Jul 17, 2009, 6:58 AM
This call was made on the eve of World Environment Day, which is annually celebrated on 5 June. This year’s theme for the celebration says: “Seven Billion Dreams, One Planet. Consume with Care” to emphasise the need to manage our natural resources well.
This is because evidence is building that people are consuming far more natural resources than what the planet could sustainably provide.
We are also told that many of the earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points of depletion or irreversible change, occasioned by high population growth and economic development.
By 2050 if current consumption and production patterns remain the same and with a rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, we would need three planets to sustain our ways of living and consumption, said our Environment Minister in The Gambia.
It is also a fact that most of the world’s natural resources such as water, air, coal, oil, natural gas, minerals, soil, forest and timber, wetlands, and coasts have been negatively impacted due to human activities.
Regarding The Gambia, the environment minister has said that our forest cover is being lost at a fast rate; some indigenous species have become extinct due to the inability to adapt to the current situation of the environment; and land degradation, water and air pollution, loss of biodiversity and climate change are all environmental issues that are of great concern.
“It was, therefore, clear that we have been and are still battling with the impacts of unsustainable management of the environment such as sea-level rise, increase in temperature, decrease in rainfall, decrease in ground water level and spontaneous flooding,” the minister said.
The Gambia as a nation is fully aware of the future threats that are likely to result from unsustainable use of our environment, which needs to be safeguarded without compromise, as it is an influential medium for the activities of all living creatures on the land.
Whilst we derive our needs from our environment - the resources of the planet, we need to also preserve the earth for our own good and the continuity of life cycle; hence we must crack a balance so that our prosperity does not cost the earth to our disadvantage.
“You will agree with me that our natural resources are of great importance to our lives. However, due to our activities, we are degrading our natural resource capital at an alarming rate,” the environment minister said.
“Indeed, we are now at a critical stage in our national development as we forge ahead to implement a programme of sustainable growth aimed at improving the basic living standards of the majority of the population, while protecting the environment.”
“In this process, we must take into account the need to conserve and promote the rational use of the nation’s natural resources. To do this we need to continue to improve our capacities to manage the environment, use alternative resources and better resource management plans.”
“If we love our lives, we should protect our national resources and preserve our environment”