What does it mean to be environmentally aware?
Being environmentally aware means understanding how our behaviour impacts the environment and committing to making changes to our activities to protect the planet. The environmentalist movement in recent decades has prompted many people to make both minor and substantial lifestyle changes to live in a more environmentally friendly way.
Being environmentally friendly means reducing your impact on the environment as much as possible. Individuals affect the environment in a variety of ways including pollution emission to land, air and water, use of natural resources, energy consumption and waste. There are several significant environmental problems that highlight the importance of being more environmentally aware, for example:
- Oil drilling: Oil spillages are poisoning marine life, and the burning of oil alongside other fossil fuels is contributing to the greenhouse effect. This causes rises in global temperatures which results in climate change.
- Deforestation: Humans are cutting down millions of acres of trees for industrial purposes. Not only does this jeopardise biodiversity, it also contributes to the greenhouse effect by removing carbon sinks that remove carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere.
- Plastic goods: The U.K. generates far too much waste, and much of this is plastic. Plastic is made of materials that might take hundreds of years to decompose. The production of plastic also releases greenhouse gases.
Individuals can have a positive effect on these large-scale problems with relatively minor changes to their lifestyles. For example, reducing the amount of plastic you buy, using transport less and ensuring you recycle as much as possible.
Why is it important?
Since the industrial revolution, concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased by more than a third. This highlights how human activity has the greatest impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, it is our responsibility to change our behaviour to protect the environment.
Due to the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, research suggests that the global temperatures might increase by more than two degrees Celsius by the end of the century. This means extreme climate change, including hurricanes, droughts and floods. These conditions jeopardise biodiversity, human welfare and wildlife. As we have lived in such an unsustainable manner for the past few decades, the security of our natural resources is also at risk. It is essential that everyone understands their impact on the environment and actively engages with attempts to promote sustainable development.
Who needs to be aware and why?
Everyone has a responsibility to be more environmentally friendly and reducing your carbon footprint can be achieved through very minor lifestyle changes. It is critical that we teach children and adults alike about the importance of environmental awareness, to ensure that the lives of future generations are secure. It isn't very fair that the severe environmental consequences of our actions will be experienced by innocent future generations.
When promoting environmental awareness, it is imperative to ensure you're completely updated with the latest environmental news and developments to ensure that the information you're communicating is accurate. Many environmental advocates choose a specific issue and launch a campaign to raise awareness and promote environmental awareness about that area of concern.
An example of this is the 'Sisters Against Plastic' campaign launched by sisters Mary Strong and Teresa Walters. The Staffordshire-based sisters decided to increase their environmental awareness by researching the impact of plastic products on the environment. This prompted their decision to start a plastic-diet competition with one another, using typical Slimming World-esque terminology to raise environmental awareness in a funny and accessible way on social media platforms. Since their year-long 'plastic diet', the sisters have sponsored various 'environmentally friendly' brands including Roberts Bakery. They have continued to educate co-workers, friends and communities by delivering talks with active and pro-active responses to plastic related issues. Most importantly, the sisters promote environmental awareness within the Scout and Girl Guide Communities. This highlights their dedication to educating future generations, helping them to make responsible, environmentally aware choices.