In just over four decades, wildlife populations around the world have decreased by 60 percent, according to the World Wildlife Fund’s (WFF) Living Planet Report. More than 4,000 mammal, bird, fish, reptile and amphibian species have shrunk dramatically between 1970 and 2014.
And if business as usual continues, the global demand for water will exceed viable resources by 40 percent by 2030. “Water is something that we should all be focusing on. As a resource, we should really make sure we keep it, as much as we can,” says the Global Ecology Group (GEG) Founder and CEO Owen J. Morgan.
We also “have damaged the soil matrix”, adds Owen. By now, a third of the planet’s land is severely degraded, and fertile soil is being lost at the rate of 24 billion tonnes a year, according to the United Nations.
Ninety-three percent of children worldwide inhale poisoned air. Experts estimate that 600,000 children died in 2016 as a result of air pollution.
Pollution, deforestation, climate change and other human-made factors have led to a severe crisis. And yet, the younger generations have been for long excluded from the conversations about conservation.
→ The Fridays For Future “Declaration of Lausanne” | August 2019, by 400 climate activists from 38 countries.
But, in recent years, this has changed. Young environmental activists like Greta Thunberg have gained international recognition for promoting the view that humanity is facing an existential crisis arising from climate change.
In August 2018, the by then 15-year-old Greta and other young activists sat in front of the Swedish parliament every school-day for three weeks, to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis.
She posted what she was doing on Instagram and Twitter, and it soon went viral, inspiring the global #FridaysForFuture movement. “Kids have a voice now, and they have a voice on a global scale. Because they can network at a level that we have never been able to,” says Owen.
Within the debate of equitable sharing of responsibilities, it is essential to include the younger generations. It is also crucial to build upon global and multigenerational collaboration to start addressing climate change and environmental degradation.
We are meeting unprecedented challenges, and “I really believe that it is the time for us to actually listen to the next generations”, says Owen. It is upon all of us to give their ideas and visions the required space to flourish and spark the difference.