We only have one planet on which we live. The planet is full of resources, some renewable, others not.
But unfortunately, we have an ever-growing population that poses a huge threat to all these resources. This raises the concern on whether the future generations will find them, and how life will be like for them if we exploit all the current resources.
To address the concern and ensure we leave some resources for the future, environmental conservation comes in and this article will delve more into the topic.
So, What Exactly is Environmental Conservation?
Environmental conservation is the practice of us humans saving the environment from the loss of species, and the destruction of the ecosystem, primarily due to pollution and human activities.
Conservation is vital in saving and helping both animals and trees as we are all dependent on one another for survival.
Trees convert carbon dioxide produced by factories into oxygen, which helps us breathe and respire. The loss of species, which makes them go extinct, would mean they are forever lost and cannot be seen by curious eyes, or studied by the scientific minds. Additionally, such loss or destruction of ecosystems would disrupt the food web, messing up the whole ecosystem in general.
Environmental conservation is an umbrella term that defines anything we do to protect our planet and conserve its natural resources so that every living thing can have an improved quality of life.
Environmental conservation and preservation are two terms that are often used interchangeably, although they are quite different.
Conservation refers to the responsible management of the environment and its resources for present and future use.
Preservation, on the other hand, is a much stricter approach where the environment, lands and natural resources are put away, not to be consumed by humans, but are instead maintained in their pristine form.
If the land is to be used by humans, it should only be utilized for its natural beauty and inspiration.
Conservation was brought up and championed by Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946). He was bothered by the methods used to transform the land in which the United States now sits, during the expansion period. Most forests were being clear-cut, meaning all the trees were removed at the same time.
Pinchot did not like this method as it saw the forests as a valuable source of timber. In his way of thought, the forests ought to have been managed in a manner that enabled both human developments and ensured the proper use of natural resources.
Conservation works in two ways. It is meant to protect nature by protecting vital resources, and it is also a way of living that works against the irresponsible practices of businesses and large corporations.
Green living takes away the power from those who have no interest in using their influence to promote the greater good of our world and choose to add to the problem instead. The more money we keep out of the pockets of big businesses who don’t care for the environment, the more we can do for the planet.
Environmental conservation comes in many forms and reminds us to be mindful of daily choices. No matter how busy your life may be, it remains fairly easy to make small, yet necessary, changes for the good of the Earth.
If we all took little steps, we would make our way towards major progress. This can be achieved by paying more attention to what we buy and not using resources unnecessarily. We must also remember to recycle and dispose of chemicals properly so that the ground and bodies of water are not poisoned.
The Environment Is Vital to Our Well-Being and Every Element Should Be Protected
Consider every part of the environment, including the trees, the oceans, and the soil. The trees that help us to breathe also eliminate greenhouse gases that would cause the Earth to heat up more quickly. They hold soil in place and naturally filter water that has been absorbed into the ground.
The waters of the ocean are undeniably enchanting, but there is much more to it than visual splendor. When we look up at the clouds and feel the rain, the ocean is to thank for it.
Home to countless types of marine life and plants, the ocean is both a shelter and a life source. It gives us more than half of the Earth’s oxygen supply and stores large amounts of carbon dioxide to help keep the Earth cool.
Finally, the soil stands as its own supporter of life by acting as a supplier of food and a filter of water. Soil that is of good quality produces crops that feed humans and animals.
Plants and flowers sprout up from the ground through the soil, helping to regulate our climate. Most of nature’s water isn’t made for human consumption, but soil also stores groundwater and filters it, making it safe for drinking.
Conserve by Using Less Energy and Embracing Alternative Energy Sources
By embracing and promoting alternative energy sources, Mother Earth would be relieved. If every household incorporated the concepts of sustainable living by using less and conserving more, the positive impact would be immeasurable.
Solar energy and wind power are two of the renewable energy options that we could use more often. Yet, a large amount of energy we exhaust comes from the burning of non-renewable fossil fuels to power cars, the electricity in homes, and much more.
While we don’t completely control how energy is offered to us, there’s always room to live in a way that uses less of the energy that can’t be replenished.
Help to Replenish What Is Being Taken Away by Giving Back to The Earth
Deforestation continues to be a major environmental issue. Many forests are losing countless acres of valuable trees, and because these trees are destroyed, the greenhouse gases they were storing go back into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming.
Animals and people lose their food supply and homes, and the economic status of a region can also change because fewer forests often lead to fewer employment opportunities in the area.
Planting trees is a way to give back because it aids in the restoration of homes for wildlife, food sources, and medicinal properties only gotten from them. As trees grow, they protect soil from harsh weather conditions and protect us from excess carbon dioxide, enabling us to live longer and more comfortably.
Help to protect the quality of soil through composting. When we feed the soil, especially by using leftover parts of food that would otherwise be thrown away, we give the soil nutrients that it craves.
