There are numerous environmental problems facing our planet at the moment. Economic globalisation is causing destruction of rainforests in South America while boring a hole through the ozone layer, global warming occurs because of the increased emissions by transport and industries, melting of polar ice-caps is threatening low-lying coastal areas, damage of marine resources through overfishing is taking place, acid rain and pollution of soil and groundwater resources results from using chemicals and artificial fertilisers to boost crop output, incidence of hurricanes and other natural disasters is increasing.
There is little consensus within both academic and lay circles as to whether the nature is able to cope with the environmental problems itself. In my opinion, ecosystems have a great potential of restoring the state of natural balance; however, the devastating influence of the humankind has significantly undermined this ability. At the dawn of the 21st century, environmental problems are looming large, and many processes are already irreversible.
For instance, species that became extinct due to man’s activity could have been essential elements of certain food chains and habitants. The frequency of large-scale natural calamities, especially in the places that have been for a long time considered relatively safe, is a telling manifestation of the inability of nature to sustain its balanced state. Yet the film argues that today is exactly the day when the humanity can redeem its attitude to nature and prevent a global catastrophe.
Therefore, the need for a different approach to the relations between the mankind and environment is necessary. It is imperative to carry on conservation and purification activities coupled with a persistent effort by both businesses and individuals to reduce (and, under the dream scenario, to stop) their environmentally damaging activities. Both individuals and corporations can make a considerable contribution to stopping (or at least slowing down) the degradation of the environment.
In fact, many individuals seldom realize how their consumption patters are contributing to the aggravation of the situation. The culture of consumerism that constitutes the underlying philosophy of the West fuels unnecessary overproduction: reconsidering one’s consumption pattern can be the first step on the long way of saving the Earth. As Hertsgaard (2000) argues, the adoption of Western consumerist lifestyle by developing nations poses great dangers and has to be stopped before it firmly catches on.
Such an approach implies not only reduction in consumption of non-essential goods and services but also buying from companies that are known to use environmentally-benign technologies in the process of production. The question as to who will suffer first, the Earth or the humans, is incorrect in its essence. Such thinking about the environment is the root cause of the imminent crisis. It is a fatal mistake to think that man is the king of nature. Indeed, our disconnection from the nature resulted in the great degree of alienation and ignorance.
While human species is an inherent part of the Earth’s global ecosystems, men prefer to view themselves as ‘outsiders,’ superior to other species. Such approach brought about the overexploitation of the Earth’s resources, considerable environmental damage, and global warming. As Hertsgaard (2000) argues, in many countries, like in Sudan, environmental problems are inherently and explicitly linked to survival through the supply of food and drinking water.
In China, pollution at factories equally harms humans and nature. The future of our planet in 50 years is solely dependent on the measures the humankind implements now to prevent the imminent crisis. Hertsgaard (2000) associates hopes with new environmentally friendly industries such as solar power. Given the changing attitudes towards environmental problems, growing awareness, and public policy commitment to betterment of our natural habitat, the outlook for the Earth is not as grim as some doomsayers think.