability of our lives.
While we humans might be busy with infrastructure and economic developments, we may not realize that there is also a lot going on in the smallest of the natural processes within our natural ecosystems including forests, wetlands, and in the wilderness that is single handedly responsible for our existence. And that’s why it’s very important to cultivate environmental awareness among everyone, especially students.
The answer is a simple one: Because we cannot survive without the wild.
Food, water, oxygen – everything we need to be alive comes from the wilderness. It’s where everything depends on different forms of life coming from the rest of the living species. Take an example of a simple household with a small garden area. If the house owner grows only roses or any single plant in their yard, soon they will notice that their plants are not surviving seasonally. They are gradually losing the foliage and blooms. Rather someone who grows different types of flowers and plants in their garden attract different species of birds, and bees to feed on nectar. Plus, worms who further feed on bacterias in the soil, and the plants.
Collectively surrounding with the wild means conserving forests and natural resources. However, on an individual level it means having more diversity in your habitat. In all, it promotes a healthy ecosystem for all living beings around us. The renowned scientists E.O. Wilson had time again emphasized on keeping half of the earth in its natural state to help us sustain a functioning ecosystem that will keep providing us.
What’s needed is dietary changes, subsidies reforms in farming and fishing, less wasteful and smarter regenerative practices, new recyclable agricultural technologies like hydroponic growing and farming, and vertical farming, permaculture set on renewable sources of energy that uses less soil or no soil or diversity in varieties.
In protected and rural areas around the world, indigenous peoples and local communities manage and protect the wild. It’s important to understand they are key to the growing economies in many ways. Biodiversity of our wildlife makes the earth liveable. These natural ecosystem provide solutions that help us filter our food and water, regenerate soils, and protect us from natural disasters.
Our survival is deeply connected to our natural environment. And with increasingly threatening human activities, it is time to acknowledge the benefits of wildlife and biodiversity around us. Therefore, allow your surroundings to stay wild. Because it’s in the wild where life thrives and we will survive.
Author: Nicole McCray
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