Practice Habits that Are Part of Conservational Efforts
Cars are constantly driven all over the world and are major contributors to pollution. Keep your vehicle in top shape to cut back on the carbon that it releases into the atmosphere. When you go car shopping or need to replace your vehicle, look beyond the outer appearance and consider the environmental impact.
Decide to purchase electric or hybrid vehicles instead of gas guzzlers as a stylish and money-saving alternative. Walk, ride a bike, or use shared transportation when possible.
Start growing your own food for health purposes and to relieve the stress placed on the soil. Commercial farms tend to have a poorer quality of soil because the ground is mistreated in order to quickly produce as many foods as possible.
If you grow your own food, then there is less need for the toxic chemicals that are used in industrial farming zones. Planting your own food also tastes much better as it grows naturally and in the season while preserving essential nutrients.
Talk to other people about environmental conservation. There are many fun ways to do this. For example, you can have parties based on eco-themes to start important conversations.
Importance of Environmental Conservation
Environmental conservation offers a plethora of benefits to our planet. Let’s see how it can positively impact different aspects of life.
1. Importance to Agriculture
Agriculture relies on the environment, and so do we rely on agriculture. A country’s wealth could be measured on its ability to feed its people, although not all nations can produce agriculturally.
Conserving the environment, with regards to agriculture, could mean preventing soil erosion, flooding and desertification, and could help its citizen have something to eat. Unsustainable farming techniques impact natural ecosystems and make farming impossible.
2. Importance to Fishing
The various bodies of water, like the oceans, lakes and seas are another source of essentials such as food. All over the world, communities depend on seafood and related activities.
Marine conservation is therefore vital in protecting human food supplies, human activities and marine animals. It saves more animals from extinction and also feeds land animals which depend on marine life for food.
3. Importance to The Climate
Human activities have a direct impact on the climate and a subsequent effect on all life. Global warming, linked to greenhouse gas emissions, which is an adverse effect on the climate, results in droughts, floods, rising sea levels and cases of extreme heat and cold.
Climate change is a result of human activities and has been linked to excess rainfall, extreme weather and a change in regular weather patterns. Conserving natural environments should be done to see these extreme outcomes reversed, making the world a better place. For instance, reforesting will bring about rainfall, which will facilitate agriculture.
4. Excellent Water Quality
Conservation measures ensure there is excellent-quality water for all. This, in turn, has both social, environmental and economic benefits.
Economically, conservation of the environment boosts tourism, provides catch for fishing, decreases the cost of healthcare, and provides an environment for the ecotourism industry.
Socially, a conserved environment decreases the prevalence of water-borne diseases, increases the quality of water entering aquifers, helps use surface water for recreation and increases the overall quality of life.
Environmentally, a conserved environment preserves the diversity of water-dependent plants and animals and preserves the various natural services of aquatic ecosystems.
5. It Leads to Healthy Air Quality
Again, a conserved environment provides good-quality air, which also has both social, economic and environmental benefits. Economically, it boosts tourism, decreases healthcare costs and decreases the erosion of buildings and pavements.
Socially, it decreases the prevalence of circulatory and lung-related diseases and also increases the quality of life for the residents. Environmentally, it preserves water quality and preserves aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity.
6. Preserves Biodiversity
A conserved environment preserves biodiversity, which has equal benefits to the ones mentioned above. It preserves water and land-based ecosystems, preserves energy flow throughout the biosphere, provides for natural services, preserves food webs, and boosts nature-based tourism.
7. It Protects Wildlife
If the environment is destroyed, some animals are forced out of their habitat, making it hard for them to survive elsewhere. It could also bring about human and animal conflict, which ends disastrously for both species.
8. It Protects the Earth
Environmental conservation definitely protects and safeguards the environment from certain factors that are wrecking the planet, such as climate change. We need to reduce the amount of harm we are inflicting on the planet as it is contributing to its destruction.
If we do not conserve the environment, nature has a ferocious way of fighting back, such as extreme weather, droughts and heavy rains which are negatively affecting our lives, our food, and homes. We have to do everything humanly possible to conserve the environment, for the planet.
9. It Protects Human Health
Environmental conservation will in turn protect and improve human lives and health. If the environment is destroyed, new diseases emerge, and species that could help produce medicines are destroyed. Wild habitats are particularly important as they prevent emerging infectious diseases from jumping from animals to humans.
The Ebola outbreak, for instance, is an animal disease that jumped to humans and is believed to have been spread to humans by bats.
The same could also be said about COVID-19 which has so far claimed the lives of over 1.18 million people in 2020 alone. Simply put, we cannot be healthy in an unhealthy environment. We have to conserve the environment for our own health and future.
