Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Importance of Environmental Conservation

This week started of on a sad note after waking up to the sad news that world known environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai had passed away due to cancer.

Maathai became a key figure in Kenya since founding the movement in 1977, staunchly campaigning for environmental conservation and good governance. She won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her reforestation work in her native Kenya — the first African woman, the first Kenyan and the first environmentalist to receive this honour. Her organisation, The Green Belt Movement has so far planted some 40 million trees across Africa and increasing.

Following her death, makes you reminisce her environmental struggle and wonder why a person would go through all she went through, all for the sake of saving our environment? It must mean much more than we imagine for her to have fought against opposition, to a point she would get physical beatings, protecting our environment!

The importance of environmental conservation

by Judith Willson

Environmental conservation doesn’t just mean protecting cute animals on the other side of the world.  It is in fact essential to our own survival.  If your response to anything to do with the environment is either ‘there are more pressing issues’ or ‘who cares?’ then it might be time to consider how important it really is.

Importance to agriculture

Agriculture depends on the environment and we depend on agriculture.  This is obvious in countries where the economies depend on agriculture but applies to all.  A country’s wealth might come from something else but its population needs to eat.  Conserving the environment and preventing soil erosion, desertification, and flooding is essential.  Unsustainable farming techniques not only impact natural ecosystems but also ultimately make farming itself impossible.

Importance to fishing

While much of our food comes from agriculture, the oceans are also an essential source.  Communities worldwide depend upon seafood.  Marine conservation is vital to protect human food supplies as well as marine animals.  Looking after the seas doesn’t just mean saving big, glamorous animals from extinction, important as this is. At the moment there are serious conservation issues affecting the oceans, including over fishing and pollution. The complex, interlinked ecosystems need conserving in our own self-interest.  You might not be interested in saving the whale, but saving the human might strike a chord.

Importance to climate

Human activities impact the climate, and this affects all life.  Droughts, floods, and extremes of heat and cold, are caused by global warming, which is almost certainly linked to greenhouse gas emissions.  Some countries are already experiencing disastrous effects, while others it is just, for the moment, inconvenient.  There are other, more local, climate changes also caused by not treating the environment with respect.  For example rainfall is affected by deforestation.  Conservation of natural environments should be done not just for their own sake, but also for that of the world as a whole.

courtesy of

These are just but a few reasons as to why saving our environment is vital to not just human life but all kinds of life. We therefore should work as hard as Professor Wangari Maathai if not harder, in making sure that her work of saving our environment goes on and that her dream lives on.

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