How well do human share this planet with other species?

How well do human share this planet with other species?

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The number of endangered species on the earth and the rate of deforestation are increasing. Human’s activities nowadays are causing too much destruction to the nature and it affects the survival of a lot of species. The unavoidable deforestation in Brazil due to their economic development is threatening the species that live in it. The survival of orangutans in Malaysia is becoming harder due to the plantation of palm oils and illegal pet trades.

The consequences of the decreasing number of other species have already been known to human but they didn’t really put much attention on it probably because they are still not obvious today. Some organizations are already working on it to stop the world from taking this path. The planet belongs to every species God created and we are not the only ruler. The reason I chose this topic is because I hope more people could have awareness about this issue and start taking up actions to show concern to the other species.

Global perspectives
The increasing rate of deforestation of the amazon forest which straddling over nine countries leads to the extinction of 26 species. The survival of every species in the forest are becoming harder due to the shrink of their habitat. Researches had pointed out, as long as the key areas of the Amazon forest are not restored, extinction of species will still carry on even after the deforestation stopped. This is a phenomenon called “extinction debt”, it means instead of disappear all in a sudden, species are meant to die off slowly after they lose their habitat, it takes up a few decades for the debt to be “paid”.

Brazil was known to be one of the countries with the highest rate of Amazon’s deforestation. Globally being the second largest producer of soybeans and having cattle ranching as an important economic investment, deforestation in Brazil is unavoidable. Some other minor factors such as construction of dam, growth of market, mining activities and logging for raw materials have also contributes to the destruction of forest which directly led to the extinction of precious species that are some can be found nowhere other than in the Amazon. It was known to be the world’s largest habitat for the birds and freshwater fishes.

However, the rapid increase in rate of deforestation had caused the loss of habitat for them. Pollution of water due to gold mining badly destroyed the food chain of marine creatures; logging activities highly affected the survival of the animals that reside on the canopy. All these factors add up will lead to the unbalance of the whole ecosystem. Lately, awareness to the consequences of deforestation was created and it has been made a major issue addressed at the Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Plans were given to the nation and efforts were made to decrease or at least decelerate the rate of deforestation.

The government of Brazil had announced a vast area of the forest to be conserved and made into parks, nature reserves, national forests or protected units. Recent years, the rate of deforestation was in Brazil was known to be decreasing, which is a good phenomenon, but still, it is the nation with the biggest area of destroyed forest. Hopefully the efforts made by the government will be more intensive so it will be possible to save some of the species from the threats of the extinction debt.

National perspectives
From a national perspective, in Malaysia, the habitat for the precious, endangered species, orangutans has been badly destroyed. The lives of the orangutans are facing serious threats caused by human’s activities. Due to the growth of global demand for palm oil, the prices are increasing rapidly and led to the development of more plantations. The areas which orangutans lived in are just suitable for the growth of palm oil.

So, these areas are either being cut down or burned to favour the plantations. The problem is, orangutans are creatures that are unable to travel far by land instead, they swing among the trees. The loss of the woods caused them difficulties on travelling and also cut down their food supply because they mostly rely on fruits from the trees as their meal. Orangutans usually lived alone so difficult to travel means difficult to find mates which leads to the fall of birth rate. Eventually, the number of this small population will decrease even more.

Also, the forest fires that were massively set up to give a fertile land for plantations destroyed the forest with high speed and some of the orangutans were burnt to death in the big flames. Being a precious creature, orang utans are well welcomed in the pet trade and zoos. The reports from WWF and TRAFFIC show an increase in the trade in baby orangutans over the past decades. Some female orangutans were even killed by pet traders and their youngs were taken away to be placed in the zoos and circuses.

Besides, the failure in setting strict rules also led to the decreasing of orangutans. Convention on International Trade in Endangered species of wild fauna and flora Appendix 1 listed species cannot be traded commercially. However, Appendix 2 listed species can be traded commercially only if it does not harm their survival. A lot of pet traders and zoo owners are taking advantage on this. The threats faced by the orangutans have drawn attention from our government though. Rehabilitation centres aimed at saving orangutans and releasing them back into the forest are set up in Sabah. Nature reserves which protected the orangutans are also supported by our government. The rate of decreasing of orangutans are now at a decelerate pace.

