Food For Thought on Natural Resource Management

Some food for thought from our recent Natural Resource Management Classes.

Biodiversity is crucial for the world’s viability.

Why does Biodiversity matter?
When elements of biodiversity are lost, ecosystems become less resilient and their services become threatened. Ecosystems are living cycles. When too many links in these cycles are taken out, the system itself collapses. 

Ecosystems offer humanity so many products and services that we are not able to live without. They provide us products and services that, even if replicable, would be much more expensive for us to recreate on our own.

Here in Madrid, for example, the forests outside of the city help filter and clean the water that is eventually piped into the city. Without these forests, the city would have to pay much more in order to clean and filter the water needed by its citizens. Why do we not properly value these natural services?

By polluting the rivers and lakes, cutting down trees in an unsustainable rate, and altering the climate temperature, we are negatively impacting the ecological systems that we desperately depend on.

We must be more cautious and conscious in managing our natural resources.

The WWF Living Planet Report for 2012 has shown that we are doing a poor job in terms of managing our natural resource banks and preserving biodiversity in most parts of the world. We have solutions to many of these problems, including curbing soil degradation, properly managing the quantity and quality of our fresh water, and sustainably extracting most natural resources; yet, in most parts of the world, we are not implementing these solutions. Without better care for our planet and management of the resources it offers us, we will be leaving our children with extremely difficult challenges to face.

We are the living “guinea pigs” – testing the body’s limits to chemical exposure.

The amount of chemicals and hazardous materials that are used today in pesticides, fertilizers, and industry processes is astounding. For many of them, we are not sure of the total affects they may have. We have seen in the past that some chemicals, like DDT , were at first believed to be safe, yet later determined to be extremely dangerous for our health and the well being of other species and ecosystems.

We are allowing these chemical cocktails to get into the environment, into our food and water supplies, and into our bodies. (Need an example? You can look to the poor storage and maintenance at the Love Canal Site on the eastern edge of Niagara Falls in New York State).

No one is sure how all these chemicals that are building up in our bodes will affect our health, and our genetic material. We may be leaving future generations to deal with whatever health issues and genetic modifications arise.

When we look for solutions towards sustainable systems, we must approach the issue from all sides.

When looking at ways to help manage natural resources and create sustainable lifestyles, we need to approach the issue from every direction:

Not only must we look toward governments to better regulate companies and public entities. We must also look at how we can better educate people to be aware of what they are consuming, where these products are coming from, and how citizens can help in the fight towards protecting our natural ecosystems and its inhabitants.

After all, we are just one specie in this world.

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