Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Balancing a Planet with 7 Billion People

I was sitting in my Green Communities class the other day and at the beginning of each class we have the opportunity to share something cool that pertains to our field of study. The video below was shared in our last class. After you watch it I wanted to share a few things:

Towards the end of the short clip it says:
"So it's not space we need, it's balance."

7 Billion People
Then gives the following facts:
- 5% of us consume 23% of the world's energy
- 13% of us don't have clean drinking water
- 38% of us lack adequate sanitation
7 Billion People:
- Speaking more than 7,000 languages
- Living in 194 countries

7 billion reasons to think about 7 billion.

I wanted to focus this post on the balance mentioned here. It isn't asking us to live without these things, it is asking us to be aware of them and seek to do better with what we are given.

Often times I feel a little helpless as to what I can do, or even guilty some times at the messages presented to me. You aren't alone, there are 7 billion of us who feel or experience this at one time or another in our lives.

Starfish Story
I want to share a store that, I feel, will help us know at least where to start.

A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance, as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.

As the man approached even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time he was throwing them back into the water.

The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied,"I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen. "But", said the man, "You can't possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can't possibly make a difference." The boy looked down, frowning for a moment; then bent down to pick up another starfish, smiling as he threw it back into the sea. He replied, "I made a difference to that one!" 

Leave No Trace
You don't need to do everything yourself, nor can you. In the video over and over again it used "us," meaning together we can make the difference. Turn off a light, start recycling, shut off the water while brushing your teeth, use your car less or walk and bike more. Donate to good causes, or seek to volunteer. Plant a garden or eat locally grown food. Conserve energy, and reuse waste, in Boy Scouts we practiced the motto: leave no trace. These are simple shifts we can all make in our lives to leave smaller traces, and help give back and make the world a more equitable place.

All 7 billion of us are human, and we have a lot more in common than we do differences, no matter where we are from. What more can you do to improve the lives of those around you on our planet?

Sustainability News

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I just wanted to take a moment to send a personal message out to all those in the fields of Landscape Architecture, Gardening, Horticulture, and Urban Planning/Urban Ecology. I created Landscape Connections for the purpose to share my love and passion for Landscape Architecture and Design, and Urban Ecology. I was a Landscape Architecture Major at Utah State University and currently study Urban Ecology at the University of Utah. I am working to compile as much information in the four previously mentioned fields as possible. If you have any further information, or would like to either add information or see information posted to landscape connections please let me know.