Nature’s Pain

By Callum Gay, Kate Thompson, Bella Shewan, Blaise Ramage, Courtney Richards and Paul Zoubkov

Reading the environmental facts is like being subjected to one of those infomercials that just won’t shut up. Every time you think it’s over, it starts up again with more bad news.

Did you know?

  • An area of rainforest roughly the size of a rugby field is hacked down every second.
  • Your average domesticated cat eats more protein per day than a person in Africa.
  • Ninety percent of all large fish have disappeared from the oceans in the last fifty years.
  • And — YES! — the ozone hole is larger than Russia and China combined.
  • According to international pollution standards, one fifth of the world’s population breathes air that is unsafe
  • An estimated 500,000 plant and animal species will become extinct in the coming decades
  • Every year an area of land the size of New Zealand turns into a desert due to deforestation and poor agricultural practices
  • The world’s population grows by 90 million people per year — or 240,000 each day
    Six and a half million tonnes of litter are dumped into the sea every year
  • Nearly half the world’s rivers are going dry or are badly polluted. Eighty percent of major rivers in China are so degraded that they no longer support life
  • Some 60-70 million people die of hunger each year.
  • Around 80 percent of what we produce in NZ is thrown away after one use

Don’t Give Up

The state of the environment can be pretty hard to get your head around. BUT the world isn’t completely stuffed yet. It sustains us: it gives us life. We have an obligation to future generations to do the best we can. And theres heaps we can do.

You CAN make a difference!

USE WISELY: Conserve energy, avoid using disposables, recycle materials, and try to walk and cycle instead of using the car.

SHOP WISELY: Support companies that are enviro-friendly, buy goods with the least amount of packaging and always ask yourself, Do I really need it? What makes me want to buy it?’ Make your own stuff!

RAISE AWARENESS: Talk to your mates or whanau about environmental issues. Organise an awareness-raising event or campaign — maybe a concert, public talk or demonstration.

GET POLITICAL: Pressure city council, government and your local members of parliament to make positive change. If you’re 18 you can stand in elections!

JOIN OTHERS: Volunteer with organisations like Greenpeace, or join a global network of concerned and active young people

GO FOR IT! Learn more about the issues, and realise that you can do plenty. Every little bit helps!

This article was written as part of the Global Focus a collaborative project of Tearaway Magazine and the Global Education Centre. It was first published in Tearaway magazine and is reprinted here with their permission

Illustrator: Gavin Mouldey

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