There are more people living on the planet today than there ever have been before, combined. The last century of medical, scientific, and technological breakthroughs have led to significantly longer life expectancy of human beings, mass production of goods and services, and instantaneous communications from one side of the globe to the other. While these have largely improved the quality of life, at least in the developed world, they have the potential as well to begin ruining the quality of life of human beings, as the environment begins to wear down. For example, floods and hurricanes are becoming more frequent and more destructive as the planet warms, and more and more species are becoming endangered or extinct.
Critics might argue this has nothing to do with the presence of human beings, but without us, there would not be mass production of animals used for feeding, which contributes record levels of methanol into the environment. They might also argue that species going extinct will not have an impact on the quality of life of human beings, but species becoming extinct is directly related to the massive expansion of human beings into areas otherwise untouched. The species themselves are part of delicate ecosystems that, without the species that keep them flourishing, will disappear. Once they are gone, they cannot come back, and human beings simply cannot live on a planet without nature. Our land preservation efforts do not match the seriousness of the situation, and this author feels that we are leaving the planet in worse shape for our children and grandchildren than ever before.
Habitat preservation areas around the world seek to maintain the integrity of such ecosystems that are being destroyed otherwise. Human beings also do not place enough value on land preservation until it is gone – and then it is too late to get it back. They might think they want another shopping area or residential development, but when that green space and open air is gone or blocked by a high rise, then they realize they have made a big mistake. Even one of the most notoriously urban areas of the world, Manhattan, has a huge park right in the middle of it, because its citizens realize after having it threatened that it improves their quality of life, no matter how high up the rent goes in that city. More cities need to fight to preserve their open spaces and fresh air, which in turn will make them more desirable.
The environment is a tricky subject, and one that still has its detractors. The science is pretty straightforward, but big industries such as oil and manufacturing have a vested interest in their profits remaining high. And let’s face it, environmental preservation is expensive. Paying higher taxes to help clean up the environment is not in the interest of corporations, but it is in the interest of people to pay attention to what is happening in the areas around them, and to think about how fast the world is changing. It is almost impossible to imagine what it will look like for our grandchildren by the time they grow up.