By Messry Lung’atso

I recall how my primary school teacher made me understand the meaning of the word environment. She simply put it as things that surround us. We would then look around and name them out loud. Trees, soil, grass, the sky, the rivers, forests. All these we mentioned excitedly as we were having an outdoor class. It was then that we were first introduced to the concept of conservation.

Tree seedlings ready for planting. Picture by Abdalla Emmanuel Mutawali

It is not a sophisticated concept as many of us like to think of it. Conservation is basically maintenance, ensuring our environment is clean, safe, secure, and sustainable. By so doing, we are responsibly managing the environment and its resources for our present and future generations and needs.

As a child, I loved the great outdoors and so I took a keen interest in conservation. Then I looked at it from the point that I would be happier with my environment remaining just as beautiful. We have been experiencing unprecedented population growth in the past few years. This has led to an increased need for settlement. Many forests have been cut down to give space for settlement. A decrease in the acreage of trees had adverse effects on the environment at large.

Conservation entails planting many more trees than we cut down. Planting a tree occasionally is a great way to give back to mother earth. Trees serve to control carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Having fewer trees and vegetation poses a risk of climate change. Furthermore, the increased population has also led to poor waste disposal and therefore pollution. Pollution causes about 9 million deaths as a result of dirty air. Plastic pollution for instance has badly affected marine life.

We need to relook our consumption habits. The more we consume, the more we deplete the earth’s resources. Various industries have largely contributed to excessive use and abuse of resources. Some processing industries go as far as releasing harmful waste to rivers, and the atmosphere. In the long run, this tampers with biodiversity as many species die from the consumption of this harmful waste.

Our thirst to have more, produce more, and consume more has blinded us to the harm we cause. It may be by us taking up the initiative to learn and understand what needs to be done henceforth. For instance learning and adapting the use of alternative sources of energy that are renewable will be a great way to start. Human activities like the burning of coal are among other activities that result in climate change. Renewable sources like solar energy and wind power are the best way to go in terms of every use.

Conservation may also include simple habits like organizing community clean-ups. Cleaning does not only make our environment maintain its beauty but it also improves our quality of life. This may mean encouraging school-going children to take up this activity, our individual community groups, and volunteers to come in and be physically involved.

It is the simple steps towards conservation that count. I would encourage that more and more children are brought to light in regard to the environment and conservation. They need to take up this early to secure their future.

It is from the soil that life sprouts. It is from the sky that showers grace our fields. From the forests, trees, vegetation our food comes. From the seas, we are not only blessed by its magnificent beauty but also marine life from which we get food. Everything we as humans are, we owe it to the environment, to nature, to the earth.

It is our sole responsibility to stay accountable and be responsible. To make sure we conserve the environment as did the generations before us. Our future looks down on us to mend our ways for them to the best too. We can make the earth a better place, clean, safe, and secure. Let’s all join hands in our pursuit of a clean environment. Let’s conserve the environment!

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