Monday, March 24, 2014

It's Too Late To Be a Pessimist

Home: A Film By Yann Arthus-Bertrand is an inspiration. The film is almost entirely composed of aerial shots of various places on Earth . It shows the biodiversity of life on Earth and how humanity is threatening the ecological balance of the planet. The manner in which the narrator puts across her message is absolutely mesmerizing. I came across this documentary during my time at Greenpeace. I was fascinated by the stunning aerial images. Yet, most of all, I was drawn in by the beauty of words, chosen to contrast ideas and tickle the mind, a feeling that left me spell bounded.

Climate Change
We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth's climate.
The stakes are high for us and our children. Everyone should take part in the effort
  •  About 20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of its resources.
  • The world spends 12 times more on military expenditures than on aid to developing countries.
  • Over 5,000 people a day die because of dirty drinking water. One billion people have no access to safe drinking water.
  • Nearly 1 billion people are going hungry. Over 50% of grain traded around the world is used for animal feed or bio fuels.  Forty percent (40%) of arable land has suffered long-term damage. 
  • Every year, 13 million hectares of forest disappears.
  • One mammal in 4, one bird in 8, one amphibian in 3 are threatened with extinction. Species are dying out at a rhythm 1,000 faster than the natural rate.  Three quarters of fishing grounds are exhausted, depleted or in dangerous decline.
  • The average temperature of the last 15 years have been the highest ever recorded.  The ice cap is 40% thinner than 40 years ago.  There may be at least 200 million climate refugees by 2050.

It’s Too Late To Be A Pessimist

The cost of our actions is high, others pay the price without having been actively involved.
I have seen refugee camps as big as cities, sprawling in the desert.
How many men, women and children will be left by the wayside tomorrow?
Must we always build walls to break the chain of human solidarity, separate peoples and protect the happiness of some from the misery of others?
Its too late to be a pessimist
I know that a single human can knock down every wall.
Refugee Camps
It’s too late to be a pessimist.
Worldwide, 4 children out of 5 attend school. Never has learning been given to so many human beings . Everyone, from richest to poorest, can make a contribution.
Lesotho, one of the world’s poorest countries, is proportionally the one that invests most in its people’s education.
Qatar, one of the richest states, has opened it’s doors to the best universities. Culture, education, research and innovation are inexhaustible resources.
In the face of misery and suffering, millions of NGOs prove that solidarity between peoples is stronger than the selfishness of nations.
In Bangladesh, a man thought the unthinkable and founded a bank that lends only to the poor.
In 30 years, it has changed the lives of 150 million people.
Antarctica, is a continent with immense natural resources that no country can claim for itself, a natural reserve devoted to peace and science. A treaty signed by 49 states has made it a treasure shared by all humanity.
Geothermal Energy
It’s too late to be a pessimist.
Governments have acted to protect nearly 2% of the world’s territorial waters. It’s not much but it’s 2 times more than 10 years ago. The first natural parks were created just over a century ago. They cover over 13% of the continents. They create spaces where human activity is in step with the preservation of species, soils and landscapes. This harmony between humans and nature can become the rule, no longer the exception.
In the US, New York has realized what nature does for us. These forests and lakes supply all the city’s drinking water.
In South Korea, the forests had been devastated by war. Thanks to a national reforestation program, they once more cover 65% of the country. More than 75% of paper is recycled.
Costa Rica has made a choice between military spending and conservation of it’s land. The country no longer has an army. It prefers to devote its resources to education, ecotourism and the protection of its primary forest.
Gabon is one of the world’s leading producers of wood. It enforces selective logging. Not more than 1 tree every hectare. Its forests are one of the country’s most important economic resources, but they have time to regenerate.
Programs exist that guarantee sustainable forest management. They must become mandatory. For consumers and producers, justice is an opportunity to be seized. When trade is fair, when both buyer and seller benefit, everybody can prosper and earn a decent living.
How can there be justice and equity between people whose only tools are their hands and those who harvest their crops with a machine and state subsidies?
Let’s be responsible consumers. Think about what we buy.

Wave Power
It’s too late to be a pessimist.
I have seen agriculture on a human scale. It can feed the whole planet if meat production doesn’t take the food out of people’s mouths.
I have seen fishermen who take care what they catch and care for the riches of the ocean.
I have seen houses producing their own energy. 5,000 people live in the world’s first ever Eco-friendly district in Freiburg, Germany. Other cities partner the project. Mumbai is the thousandth to join them.
The governments of New Zealand, Iceland, Austria, Sweden and other nations have made the development of renewable energy sources a top priority.
I know that 80% of the energy we consume comes from fossil energy sources. Every week, two new coal-fired generating plants are built in China alone. But I have also seen, in Denmark,
a prototype of a coal-fired plant that releases carbon into the soil rather than the air.
A solution for the future? Nobody knows yet.
I have seen, in Iceland, an electricity plant powered by the Earth’s heat. Geothermal power.
I have seen a sea snake lying on the swell to absorb the energy of the waves and produce electricity.
I have seen wind farms off Denmark’s coast that produce 20% of the country’s electricity.
The USA, China, India, Germany and Spain are the biggest investors in renewable energy. They have already created over 2.5 million jobs.
Where on earth doesn’t the wind blow?

Wind Energy
I have seen desert expanses baking in the sun. Everything on Earth is linked, and the Earth is linked to the sun, its original energy source. Can humans not imitate plants and capture its energy?
In one hour, the sun gives the Earth the same amount of energy as that consumed by all humanity in one year. As long as the Earth exists, the sun’s energy will be inexhaustible. All we have to do is stop drilling the Earth and start looking to the sky. All we have to do is learn to cultivate the sun.
All these experiments are only examples, but they testify to a new awareness. They lay down markers for a new human adventure based on moderation, intelligence and sharing.

Solar Farms
It’s time to come together. What’s important, is not what’s gone, but what remains.
We still have half the world’s forests, thousands of rivers, lakes and glaciers, and thousands of thriving species. We know that the solutions are there today. We all have the power to change.
So what are we waiting for?

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