Environmental awareness is to understand the fragility of our environment and the importance of its protection. Promoting environmental awareness is an easy way to become an environmental steward and participate in creating a brighter future for our children.
What is Environmental Awareness?
To define environmental awareness we must first understand the environmentalist movement. Environmentalism is an ideology that evokes the necessity and responsibility of humans to respect, protect, and preserve the natural world from its anthropogenic (caused by humans) afflictions.
Environmental awareness is an integral part of the movement’s success. By teaching our friends and family that the physical environment is fragile and indispensable we can begin fixing the problems that threaten it.
Numerous resources are available to promote environmental awareness; group learning (in or outside of class), informational and inspirational seminars, such as our Awakening the Dreamer Program, and environmental books and brochures are just a few of the tools that can get you involved in promoting the environment.
How to Promote Environmental Awareness
When learning about the environment’s declining health it is easy to feel discouraged, but what keeps us fighting for a healthy world is the future of our children. They should not have to inherit our environmental problems and in order to keep their future bright, spreading awareness is imperative.
Before you can begin promoting environmental awareness in your own community you must first make sure that you have a thorough understanding of environmental issues. Staying up to date on environmental news and reading comprehensive books about environmental threats are both great resources, but if you’re the type of person who prefers a more interactive approach, attending environmental seminars is a great option.
Our Awakening the Dreamer Symposium is an inspirational and informative seminar that discusses man-made environmental issues, while also instilling a sense of hopefulness for the future.
Join the 1000s and Kickstart Your Environmental Awareness Campaign with The Awakening The Dreamer Symposium.
A 4-minute introduction to the experience that will transform your relationship to the crisis and opportunity of this time in history.
Our Awakening the Dreamer Symposium, created by Pachamama Alliance, is an invaluable resource to help you become environmentally aware. Specifically, the symposium demonstrates that environmental destruction is the result of a flaw in the modern world’s belief system, in which our actions lack consequences. Meanwhile, our partnerns in the Amazon forest, the Achuar, (along with the rest of the world) are experiencing our consequences daily with the continued threat of big oil destroying their home. In order to keep their rainforest pristine we need to stop our dependence on fossil fuel and begin using environmentally sustainable resources.
The symposium makes a powerful point that the environment is in critical condition and while there is still hope to change our course, time is of the essence. During the symposium a desire and urgency to become an environmental steward is inspired; the symposium appropriately calls this desire as being in a state of “blessed unrest”.
Once the participant has awakened into this state of “blessed unrest”, they are supplied with courses of action and resources to begin promoting environmental awareness in their community.
Make a Difference
After you have become environmentally aware you can begin teaching those around you. The symposium acts a catalyst for you to begin your role as an environmental steward and provides online courses and other resources to keep you on track.
A good course of action that ensures your continued participation as a global citizen is to pick an environmental issue that strikes you as most urgent. The amount of environmental issue seems limitless and while they are all important it is best to initially focus on one cause. You will soon see that all environmental issues are intertwined and will find your niche of interest.
After your decision is made you then explain its importance and urgency to your community, friends, and family, create beneficial communal projects, and find more causes to become apart of.
Examples of Environmental Issues That Need Fixing
Here are several cause-and-effect problems that harm our environment:
- Oil Drilling- This issue is one that causes a great deal of environmental destruction. Our dependence on fossil fuel is a global addiction that affects every aspect of the world. Oil spills and offshore drilling poison marine life, oil drilling (on land) suffocates the earth, and the combustion of fossil fuels add to the increased atmospheric CO₂, which in turns causes the progression of global warming and ocean acidification. This is a multifaceted issue and is a good cause to get involved with because it covers such a broad spectrum of issues.
- Deforestation- Millions of acres of forest are cut down for industrial benefit, such as large scale farming, oil mining, and the production of paper goods. Deforestation causes wildlife and biodiversity extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has a Red List of environmentally threatened species with up-to-date information. Oftentimes, the cause for their threatened existence is listed as loss of habitat as it is for many Amazonian species.
- Production of Plastic Goods- Currently our society creates a great deal of waste and much of that waste is comprised of plastic. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2010 alone 31 million tons of plastic waste was created. This waste ends up all over the globe in both land and water, a good example is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Not only is plastic waste an issue, but the production of plastic is also dependent on fossil fuel combustion. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in 2010 191 million barrels of liquid petroleum gases(LPG) and natural gas liquids (NGL) were used in the U.S. alone to produce plastic goods.
Share Your Knowledge
Once you have chosen your cause and figured out some beneficial activities, share it with the world! Get your community, friends, and family involved. Use your political voice in your local city council and propose environmentally sustainable and beneficial projects. Start a community garden, buy from local stores and farmers markets, make your public transportation more efficient and/or start implementing clean energy strategies in your community centers.
It is more than likely that your children are learning about environmentalism in school, but it does not have to be limited to school grounds. Children learn a great deal at home and by using green practices you will be providing them with a strong foundation for environmental stewardship. Promoting environmental awareness is a crucial part of being an environmental steward. Start participating in the change and teach your community what it means to be sustainable.
