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Monday
Nov212011

OPINIONS: A WARNING LETTER TO THE SEVEN BILLIONTH BABY

A few weeks ago the seventh billion baby was born into the world: a demographic milestone which brought to the public’s attention the problems associated with population increase. Although the existence of these problems is undeniable, there are many exciting technological innovations striving to combat and overcome the issues. This week on Into the Wild we will be looking to the future, and investigating ways in which tomorrow’s planet will be aided and enhanced by technology. We will begin with a poignant guest blog by Gemma Percy: a letter of warning and hope addressed to the seven billionth baby.

Photo courtesy of craighwk

A Warning Letter to Baby No. 7,000,000,000

Hello and welcome to the world. Open your eyes and feast on life around you. Wherever you have been born, it is important for you to know that it is a world conflicted: rich with beauty yet tainted by bad organisation. Your generation will either be the maker or the breaker, choosing to rewrite wrongs or steam ahead on a path of destruction.

Initially, I think we all owe you an apology, because as it stands, there is a lot going awry. Not only are a large proportion of us fighting, but we’re also burning through our resources and having an unprecedented effect on the ecosystem around us. As a species we are increasing by approximately 10,000 an hour and you’ll soon realise that we all need food, water and energy to survive; multiply this by 7 billion and you can start to see the issues we’re facing. I was the 5,034,057,792nd person born, which makes me feel quite young in the grand scheme of things. However, I am not without fault or responsibility.

If you are lucky enough to get an education, you will soon understand that we are putting enormous strain on our planet; so much that we’re affecting its temperature, causing climatic extremes from drought to flooding across the globe. The sheer number of people, coupled with our carbon emissions, material goods and waste levels are leaving less room for those we share our home with. This doesn’t just have an impact on us; this affects all life, from the mighty elephant right down to the simple plankton. A recent study, discovered that an average of 52 species of mammals, birds and amphibians move one category closer to extinction every year. Another study found that humans are destroying predators high in the food chain, such as tigers, wolves or sharks, which will have a large effect further down the food chain. It is not for you alone to save these species from extinction or prevent the leaking of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere; instead, be inquisitive and be fascinated with any opportunities you have to alter the course of our changing planet.

With all this is mind, I believe you are part of a shift. Although we describe a world in decline, you have been born into an age of technological boom. I hope any access you have to this will enable you to understand and effect how we monitor and manage the future. The good news is that as technology advances, your life expectancy will grow; hopefully this will mean smaller families. In turn, this will decrease our population growth and the level of resources we require to survive. Technology will aid the design of greener alternatives such as electric vehicles, renewable energy and eco-homes; further conservation of ecosystems through powerful research tools and worldwide communication; and importantly, allow us to put in place measures to ensure a sustainable future. I hope that you are able to witness past years of rapid technological change culminate in answers to crucial climate and conservation questions.

This may seem a daunting task, but one person cannot change the world. It is the little things we do together that will go a long way. You are a milestone: a testament to the success of the human species. Let’s hope that humans can use this success to protect the planet that has served us so well. We should all act as ambassadors for a new generation: champion sustainability, encourage an understanding of the environment, and be a small part of the change we all need to see in the world.

By Gemma Percy

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Reader Comments (1)

Well said by Gemma Percy! :) Change should start from each of us and if we all change and act as ambassadors for a new generation like what Gemma said, the world can change. And we'd all be looking at a brighter future.

November 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLance Morrisey

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