Methods of Environmental Conservation
As already seen, environmental conservation comes with lots of benefits. As such, it’s essential to explore some of the best ways to go about it. Here are some of the most effective environmental conservation methods:
1. Forest Conservation
Afforestation and reforestation help in conserving the forests, which are responsible for trapping and absorbing a huge amount of carbon dioxide from reaching the atmosphere.
We should make it our life mission to plant trees as much as possible, both on public and private lands, and take care of them. Legislation that protects the forests should be highlighted, so that we help in environmental conservation.
2. Soil Conservation
Soil conservation helps control erosions and improves the soil for agricultural purposes. We should plant more trees, protect pasture lands, and grow cover crops which regulate the blowing away of soils.
We should also minimize the use of chemicals, use compost fertilizers and terrace farms on slopy lands.
3. Managing Waste
Municipalities should also conduct programs that manage solid wastes, designating litter bins all over the towns and collecting the waste regularly. Additionally, we should teach ourselves how to manage our waste without littering all over.
We should learn to recycle everything we can for as long as it is possible. Glass, paper, plastic and even metal are reusable, and should not be thrown away after its original use.
About 91% of all plastic bottles do not reach recycling units and this is unfortunate. They are not biodegradable and about 500 billion of them are used every year. Reusing these bottles, containers, bags and more will help in environmental conservation.
5. Reducing Our Water Consumption
Clean, fresh and safe water is precious and not easily available. It is therefore very crucial to save as much water as possible, and prevent water pollution, otherwise, it will be scarce in years to come.
Reduce the number of baths, take showers, use the washing machine only, do not discard waste in bodies of fresh water, and recycle, so that we conserve the little freshwater we have now.
6. Control Pollution
We should regularly maintain our cars and leave them at home for as much as it is possible as they are a primary source of air pollution.
Using rechargeable batteries is another great way to conserve the environment, as it eliminates the volume of disposable batteries thrown away after use.
Composting also avoids littering, and not only does it protect the environment, but is also a reliable source of natural manure.
Avoid chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and insecticides that pollute the environment. We should control pollution in as much as it is possible, to conserve the environment.
7. Create Public Awareness
Make people aware of the consequences of our activities through the various means available such as social media, seminars and the traditional media.
Also, discuss environmental protection with your friends and family members so that everyone is made aware of environmental conservation, ways to conserve the environment and potential consequences if we do not take care of the environment.
How To Promote Environmental Conservation?
Promoting environmental conservation can be done include through:
Environmentalism needs to be a bigger part of the education system, from elementary school on up. We should teach our young ones how to take care of the environment as well as the consequences of not doing so.
For instance, create an event which sees school-going kids plant trees and take care of them for as long as they are in the institution. By the time they graduate, the trees will be bigger and will help the environment.
2. Talk About It
Simply talk about environmental conservation in everyday life, blogs, vlogs, books, and articles. Also, elect leaders who are aware of environmental conservation and see the need to conserve the environment.
Talk about it even in churches, in seminars, in school, and in other locations. Promote the cause and talk about it everywhere, not just in limited contexts.
3. Engage the Community
Engage the community in tree-planting exercises as well as events that see the environment cleaned.
For instance, in Rwanda, they have what is called ‘Umuganda’, which is a community clean-up exercise, held each last Saturday of each month, where everyone has to spend the day cleaning the environment and those who do not participate are fined.
4. Ban Plastics
Plastics are responsible for a dirtier environment. They ought to be banned and people should learn to either recycle or reuse them or fail to use them at all.
5. Create Legislation that Promotes Environmental Conservation
Governments should come up with legislation that promotes environmental conservation. This should also be done on an international level, led by international agencies such as the United Nation with its UN Environment Program.
Environmental Conservation: 8 Additional Ways You Can Help
- Stop smoking. If you don’t smoke, you lessen air pollution and improve your lung health.
- Change the way you clean the house. Use sustainably made items or all-natural products that aren’t made with dangerous chemicals. It’s better for your health as it doesn’t pollute the air, and is less harsh on personal items.
- Conserve water. Wash your clothes and dishes only after you have a full load. Save water by turning off the faucet, taking shorter showers, and make use of nature’s water by collecting rainwater to water your lawn.
- Unplug things. If an item isn’t in use but still plugged, it is still using up electricity. When an item is unplugged, it’s not using any power at all. This saves more energy for future use while being cost-effective.
- Learn to upcycle. There are so many crafty ways to reuse things you already have. Research to learn fun new projects that can bring new life to old items so that you don’t have to throw them away.
- If you can, avoid using plastic water bottles and paper so often. Anything you do use that is recyclable, be sure to dispose of it properly.
- Contact government officials and support petitions and other companies that promote change.
- Be kind to others. Donate things that you don’t use anymore instead of throwing them away. You avoid trashing valuable items while making it available to someone else for less money. On a similar note, purchase items that were gently used instead of buying new material that has been mass-produced with no regard for the environment.