Take A Stand for Sustainability
Enroll in Pachamama Alliance’s free, 2-hour online course, Awakening the Dreamer, which will equip you with the education, resources, and community needed to take effective action in creating a new future that works for all.
Since 1972, The United Nations Environment Programme has marked 5th June as World Environment Day – an annual event for positive environmental action. This year’s Environment Day is hosted by Canada, which chose the theme of “Connecting People to Nature” – inviting citizens around the world to think about how we are part of nature and how intimately we depend on it. Jonathan Shopley takes the opportunity to review how well we are doing in respecting our critical relationship with nature.
The arrival of the Age of the Anthropocene
The origin of the modern environmental movement traces its roots to the publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”, a scientific analysis of the detrimental effects on the environment of the indiscriminate use of pesticides, published in 1962. The intervening years have seen the publication of equally powerful treatise including Meadows et al’s “Limits to Growth” (1972), Gro Brundtland’s “Our Common Future” (1987), and Paul Hawken’s “Ecology of Commerce” (1993). They successively frame the human impact on our natural environment as an opportunity to better understand, appreciate, value, manage and enhance the natural ecosystems that sustain life on earth.
These and other studies placed our relationship with nature under the microscope, and humanity’s impact on the Earth is now considered so profound that a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene – was proposed by scientists in 2016. This new geological age recognises that the collective influence of humans was small before the dawn of the Industrial Revolution during the middle of the 18th century. However advancements in technology occurring since then have made it possible for humans to undertake widespread, systematic changes that affect several facets of the Earth system.
Our evolution as a species over the past 4 billion years has progressed under the influence of slow changes in geological conditions on earth. The Age of the Anthropocene recognises that human impacts on the natural environment have established powerful feedback loops that now drive the Earth’s evolution at an extraordinarily faster pace.
Navigating the turbulence of the Anthropocene
Evidence of human impact on the resilience of nature grows from day-to-day, and our rising awareness of the risk of losing control has driven a wide variety of political and business responses over the past 50 years. In the 1970s, environmental impact assessments became the norm for evaluating and mitigating the negative impacts of large-scale developments. After Union Carbide’s Bhopal disaster in India in 1984, environmental, health and safety management and auditing was developed as a business tool to prevent damage.
Towards the end of the 20th century, industry turned to nature for inspiration about how to mimic the extraordinary power of ecosystems to self-regulate. Janine Benyus’s concept of Biomimicry sought sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature's time-tested patterns and strategies. The concepts of Circular Economy and Industrial Economy filled in the gaps as the impact of discharges from industrial processes and the impact of post-consumer waste became better understood.
From understanding to inspiration
We are developing a deeper understanding of these impacts from the fire-hose of environmental data collected by a myriad of satellites and a growing internet of environmental sensors which provide an ever clearer picture of our whole earth impacts. What we’re lacking now is the ability to read that data in a way which strengthens our ability to protect and enhance the systems that sustain and support our economic and social well-being. Big data analytics and artificial intelligence will have a critical role to play as we seek to make sense of all the measurements that are supposed to make us better managers of the natural capital assets upon which our evolutionary trajectory depends.
When Canada, this year’s host of World Environment Day, calls on us to connect with nature, they don’t mean through big data analytics, biomimicry or circular economics. I think they are suggesting that as important as it is to measure and understand our impact as a means to repair and protect the environment, it is more important to reflect on the fact that the natural environment sustains the world in ways that we simply cannot yet analyse and understand.
Earlier this year I spent a week in Rimba Raya, a rainforest protection project in Borneo. While I was there, I witnessed the release of five orangutans, orphaned by the ingress of palm-oil into their natural habitat, into an area of forest rehabilitated by the project with funding from our clients. I was watching the release with Dr Birutė Galdikas , the world leading academic on orangutans, who pointed out that orangutans share 98% of their DNA with humans. As we stared into the brown eyes of the soon to be free animals, we could only wonder that a 2% difference makes to our relationship with orangutans so complex. We spoke too about the fact that the largest species on earth is mushroom mycelium that can stretch for kilometres, and move tonnes of nutrients and energy through the earth without our even being aware of it.
As we celebrate World Environment Day in 2017, our increasing ability to monitor, measure and analyse our impacts on nature is a positive step. However, we should not forget that the complexity of nature puts it way beyond our ability to fully understand how it works. We need to be wise and alert to the fact that the Anthropocene could still be our making or our undoing.
Hero Photo: Daz Smith of Dr. Love Graffiti at Bristol UK Upfest, 2015.
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Jonathan leads Natural Capital Partners’ contribution to international policy developments on climate change, and standards for carbon trading and carbon offsetting. He is on the board of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), and the executive team of the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA). Jonathan, who joined our team in 2001, has 25 years’ experience in identifying and mitigating environmental impacts from industry. He is regularly invited to represent the view of business at UN COP meetings, and industry events throughout the world.