Numerous individuals and organisations around the world seek to protect nature and also alert the world to the grave environmental threats facing the planet. Protecting and caring for land, sea and freshwater environments has never been more important. This is a subject that applies wherever you live; and particularly for the Celtic peoples and those of Celtic descent. Our landscape, seas and geographic location has played a pivotal role in our history, beliefs and recognition of ourselves. For our culture tells us that we are part of and completely tied to the lands in which we live and the sea that surrounds us. We Celts cannot but be responsible for the protection of nature and the environment. Our ancestors demand it of us and if you delve into your Celtic soul you will hear that deep voice that says ‘protect the environment’. Wherever it is in the world in which you live or work, listen to that voice within and act upon it.
That need to act is crucial because we have now reached a critical point in this planet's existence. You just have to open your eyes to the changes in climate and the major problems resulting from population growth to realise this. Evidence continues to build and there are a number of studies that point to the issues involved. For example there is the 2014 Living Planet Report by the World Wildlife Fund in regard to wildlife populations having halved in the last 40 years. The report states that "the biggest recorded threat to biodiversity globally comes from the combined impacts of habitat loss and degradation, driven by unsustainable human consumption". Humans are also on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans. This is according to a Study recently published in the journal Science. In regard to temperature changes a Center for Economic and Policy Research report warns that "an additional 1 per cent point of population growth through 2100 may coincide with an additional 2 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature". Global greenhouse gas emissions are also set to hit record levels in the coming period.
This comes on top of research that shows that on current trends world food production will not be enough to meet the needs of the worlds growing population. The Science journal article 'World population stabilization unlikely this century' points to a study by the United Nations, which says there is an 80 per cent probability that by 2100 the world population will increase from 7.2 billion to between 9.6 and 12.3 billion. A considerable amount of this increase is expected to take place in Africa, with two billion babies being born during the next 35 years, doubling the continent's population. This shows the need to address women’s rights and family planning on the continent. As reported by Medical News Today, there have been 15 million unwanted pregnancies created by low contraception in 35 poorer countries. However, the consequences of increases in population can be seen throughout the world. In Europe for example, England has overtaken the Netherlands to become the most densely populated major nation in the European Union.
By 2046, an estimated 494 people will be squeezed into every square kilometre of England compared with 411 now. The population of the United Kingdom's capital city, London, has hit an all time high with statisticians stating that it is now more than 8.6 million. Unfortunately the reaction of politicians is to just expand London outwards destroying ever more natural habitats rather than looking at a long term sustainable optimum population level for London within its current boundaries. Amongst the so called developed countries it is not just a problem facing England of course. Nature and wildlife is under terrible threat throughout the world. Protection of the environment is taking second place to short sighted policies that seek to cater for increased population growth without coming to grips with the main issue at hand. This has resulted in planning controls being relaxed and wholesale destruction of natural habitats. Needless to say there are always those who will see a way to make money out of this destruction, but their greed and opportunism needs to be exposed for what it is.
Meanwhile and alarmingly the best that many of the world’s leading politicians and economists can come up with is the notion of continued population increases as a means of securing economic growth. This is the very opposite of what is actually required to stabilise the situation and secure the worlds precious natural resources for the future. The need for population control appears off their agenda at this time. In fact in the western nations they indulge in their own notion of ‘pyramid selling’, the mantra goes something like this:."we have an ageing population, so lets increase it and hope we can deal with the problems of population growth at some time in the future." A ‘pyramid’ scheme is best described as an unsustainable business model that promises participants payment or services, mainly for enrolling other people into the scheme, rather than supplying any real investment or sale of products or services to the public. Well following this line of thought in global economic terms will mean that there will not be a sustainable future.
We live in a world of limited resources and as the number of people grow trouble lies ahead. All attempts and work to develop scientific solutions, persuade people to consume less, reduce waste, protect natural habitats on land and sea, are crucial. Many dedicated people work incredibly hard within a number of organisations to this end. Just as important is the work undertaken by those that work in local communities to protect their immediate environment and oppose damaging planning applications that threaten natural habitats. It can at times appear an overwhelming task because those promoting new developments can be driven by greed and have huge resources to back them up. However, the work undertaken by all those seeking to protect the environment in any way that they can is having an impact. But we need a stronger commitment from politicians to seek long term solutions to what is a global problem.
It is now clearer than ever that an alternative economic growth model has to be found. One that needs to take measures to control the explosion in population growth that is now being experienced. Awareness needs to be raised of the cost to humanity and other species of unsustainable human numbers and promoting smaller families as part of a sustainable future. All that is on offer at the moment is destruction and lowering living standards. It is time to grasp the nettle and look towards developing a new economic plan. One that offers a long term perspective of sustainability and using the worlds valuable resources to eradicate poverty and save this planet. So whilst doing whatever you can to protect the environment, also look at what your local, regional and national political representatives are saying and doing about the issue. In particular what is their approach to those damaging industrial and housing developments proposed in your area that encroach on wildlife habitats. Where do they stand on the crucial issue of population controls and optimum population levels in your area? Are those developments appropriate to the local area and do they meet the needs of the local community? At this stage we can not afford to allow those with political influence and power and who are supposed to represent us to dismiss these vital issues. As Celts we demand representatives that address the very future of both our communities and the planet.