Environmental Preservation - Synonymity with Social Justice

Much of the focus of sustainability and environmentalism in recent years has shifted to raising awareness on Climate Change. Understandably so, since the rising temperatures we are currently facing are leading us to an equally exponential rise in disasters and a domino effect of damage that when at some point reached, might prove to be irreversible. There is much disagreement surrounding this kind of bold statement. The scientific studies and research is there however, for those brave enough to look.

Regardless to how one feels about Climate Change: it’s a Hoax; environmentalists are sensationalist; the planet has always undergone different climatic ages. All fair points even. However, amongst both sides it could be of relevance to focus on a more present and more important message that opposing views might find a common ground through- How Environmental preservation and better resource management is extremely beneficial to human welfare and development , irrespective of whether Apocalypse is coming, now…or then.

On many occasions I have had in response to the path I have chosen, the assumption made about me that I am a tree hugging; nature loving, hippie eco- warrior. Though some elements of this I can’t deny, especially when I’m frequently spotted in an embrace with a Willow or now in St Vincent a Mango or Bread Fruit, it’s not really actually the case.

The reason why I chose to join RVA and previously take a Master in Sustainability is that after 3 years studying International Development and being totally disillusioned with State and System, I came out with the belief that self- sufficiency and working with nature was the best one could hope for in the search for a better life and the empowerment of people.

The reasoning for many that concord is independence and freeing people from succumbing to exploitation; the power to build your own home and to do it in a way in which the earth accommodates your residency by giving the owner free energy from the power of the sun, the wind, rain water from the sky; healthy food to eat; freedom and cleansing of the temple from agro chemicals; breaking the shackles from the dependence on the agro farming farce, which for many has spelt out a disastrous trap of debt and the loss of their ancestral land.

Sure, we are thinking about the dwindling populations of Majestic harmless animals that used to freely roam the plains of Africa and bring to life the Jungles otherwise known as the lungs of the earth, also now being chopped down at an unprecedented rate. We are worried about the monstrous trawlers scraping every living creature off the bottom of the oceans and dumping back the majority as unwanted littered corpse. It is disturbingly saddening that Australia’s iconic and wondrous Coral Reef has recently been proclaimed close to death, sure.

Yes it is heart breaking. Even more heart breaking, for me, however is what this has done and is doing to humble communities of good hard working people around the world. It is their homes that are being destroyed; their food security jeopardised, established through hundreds of years of careful seed selection and preservation, now lost; their mother lands that they are having to leave behind; their identities and cultures, forever lost whilst landing on complacent shores where the perpetrators further add insult to injury with their often, lack of welcoming and understanding-void ways.

So, regardless to what you think about Climate Change, it is immaterial to these realities that are already being felt. What matters is the here and now and preserving what is left to prevent that more will suffer and that God forbid, the West may be made to feel uncomfortable. Natural resources equate to homes; livelihoods; food; water and the very survival of us all. Seeing first-hand the pride and happiness experienced by one participant taking part in the organic community project currently being carried out at RVA today was living proof and so re-assuring to see.

Our ability to come together and preserve and give back is going to ensure not only the survival of people on the other side of the planet but ultimately the comfort and wellbeing of us all. It is not just a question of Environmentalism or Climate change, more importantly and intrinsically, it is a question of humanity.