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How to Promote Environmental Awareness

How to Promote Environmental Awareness

I maybe stating the obvious, but is an undeniable a fact that Mother Nature is no longer very healthy. As a species, we have contributed to this reality by not being aware of the consequences of our actions. We do not think. Through ignorance, we have almost irreparably damaged the environment. No longer have we a world that has a healthy Eco system.

Factors that contribute to damaging our fragile environment are too numerous to mention. A few include pollution from industry, exhaust fumes from motor vehicles, overuse of natural resources, loss of native vegetation, and a lack of recycling. We read of climate change. Rising sea levels and increases in global temperatures. Arable land has become a desert. Farmers lose their livelihood. People cannot eat. Independence has turned into dependence on aid agencies and charity.

Global charity organizations can only do so much to alleviate human suffering. There are never enough financial resources to help enhance their operations. Wealthy nations provide some degree of assistance, yet tend to spend more on the development of industry and infrastructure. Arms development and sales far outweigh Government based donations. It seems all is lost. Yet solutions exist if individuals and whole communities decide to create positive actions.

I am currently the resident of a small subdivision called Villa Park in the City of Davao: Philippines. A veritable tropical paradise one may think. This is not so. Everywhere I walk, I see litter that has been thrown on the ground by individuals who simply lack awareness of their actions. Cigarette butts, plastic bottles, plastic shopping bags, and plastic wrappings from snack foods. This is not a remarkable sight. This is pollution. This should not be a reality. I have often expressed frustration in relation to this issue, and have often wondered about what I can do to try to create positive change.

Just as I began to think that my thoughts were of no validity, something happened. I was talking to my neighbor the other day, and he told me that locals in my suburb want to do something to help their local environment. A few so far have initiated a recycling process that will reduce garbage and create income through the sale of glass, plastic, and scrap metal.I.E: empty food and drink canisters. We discussed in earnest the need for people to start composting by using vegetable scraps and lawn cuttings. With education, families can create a front yard fruit and vegetable garden. This will save money. This will provide a healthier diet. This will be an example of people creating positive change for the benefit of the environment.

Care for the environment is something that locals will have to learn about through educational processes at local schools, as well as community meetings. People will have to learn about separating biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials. Every week, folk are going to have to take their empty plastic bottles and metal cans along with used paper/ cardboard and place them in a designated container that will be located at one end of the community garden. A compost heap will be there as well. This will help to grow vegetables. This will lessen the amount of money that people have to spend on buying food. Money gained from the sale of glass and metal will help this project to expand: at the same time reinforcing the value of recycling.

In relation to the use of compost: This reduces the need for chemical based fertilizers to grow crops. This envisaged communal garden will become a green and healthy mini-Eco system. This will provide a physical example of how the environment can be improved and restored. There is no need to sit and wait for others to provide solutions. People can work together now; not some other future date.

As a social initiative, this will get people communicating and cooperating with each other on a higher degree. Those in this sub division who live in utter poverty will be able to share what is being grown. This will help to create a healthier diet for themselves and their families. They will learn how to grow their own vegetables. This is self-empowerment. This is social change.

People also have to learn that throwing litter on the ground is unhealthy and unsightly. They have to realize that littering is a direct link to degradation of the environment. Government officials have to be pushed to have rubbish bins placed in more areas. This would at least help to encourage individuals to dispose of their personal litter in a correct fashion. It is interesting to note that recycling and proper disposal of litter and trash in Davao City is compulsory by law. Yet at present, I do no not see many actually conforming to this decree: at the risk of custodial and financial penalties.

There is much be done, so to preserve and protect the environment. This article has described one small project that is an initiative of ordinary people. People that want to create positive change by making their locality a healthier place to live in. When this community project is promoted via the media and public meetings, other communities throughout the entire nation of the Philippines may be inspired to do the same thing. Yet this need for protection and restoration of the planet’s environment is a global issue. Can humanity face and conquer this challenge? We no longer possess the luxury of time.

Geoff Dodson.24/06/2012