Environmental degradation has gotten to a level where pessimists can easily write off our beloved planet as being beyond salvage. Every indicator seems to affirm this pessimistic view because, to say the truth, everything is in a mess. The forests are gone, rivers are drying up, lakes and seas are staggering under the weight of toxic chemicals and filthy debris, and hundreds of species are facing the threat of extinction, yet no one seems to care.
The world’s major powers, which everyone would expect to rise to the occasion and save the planet, blatantly refuse to commit to any effort to change the devastating trends. Interestingly, they insist on having a seat at forums organized by the few sensible people who still have the mind and courage to try salvaging what remains of our planet.
Nevertheless, even deep in the midst of such gloom, there is always hope. The planet Earth can be nursed back to health if the right measures are taken and implemented with the right intensity and consistency. So, what are these measures? The answer to this question is quite simple, the only thing that makes it overly complex is we humans.
Look at the U.S. and China for example. When it comes to matters environmental conservation, they simply refuse to commit themselves or they do so on paper, but do not make any meaningful efforts to comply. What is even more annoying about it is that even so, the world still listens to them when they force other countries to pay homage to their egoism.
If these matters were to be left to me to determine, the answer would be very simple and forthright. Every country would be expected to comply with measures that have been agreed upon or face sanctions such as those that the U.S. and its allies generously imposes against “the enemies of democracy.”
I mean, the world is not short of international environmental agreements that are aimed at protecting the environment and restoring areas that have been destroyed. For example, it is often argued that the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 was the turning point in global environmental protection. The world came together and ratified two major environmental protection treaties.
These were then followed by the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and several others later, but nothing much has been achieved in terms of what the agreements were intended to achieve. Why? Because the world’s only economic and political superpower, the United States, chose to sit on the fence over the issue.
My question is this. There are global bodies that are concerned with the protection of the environment, why can’t they effect punitive measures as stipulated within their guiding principles against the countries that choose not to comply with what they have ratified? If such punitive measures do not exist, then they should be instituted by the concerned authorities and applied without fear or favor.
If after this, no one or some people are unwilling to comply but no punishment is forthcoming as has been the case since 1992, then such bodies are totally irrelevant. In fact, they add to environmental degradation by consuming resources for no apparent reason. The UN, for example, has specialized bodies that look at various issues such as trade, security and so on. It also has a body that looks at environmental issues.
This organization should be reorganized in a manner such that whenever any country goes against any of the globally agreed rules and regulations of any of the affiliate bodies, it faces punishment just they way it would if, for example, it breached trade or security rules and regulations. A good idea would be to ensure that a country that refuses to comply with environmental conservation rules is prevented from doing business with the rest of the world until it complies. When China wanted to do business with the world, it invested a significant amount of resources to convince the world that it had abandoned its closed-door policy. Well, clearly not 100 percent, but enough to convince the UN. Why not bring the same approach to environmental matters. I can say confidently that our planet will get back to a pristine condition in no time.
Such an approach sounds radical or outright ridiculous and would face serious barriers before it becomes enforceable. Moreover, who to enforce it and how to do the same when a country fails to comply can easily lead to a bloody global war. However, I am certain that if the world were to operate under such a regime, the hullabaloo about some countries refusing to honor their commitments to environmental protection will be a thing of the past.
In conclusion, I recognize how insignificant my article is with regard to the global environmental conservation discourse. But even so, I have the freedom to express my frustration about the hypocrisy I see when environmental conservation is the subject of discussion. I hope and pray that one day, the world will come to appreciate how serious a matter this is. I also hope that when finally happens, it will not be too late for our beloved planet.