2018 Reflection Summary

By Ian Teñido

f9b1edce-5b5b-481b-b447-a5fd28808805-2427-000001c8188bf8c32018 has seen a tremendous history in environmentalism and this summary is only but a tip of the iceberg. It is not strange to anyone that the worldview on environmental matters especially on climate change has been a subject of change and mutation since its inception. And while the entire world’s focus and zeal have been devotedly directed towards the matters of climate, other sectors of the environment have inevitably been the causality. The thread of articles on my blog for the entire year shows the other issues that concern and call for environmental attention; action to be now rather than later…

To start us of is the California wildfires that occurred in November. Wildfires have been occurring for the longest we can remember. However, the severity of their occurrence has kept bulging and the extent of human suffering is frustrating. By Sunday the 18th of November, 10 days after these fires erupted, there were massive losses and destruction of property that the Butte County estimated to be in billions. Campfire in Butte County had 150 acres of burned land. By Sunday, 65% of the fires had been contained and 77 fatalities were reported. Nearly 950 people were unaccounted for and a total of 12,794 structures were destroyed. These numbers speak volumes in regards to the attention needed in order to naturally contain wildfires; they are simply catastrophic. I hope in 2019 I shall not delve into the issue of wildfires again; and if I’ll ever do, I better shall be highlighting the steps put in place to contain the eruption of these fires in states like California for a change.

Long before the California wildfires, I have highlighted an issue with water scarcity in South Africa, Cape Town. Being a beach town, it experienced one of its worst water shortages courtesy of climate change and global warming and partly due to water mismanagement. The global water crisis is a real problem which is following on the heels of global climate deliberations. The United States is not spared from this problem either as places such as Vegas and Nevada have also experienced water shortages. Not far from this issue are dead zones. The occurrence of such zones is considered natural but scientists have, in recent years, attributed most dead zones to human activity. Dead zones are “areas in the ocean of such low oxygen concentration that animal lives suffocate from.” The worrying aspect of this phenomenon is that humans are the principal suspects in exacerbating hypoxia. Whatever we do on land is so irresponsible that we end up harming all marine lives in the oceans.

Natural-disasters-Are-we-to-be-blamed
Maps of India

If you think dead zones were a big issue, then think about the bomb cyclones that have been affecting the coastal regions of the world year in year out. More than 80 million people in America that live or reside along the paths of the bomb cyclones which speed exceeds up to 50 mph. The flooding that results from this phenomenon continues to cause devastation and reduces families to rugs. Is it a matter of environmental concern? I strongly believe so indeed counting human-caused pollutions, rising temperatures, increasing sea levels, and frequent occurrence of hurricanes and typhoons all over the world makes it hard for such natural disasters to be considered unprecedented, unexpected accidents.

Another very instrumental and at the heart of modern environmentalism is waste management. However, medical waste management has been, frequently, given a wide berth but its immense impact from the infectious and radio-active materials calls for systematic attention and proper disposal methods to ensure that public health is maintained. This issue does not fall far from the concerns on sustainability in sports. Environmental ethics as rooted in human relationships dictates that activities that have the greatest environmental impacts should lead in environmentalism. While there is a sizeable awareness about sustainability in sports, there are also need to increase and maintain such efforts heading into 2019.

Lastly, sustainability is a function of proper use of natural resources. At all times, the rate of extraction should not exceed the rate of replenishment. The green energy projects in Morocco should be enough inspiration to the world that solar and wind power is a possible solution to our energy-intensive economies. At the same time, genetic modifications in plants and animals should be a function of sustainability by ensuring that all unknown impacts are pre-addressed. Going into 2019, I look forward towards a year that would probably provide more positives in caring for Mother Nature, more than the efforts witnessed in 2018. Happy New Year 2019.


 

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