In my own personal perspective I can say that I contribute a lot to the abusing acts of other species. I seldom take notice of the dangers that are threatening other species and no action was taken by me to save the species that are facing threats. The environment friendly “3R” concept has already been introduced to people for a long time but I do not really practice it. For me, the thing that really matter is the convenience and cost. If I want to recycle something, I first need to classify them into a few groups and send them to the recycling centre since our country still do not have the trash classification and recycling system like Japan.

That will waste my time and money because I have to drive them to the recycling centre. Besides, products that are known to be environment friendly and do not cause any harm to the other species are usually very expensive so I rather buy the cheap ones although they may cause some harm to the other species such as the cooking oil which is made from palm oil may cause the demand of palm oil in the market to rise and more forest may need to be cleaned for agriculture use and the survival of some species may be more difficult.

I think most of the people in my country or even all over the world are still having the same attitude as me. We know, we are aware, but we do nothing to make some changes and just let the situation remains as how it is. I think we shoul stop being like this, be more concern about the issue of other species and do something effective as well. We should realize we are not the only one living in this world. The earth itself was created by Lord for every species on it. We can only have part of the share.

Possible scenarios
If people continue being oblivious towards the cruelty they are doing to the existing species, regardless animals or plants, there will be serious consequences in the future. Badly damaged ecosystem, extinction of species, loss of important raw materials and global warming are highly expected to happen. These consequences will be too much for men to take it. When a key species(a species which is linked to lots of other species) in a food chain extinct, it might affect the number of many other populations, as well as the balance of the food chain or even the whole ecosystem.

The damaged ecosystem might bring a lot of problems such as failure in agriculture due to the change of the environment. These problems are known but unable to fix by mankind. What we can only do is to prevent it. The loss of important raw materials may lead to the failure of industries. There are a lot of precious species of plant which is important as a raw material for industries. Some come out as papers for the final product while some as high class furniture, depends on the species.

If a certain species of plants extinct and it is an important raw material for the industry to be made into certain product, that product might also “extinct” from the market. Also, plants being known as the only oxygen reproducer and air refresher on the earth, it is the most priceless thing in the nature. Human nowadays still unable to invent any alternative for it. So, when deforestation happens at a massive scale, the rate of carbon dioxide in the air will increase massively as well.

Finally, it leads to global warming, the melting of iceberg in the poles and rising up of water levels. The future of the earth is hard to imagine if human continue with the attitude aware but ignore towards the consequences of human’s activities that abuse the environment as well as animals. As the most advanced creature on the earth, we should all pay more attention to what is happening around the world and put in efforts to make up for our mistakes that had been done to the nature.

Possible courses of action
The halt which was wished to be put on the deforestation in Brazil will require a vast amount of money and it will not only affect their economic but also bring effects to their interaction with the international community and the reformation of the world market as well. The attempt of putting the deforestation in Brazil to a halt has been carried out by both government and non-government oragnization for decades and it is still going on today. If they wish to totally stop the deforestation in their nation, it required a vast amount of financial help to compensate the people who work in the related agriculture sector and pay off their international debt obligation.

The government of Brazil has concern about this issue and is trying to put in some efforts but make no intense change. They are trying to figure out a way which can stop the deforestation but does not affect their economic and it is still yet to be known. The Malaysia government should set up stricter laws to stop the pet trade of the orangutans and set up more rehabilitation centre specially for orangutans. People who illegaly deforest the habitat of orangutans for raw material and agricultural use should be punished more severely in order to stop it from happening again.

Right now, the government is aware, but they seldom punish people who commited illegal activities which lead to orangutans’ death. Personally, I think I should practice the “3K” concept more and be more diligent, less selfish. I should think about the other species more. I should also be more cautious when I am choosing the products I want to use. I will have to choose the products that are more environments friendly.

Conclusion
Although we, human is the most advance species on the earth, we should show respect and take care of other species well as well. We should realize we cannot achieve what we have today without the contribution of the other species. Instead of exploiting them, we need to share this beautiful planet with them. Unfortunately, many of us are still oblivious of this and continuing the activities that cause harm to the flora and fauna. “Life would be pretty bleak for humans on this planet if we do not have very many species to share this earth with”( Steve Morrison). Right now most of the people are still having less concern about the situation other species are in but there are also a lot of committee working hard for them. Hopefully in the future we could share this planet with every species in the world peacefully.
by Claudia Chai

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