Thursday, September 28, 2023 | Rabi' al-awwal 12, 1445 H
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Let’s promote harmony with nature

Oman is one of the first countries to make great strides in issues related to the environment and climate

Since my high school in the late 70s, I have seen Earth Days celebrated every year, mostly with solemn festivities to demonstrate support for the protection of our environment.

On the day, which is also known as ‘International Mother Earth Day’, people plant trees, clean up their towns and roads, take out rallies, sign petitions, and meet with the officials concerned. Regrettably, the day comes and goes without much tangible progress!

We all very well know the importance of the earth in our lives. It is the principal source of all essential nutrients for all living things on the planet. It provides everything we need, including the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the home we live in!

Unfortunately, the only home we have is at a breaking point. It is even messier. We have damaged two-thirds of the earth's oceans and three-quarters of its land. We see pictures of animals on land and in the ocean with trash in their bellies or around their body, and corporate factories and large companies around the world along with fossil-fuel-filled vehicles polluting our air and our living spaces.

These man-made changes to nature as well as crimes that disrupt biodiversity have gathered more pace leading to the destruction of the planet. The final result is that millions of people are affected by extreme heat, wildfires, and floods.

In the words of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres: "Biodiversity is collapsing as one million species teeter on the brink of extinction. We must end these relentless and senseless wars on nature. From the air we breathe to the water we drink to the soil that grows our food humanity's health depends on the health of Mother Earth”.

The constant destruction of the planet’s biodiversity has accelerated climate change and made us even more vulnerable to it. Adding fuel to fire is the damage our ecosystems threatening human health. By diminishing our sources of food, medicine, water, and even oxygen.

By encroaching into wild habitats and exploiting the creatures within them, we also risk new diseases jumping from animals to humans, as the devastating Covid-19 pandemic did. Yet we seem hell-bent on destruction.

The single most serious threat to our world now is climate change. To avoid catastrophic harm, we must reduce carbon emissions. And, with global energy demand forecast to rise 56 per cent over the next two decades, meeting those emissions objectives will be unattainable if we rely solely on traditional fossil fuels.

In the same way, junk and waste of all kinds have been dumped into the world's water bodies, polluting them. Plastic has led to land and water contamination. Biological and electronic wastes contribute to water and land contamination as well.

Oman is one of the first countries to make great strides in issues related to the environment and climate. It supports international solidarity in addressing the problem of climate change and its negative effects.

The Sultanate has contributed effectively to reducing the risks of global warming and the adverse effects of climate change. Yet it is not considered safe from global climate change due to its geographical location near the sea and oceans which makes it vulnerable.

So saving the earth is not merely the need of the hour but much more. We need a healthier plant. We need nature more than it needs us. Our world has been changing and will continue to change – with or without us. Saving biodiversity, ecosystem by ecosystem is the only way to save ourselves!

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