Healthy Nature, Healthy People
Man without nature would be nothing. Nature gave man the reason to live, move and have his being. Nature by providence gives to man all that would matter to him. Man was born into this wonderful garden called Nature to have all his needs met per time and to add colour to it. It supplies us with both nurture and nutrients. The blessings of clean air and water, fishes in water, medicines from plants, biodiversity and wildlife abundance. What we eat and drink comes from nature, where we live, and natural cycles such as climate and nutrients. Nature is always at the beckon of man and has been serving us since its inception. He would not exist alone without interaction and partnership with the natural resources and all other components of nature. His entire survival and protection is hinged on the services provided by nature. The light and heat for plants is provided by the sun, these plants are consumed by animals who are in turn consumed by other animals who may in turn, be consumed by humans in a process called food chain is part of the contribution of the natural world to mankind. The beauty of nature is enough healing to keep man in his right senses.
Man was placed over all things he met on the planet to provide leadership over them, use them in a sustainable way and use them to his advantage while helping them to be fruitful and multiply. It’s quite unfortunate that man ended up bullying the environment. Overexploitation of the natural resources is the order of the day. Greed, the drive for more economic benefits is the main reason coupled with environmental changes as a result of human activities why the health of nature keeps failing. He brought illness upon nature through the chains of unsustainable practices such as deforestation, industrialization, urbanization, mining, use of fossil fuels, use of atomic gases and agricultural practices.
Industrialization has compromised nature, from the release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere to release of particulate matters as well as the release of effluents into the water bodies. Illegal and artisanal mining have opened up our community to flood and erosion which are associated with certain diseases. Burning of bushes contribute to increase in the earth temperature. Pollution (air, water, soil) introduces contaminants into the environment that can maim or even kill plant and animal species. Industrialization has compromised nature, the release of greenhouse gases and particulate matters to the atmosphere and chlorofluoro carbons as well as the release of effluents into the water bodies. The release of waste water discharge and release of waste gases as well as particulate matter into the environment affects human health in many ways with both short and long-term effects bring about sickness like asthma, bronchitis etc . These emissions from various industries contain large amounts of gases especially the greenhouse gases, which then elevate their levels in the atmosphere and water bodies thus resulting in various environmental and health hazards. The discharge into water bodies disturb the balance of their ecosystem which result in the extermination of various aquatic animal and plant species. The discharge of heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, iron, arsenic from the various industries and the washing of run off waters containing these metals into the water bodies also have grave consequence on human health. The biomagnification of these metals up the food chain is also something for man to worry about.
In a bid to live larger than life, man chose urbanization at the expense of nature. With no consciousness of the fact that the exchange of energy, water and momentum between the atmosphere and land surface is greatly influenced by the physical characteristics of vegetation and soil, he has replaced natural vegetation cover with paved surfaces and open spaces are maintained for recreational purposes. Mining activities either sophisticated or artisanal also contributed to the removal of vegetation and topsoil, the displacement of fauna and the release of pollutants.
Townsend, C.M.M in 2006 said “Healthy nature healthy people: contact with nature is an upstream health promotion intervention for populations”. Nature could no longer support life as it is used to because of the way it has been handled by man. Dry areas are becoming drier while the cold regions are becoming flooded, the beauty of the landscapes are almost gone, fields are no longer greener because of the continuous use of chemicals on them, even the sky is becoming blacker rather than bluish. The health benefits of nature are flying away due to the greed of man. The victim here is obviously not nature, it is man who is already on a suicidal mission with all the services provided by nature fading into the thin air day by day with his mismanagement of these natural resources. Earth would no longer perform its duty optimally. Epidemics is on the fast rising, famines and prolonged dry season, flood, drought, high cost of food production, scarcity of food and clean water, desert encroachment, increase in the earth temperature, loss of agricultural lands and increase in natural disasters have been the consequence of the mismanagement and overexploitation of nature.
Man will practically put an end to his life on planet earth unless he make necessary changes today. He must stop immediately all that endangers nature in order not to endanger his own life. He must embrace the 3Rs (Recycle, Reduce and Reuse) among other things like the purchase of recycled products, conservation of water, clearing waterways to prevent flooding, making reforestation efforts, avoiding inappropriate waste disposal, conserving of energy, protecting Native Species, using Technology to Reduce Pollution (oil-digesting bacteria culture etc.), talking with others about the impacts of environmental degradation and joining an awareness group and becoming an advocate to protect nature. This would be our best way of apologizing to nature and bringing back its lost glory.
Man must think environmental sustainability as he practices agriculture, industrialization, mining and urbanization. It is give and take, as he takes from nature, he must give back to nature something worthwhile, add value to nature. He must do back to nature all it has always done to him, it’s his responsibility to nurture it, protect it, beautify it and help it grow to help him grow with this in mind that the health of the nest is the health of the bird.