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Eco-Heroes: We Are Our Only Hope

by Helmy Sa'at

Under the scorching heat, people of Jacobabad, Pakistan, have to contend with temperatures surpassing 40°C (104°F). It is not an excerpt taken from a science fiction novel that is based on our lived realities peppered with exaggerations and amplified figments of imaginations. To be named one of the hottest cities in the world is not a desired accolade. 

More than 13,000 kilometres away, Brazil too has its moment of crowning glory that unfortunately spells doom and gloom for the rest of the world. Deforestation, five times the size of New York City, occured in the Amazon rainforest in the first six months of 2022. A massive record indeed that did nothing to help alleviate the impact of climate catastrophe. 

Meanwhile, capitalism has continued to march onward in such bleak circumstances. Businesses have identified profitable opportunities targeting consumers desperate for some temporary respite from the heat. Smart devices have long been touted as having massive appeal and potential to help combat climate change albeit its effectiveness have been questioned; look no further than the misled wonder of wearable air conditioners.

Or, how about the possibility of total abandonment of Earth in the near future with humans escaping to another habitable planet? At that point, as the top 1% of the global population board their sparkling private rockets to a life brimming with new opportunities in gouging whatever natural resources the future Earth 2.0 may have, what about the rest of us? 

Changes That Matter, Really

Are we truly doomed as predictedExperts and environmental activists have long been flailing their hands in exasperation for the world to pay attention. What more does it take for us to act fast and cooperate?

It is no longer just about simple sacrifices as the world has long arrived at the tipping point exemplified by the manifold and increased intensities of natural disasters in recent months and years. If reading this surfaces grim feelings of doomsday-scenario-painting in excess, then rightly so. That is how it should be. The natural ecosystem is literally burning while we continue to sit on our hands and hope for the best. Or worst, anticipating someone else to swoop in and rescue us all! 

A (re)framing of our understanding and approach to this issue is key to unlocking the potential in combating and slowing down the many facets of climate disaster all over the world. Though we are not responsible for the devastating decisions and actions of past generations, we are still responsible for our present and immediate future. We continue to work to move the needle in our favour by reminding ourselves of what we should and must do to help care for the environment.

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At the same time, we need to teach the young generation – the future leaders of a very grim world – to adapt and step up as leaders in combating climate catastrophe which has arrived at our collective doorstep.

Hope Alone Does Not Suffice

Actions matter. The endless waves of feelings of hopelessness polluting both adult and young minds could potentially derail our green focus. More importantly, what can the young generation do?

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There are innumerable credible resources available for kids and young people dealing with this specific subject matter. Saving the planet, a monumental task indeed, starts at home. Remember the 3Rs for a start? From avoiding single-use plastic, switching to energy-saving light bulbs, upcycling old clothes, growing your own fruits and vegetables to composting food waste. The list keeps growing depending on one’s immediate surroundings.

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Let’s take it a step further. For a start, share this article with your family and friends. Give the young generation an avenue to share their voice as it is ultimately the planet they are inheriting. 

Empowering each and everyone in spite of varied backgrounds, to actively be an advocate, activist and champion of Earth! Get friends and family involved. Build up knowledge on the environment, for instance by watching documentaries. Contact local authorities to highlight green issues, write to the press and/or even start a petition. It all boils down to speaking up and speaking out.

Simple: Be loud in demanding change while volunteering time and energy to be a part of the change process.

Heroes Without Capes

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As we observe World Nature Conservation Day today, and possibly next year, let us be truly aware and not indulge nor be complicit, both intentionally and unintentionally, in hypocritical behaviour, as champions of the Earth and ultimately our very precarious existence.

As we continue to compound our prayers with tangible actions that matter, we need to be our very own eco-heroes since we are our only hope. With hardship comes ease; for future generations not to be robbed of opportunities to make a mark in this world and only planet we have and call home.

Remember to share this article with your family and friends! And, share your thoughts and eco-tips in the comments section below.