Life & Stories

Are We Having A Systems Error?

Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash

I remember when I was young, in our small town then, in our little corner of the world, there was so much beauty in nature, the greenery was breathtaking. Now, most of the trees are gone, the flamingos are gone too. The flamingos defined the little town then, they were a huge tourist attraction site in Lake Nakuru with thousands of these magnificent pink birds. We used to hear them go to the lake every morning at 6 am and always looked forward to 5 pm every evening to see them fly back east in their beautifully arranged v-shaped flocks followed by their graceful songs. We always wondered where they’d go in the evening, did they have a colony of nests somewhere in the distant hills? You could tell the air was cleaner, streams, rivers, and waterfalls flowed through the year with so much life in the water. 

Life is interdependence. Everything on earth is dependent on something. We, however, live ignorant of these interdependence’s creating a disconnect between us, and the world. For example, the device you are using now, phone or computer. You charge it and connect to the internet, but back of this, the materials used to make it were mined from the earth, the electricity generated from earth either hydro, coal or other depending on where you are and the internet connectivity is dependent on the ether for transmission. Everything that you use in your daily activities is connected to other things and the external environment is also dependent on us such as the plants use the carbon dioxide we expel and we inhale oxygen from the plants. 

The level of interdependence has grown accelerated by the advancement of life and technology but we do not understand it. In as much as we destroy the environment through mass productions in industries, mining, deforestations and travel, our intention is not to destroy the environment but through systems ignorance, we end up doing the destruction. So, hypothetically, we live in a system ignorance where we consistently produce suffering for each other, other humans, and other living creatures unintentionally. The interdependence has grown and the awareness of the dependence has declined. We are altering a complex set of global systems that shape, weather, climate and life on earth. Our economic, technological and population growth affect greatly these systems. 

Today, the levels of pollution have reached an all-time high to a point of destroying clean air to breathe in some areas, we have affected the weather patterns, possibly have a hand in the increasing earthquakes experienced. A balance is required between all systems in this case between humans and the environment because our growth and survival are dependent on this balance. Currently, are we, humans consuming more resources than the Earth can regenerate? Is our growth sustainable? Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Bruntland

There are two types of natural resources: renewable and non-renewable. The former is inexhaustible, like solar radiation, or their renewal is relatively rapid, as is the case with biomass. Non-renewable resources are those that exist in nature in a limited way because their regeneration involves the passage of many years, such as minerals and fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal). The rate of exhaustion should not be higher than the rate of regeneration. Human beings are depleting the planet’s natural resources and standards of living will begin to decline unless immediate action is taken. The environmental effects of over-exploitation of resources is the disappearance of habitats essential for flora and fauna and, therefore, the extinction of species. Economically, agricultural commodity prices will inevitably soar because of the high cost of production and lower yields fueled by over-exploitation for example, 33% of the world’s soils are moderately to highly degraded, according to a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report published in 2017. For Health: if we do not take care of the forests there will be fewer CO2 sinks and therefore more air pollution. This can lead to loss of lives in the future from over-pollution and health complications related to the same. 

The Global Footprint Network asserts that “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” but it may be impossible to create a single metric that can capture all human impacts on the environment. Earth Overshoot Day highlights unsustainable uses of natural resources, but we need scientifically robust ecological indicators to inform environmental policy, and a broader understanding of ecological risks.

With the current global pandemic, we should all as one people look to identify what went wrong, wake up from the ignorance that is creating all the mess we are getting ourselves in. Following the pandemic strict actions such as bans on travels both air and automobile in many regions, closure of manufacturing industries and other processes such as mining, there has been a small but noticeable change in nature, like a small reset that will be beneficial to all. This is clean air and (regeneration & rejuvenation) of flora and fauna. 

“Yet we act as if simple cause and effect is at work. We push to find the one simple reason things have gone wrong. We look for the one action, or the one person, that created this mess. As soon as we find someone to blame, we act as if we’ve solved the problem.”

– Margaret J. Wheatley

As we learn from this pandemic, we should as one people work towards being more aware of ourselves and the environment.

“Our universe is still unfolding and the human beings are active and creative participants. Creativity is both the universe’s ordering principle and its process, part of the greater creativity of nature.” – Gregory Cajete

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