For centuries we have inhabited this earth and have thrived upon the abundant resources it has provided us with. We honored its lands by making it our home. We established our economies by taking advantage of its seas. We capitalized upon its trees to furnish ourselves with pen and paper as tools for our knowledge and sustenance for our intellect. We grew and nurtured our numbers by nourishing ourselves from its fruits and vegetables, the meat of those birds and animals it so motherly shelters as its own. From our very existence to the structures of our civilizations, we owe everything to mother Earth and her generosity. Sadly, however, are heedlessness has callously damaged its life and continues to wound its ecology. It is to thus make amends for our past mistakes and to prevent any future harms to its health and safety that the UN has declared 22nd of April as the International Mother Earth Day.
It is a day to remind ourselves of how utterly vulnerable we are in our dependency upon the well-being of this earth; And Yet, how we and we alone are the substance of our world’s ruin or its survival and evolution. For instance, consider the following facts as presented by the United Nations:
“One new infectious disease emerges in humans every 4 months. 75% of these emerging diseases come from animals.
- A healthy ecosystem helps to protect us from these diseases. Biological diversity makes it difficult for pathogens to spread rapidly.
- It is estimated that around one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction.
- If we fight climate change and biodiversity loss turning to sustainable models will help not just nature, but human health.” This goes to show how our every choice has far-reaching implications over the biodiversity of our planet. And it is by acknowledging and maintaining the interdependency of this biodiversity that we can resolve our ecological disintegration and in effect the ruin of all existence.
One of the environmental hazards to biodiversity is from smoking cigarettes and other forms of tobacco consumption. According to Ocean Conservancy cigarette butts are the most common litter polluting our waterways, rivers, oceans; poisoning the marine life therein. For example, in 2008 the International coastal cleanup program managed to clear about 3.2 million cigarette butts from beaches and waterways, almost twice as much as more than the rest of the trash. Consequently, whenever cigarette filters contaminate water systems, the fish often ingest them since they so resemble fish food(insects). And as they remain undigested in the fish, they reduce their stomach capacity, affecting their eating habits. Additionally, according to research the run-off of one cigarette butt can kill fish in 1 L water. So you can well imagine how much fish is being preyed upon every year by our smoking cigarettes.
It is to address such environmental and other hazards caused by our smoking cigarettes that the human development foundation (HDF) in collaboration with other non-profit organizations has launched a campaign for the effective control of tobacco consumption in Pakistan. So let us too join this campaign and play our part in educating ourselves, our family and friends, and our circle of influence about our responsibilities to the betterment of humanity and the survival of all those species who are sheltered and mothered by this same earth we call our home. Let us own the fact that for ages this world has been ours; it is about time that we begin to show how much we deserved it’s being our home.