Over the past century, the word ‘environment’ has evolved in meaning and substance. Ask your grandparents what they thought of the environment when they were your age. They would probably refer to their surroundings, their local forests or simply keeping their neighbourhood free from visible rubbish. We now know that environmental concerns are global issues.
But this book is not just about the environment or its problems. It is also about acting together for change. Its aim is to show that there is hope and that successes are happening every day. Our understanding of the interdependence between ourselves and our planet has also been transformed.
The extent of environmental degradation has become clearer. We are now facing the results and impact of our over exploitation of Earth’s natural resources, as well as pollution and damage to its ecosystems. We are taking more from the Earth than it can provide or regenerate, and creating waste faster than the Earth can absorb it.
For more than 40 years, world leaders have discussed our environment and sustainable development (see Section 2). Socio-economic factors such as a growing population and urbanization are becoming of greater concern. But there is a lack of urgency.
We all have a responsibility to implement sustainable solutions that will protect our future and that of coming generations. We can no longer wait for someone else to fix things for us. The time for action is now. Don’t wait until it is too late to make a difference! Change has to start with each of us.
We wrote this as youth for youth to be a credible resource for anyone who wants to find out about the current state of our environment and learn about ways of addressing environmental issues in their communities and worldwide.
The report is presented in a way that can be easily understood with ideas on how to address environmental problems.