Heather Jones' story
Name: Heather Jones
Tell your story in your own words.
When starting my environmental studies course my main environmental concern was the threat of extinction to certain species of animals. I have always loved animals and the thought of humans causing certain species to no longer be able to exist on the planet with us made me upset and angry. I also had concerns regarding climate change and was worried that certain areas in the world would soon be changed forever if the world’s population did not reduce their carbon emissions. However, I felt sure that if we all took small steps we could make a considerable difference to combating climate change. I also believed that there were simple answers to complex environmental problems and believed that through political powers liaising with relevant parties, solutions to environmental issues could be solved fairly amicably.
I feel I was very naive before the course commenced, believing that climate change could be halted easily using small measures. I now realise that instead of just taking small steps, I, along with the rest of the developed world need reduce my carbon footprint by up to 90% in order to avoid dangerous climate change (Blackmore, 2010, p181). I have also learnt how environmental issues are linked. For example, before starting the course I saw protecting endangered species and reducing climate change as two separate issues. I now see how climate change will cause changes to the earth which will increase the numbers of species becoming extinct such as there is a 3% increase in the earth’s temperature, 30% of species will be at risk of extinction (Blackmore & Smith, 2009, p98).
I know realise how complex environmental issues are and that there are often many stakeholders involved within an issue making solutions not as straight forward as they may first appear. For instance an environmental group may want to halt deforestation in an area, however loggers rely on the income from cutting down trees and their children may starve if they are not permitted to do this. In my view, the most pressing environmental concern for the next 10 years is making a real start in cutting global emissions to reduce climate change. Instead of just taking about action, politicians need to spend money on this issue and also create legislation which ensures the whole population takes responsibility and reduces emissions, not just a few. As Roger Blackmore states, people may not wish to take action by changing their lifestyles but if we do not, changes will be forced upon us by ‘environmental disasters and collapsing ecosystem services’ (Blackmore, 2010, p183).
Linked to this the other most pressing concern is the loss of biodiversity. Due to humans destroying habitat, overexploiting resources and creating pollution between ten and thirty per cent of species are at risk of extinction according to the IUCN (Blackmore & King,2009, p44). Action is needed to conserve biodiversity before more species become extinct
Resources: Everett ,B , Boyle, G, Blackmore, R (2010) U116: Environment: journeys through a changing world, block 6, Cities and sustainability Blackmore, R, King, M, Roy, R, Smith, J (2009) U116: Environment: journeys through a changing world, block 1, Setting out from home
The opinions expressed here are those of the respective posters and do not reflect those of the BBC or The Open University. The BBC and The Open University are not responsible for the content of external websites.
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Originally published: Tuesday, 8th June 2010
Last updated on: Wednesday, 28th July 2010
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