School of Life Sciences

The Onus is on YOU to Make the World a Better Place!

International Mother Earth Day was celebrated on 22 April to remind everyone of the importance of preserving the earth and its ecosystems by reducing waste and pollution.

Restore our Earth was the theme for this year and was relayed around the world through a live digital event.

However, taking care of the planet should not be highlighted for only a single day every year, but should rather be an ongoing process ingrained into our everyday lives.

Climate change is real and poses a huge threat to humanity. This earth is the only one we have and it is essentially our home so we must constantly try to make it as habitable as possible for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. We have a responsibility as a society to take care of the environment and promote harmony socially and economically.

The earth provides every resource for sustaining life and it is unfortunate that human activities, big and small, cause irreversible damage to the environment. By taking care of the earth, we can improve our well-being as a healthy environment improves our quality of our life.

The environment is deteriorating, oceans are being polluted with plastic and oil spills, forests are dying, and the destruction caused by climate change is evident with the increase of natural disasters and extreme weather conditions impacting millions of people.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with its further pollution including disposable masks now polluting the world at a rapid rate.

The onus is on us – the people of the world – to raise public responsibility regarding the well-being of Mother Earth.

Here are some ideas to make the world a better place:

•    Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Cut down on what you throw away;

•    Volunteer for clean-ups in your community;

•    Educate: When you further your education, you can help others understand the importance and value of our natural resources;

•    Conserve water: The less water you use, the less runoff and wastewater end up in the ocean;

•    Shop wisely: Buy less plastic and carry a reusable shopping bag/s;

•    Use long-lasting light bulbs: Energy-efficient light bulbs reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

•    Plant a tree: Trees provide food and oxygen and help save energy, clean the air, and assist in combatting climate change;

•    Choose not to send chemicals into our waterways – use non-toxic chemicals in the home and office;

•    Share the United Nations Emissions Gap Report.

Words and photograph: Nkosingiphile Ntshangase