Capitalism. That’s the focus of most of the world today. It scares me. I feel that it’s a ticking time bomb.Look at the image on the left. Imagine the sound of a ticking time bomb with visuals of polluted water, polluted air, droughts, dry riverbeds, stunted crops, poverty, hunger, crime, darkness, human-wildlife conflicts…Wait, there’ll be no wildlife because we would have butchered it trying to get precious ivory or teeth or fur or eyes or claws or whatever it is we can create a market for.
Capitalism aims at maximizing profit for a small minority at the expense of others. So capitalism will only continue growing because there’s always need for more profit. When the economy goes down, capitalism goes into some sort of panic and among other things, the rate of unemployment increases.
Capitalism thrives on greed. We want more and more and more and more. In the effort to meet our wants, we destroy the environment like we are being paid. Actually, we are being paid.We have been made to feel like we must choose between conserving nature and having a job.
What we don’t realise is that…
‘ The environment and the economy are really both two sides of the same coin. If we cannot sustain the environment, we cannot sustain ourselves’ – Nobel Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai
‘ Ecology is permanent economy’- Sunderlal Bahuguna (Leader of the Chipko Movement)
Imagine that image above fully loaded… What will happen to tourism which especially in Africa is nature based? Where will we get our energy from? Where will we get our food from? (Or maybe we’ll invent a pill? Bacon flavoured breakfast pill…Or would you prefer the banana pancake flavoured pill?) What will we drink if most of the water is polluted? Perhaps we will rely on reverse osmosis and desalinization but will the poor afford this water? Will we be leaving our homes at night only to avoid the scorching heat because of the destruction of the ozone layer as a result of the pollutants we release into the atmosphere? What will happen to our children? Our children’s children? Will they be born wearing gas masks?
Sustainable development is the answer. The 1987 Brundtland Report defines it as ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.
Encouraging the use of renewable energy such as solar, wind power and biogas, sustainable water resource management which would include rainwater harvesting and recycling water, planting trees to reverse the image above, sustainable agricultural practices which include use of organic manure, soil conservation through reduction of soil erosion and mulching among other practices, ensuring that the 3R’s are put into practice and the final and most important in my opinion, is the education of communities on the importance of environmental conservation.