“We are using resources as if we had two planets, not one. There can be no ‘plan B’ because there is no ‘planet B’.” – Ban Ki-moon

This week’s topic was mostly focusing on the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’, as well as how to ensure we keep promoting economic growth without harming our environment.

The subject of protecting the environment is one which is very important to me. All my life, I grew up believing that we, humanity, have some sort of a ‘moral obligation’ to the world. Since we have been living on this planet for centuries, we are the ones responsible for taking great care of it. Unfortunately, it is sad to say that we are also the ones responsible for polluting and destroying it. Man-made disruptions have been affecting ecosystems more than ever. We have been creating danger for both us and animals.

One of the biggest issues is indeed the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’. It occurs when a group of individuals, all acting in their own self-interest, deplete common resources to the detriment of a larger group. An example we should not forget is overfishing, which not only removes essential predators, but is also a threat to local food sources. Another one is traffic congestion, which creates a negative externality: pollution. What is unfair here is that it is always society paying for its costs. What I find worrying is that we will never be free from such issues. There will always be negative consequences whatever humanity decides to undertake. For instance, according to the Vice-President of the World Bank: “The wars of the next century will be about freshwater.” Take a second and think, when you hear this, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Concern, indeed.

After all, I believe we should not lose hope. Over the last few decades, different international agreements (e.g. Kyoto Protocol) have been put in place designed to protect our environment, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which has reduced the effects on climate change. All of this, leads me to the following statement: “Personally, I appeal more to the modernists.” I do have faith that science and innovation will manage to overcome the growth problems we currently face. We, human beings are exceptional, and we should not let others manipulate us. I further support the idea that innovation is an unlimited resource, and that it allows for autoregulation.

Let’s not forget that biodiversity is important, and that earth is our home. It is where we live, and I believe that most of us agree on the idea of living in a better world, rather than in a polluted dump. My advice would be to always choose to do what is morally right and good to society, rather than simply transferring your personal costs to others.

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