helping the environment is a pain.

Going green really quite troublesome. There’s always something new you’d have to remove or change in your life just because it’s bad for the environment.

So why bother?

After all, we’ve all lived a certain way for a large portion of our lives and it’s been mostly fine. Uprooting all of that now by changing the way we live seems quite difficult – to some, it might even seem ridiculous. 

But today, on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I hope to at least convince some people that making an effort will be worth it. Unlike my usual content, some parts may be a little dark, but please read till the end, as there is a silver lining in all of this.

Let’s start with the idea of One Health.

The three facets of One Health.

One Health is an approach to human medicine that has been around for a long time, but it has only gained more recognition in recent years. It is an approach to medicine which acknowledges that human health, animal health, and the environment are closely linked and interdependent on one another.

When you think about it carefully, it’s an idea that makes a lot of sense. In fact, the current pandemic is a good illustration of this concept.

Deforestation and the clearing of habitats have brought humans closer to wildlife, thus enabling easier access to them. Trapped wildlife are kept in deplorable conditions, with an extremely stressful environment. This, coupled with the wide variety of species that are housed in close proximity, was the perfect breeding ground for the highly infectious pathogen we know as COVID-19.

As of this writing, there have been over 2 million infections and over 170,000 deaths worldwide.

Environmental Health, Animal Health, and Human Health.

The obvious lesson here is that we all stand to gain something from protecting and conserving the environment and wildlife. After all, 60% of all known infectious diseases and 70% of all emerging infectious diseases have origins in animal sources.

The One Health approach is largely focused on detection and improving prevention measures, involving cooperation between experts in the fields of science, sociology, politics and law, among others. To think that the field of medicine alone is responsible for upholding human health is absurd.

But in my opinion, this is a relevant example of a very unflattering truth.

Whether or not we realize it, our actions can have really surprising and often unexpected consequences. After all, we live in a complicated and messy world. Something seemingly innocent like buying minced beef from a wet market or even just eating peanut butter can contribute to deforestation and climate change, each in their own way. 

Both are actual issues and not total exaggerations, and I’ll cover them someday soon, but for now I digress.

One way or another, we’re all responsible for what the world has come to today. I’ve been told that doom and gloom is a terrible way to get people on board with ideas. It alienates people and turns them away. However, I do think that there is no point in sugarcoating it. That’s just the state of the world now.

We live in a world of excess.

I must recognise that as a born Singaporean, I am very privileged. The fact that I’m able to sit behind my laptop to type this, without having to worry about how the pandemic will affect my livelihood; that I can simply walk down to the supermarket and buy what I need without having to worry about malnutrition or extreme poverty, is something that I’m truly grateful for. 

However, I do often take my privilege for granted, forgetting that privilege comes with responsibility. I do believe that I am not alone, though. Often, we do not stop to spare a thought about those in developing and undeveloped nations, which are stricken with poverty and destitution. We do not care about the very people who are in dire need of resources readily available to those of us living in developed nations such as Singapore, because we have simply chosen to filter them out of our lives for mere convenience. 

Since we are privileged, we are able to get an education, we have multiple platforms to share our experience and stories on, and we have access to more resources than others have. This means that we are well equipped to do more for the environment, and we need to start making an effort before it is too late. 

After all, we are one planet. One Health, remember? The more harm we cause to our environment, and the animals is our midst, the more it’ll eventually come to bite us in the back.

Although the Earth isn’t doing too well, there is still hope. If we do not act now, we might lose our chance to thrive in the coming decades – we might lose our future. We need to stop thinking about things being “inconvenient”, “none of my business” and so on. Although it is not easy to change, it all has to start somewhere, and that is what I hope to inspire with this post, this site, my Instagram account, and every other aspect of my life.

Change on an individual level is a difficult, but critical first step in the right direction.

This is my philosophy for doing what I can do. And I do hope that in some aspect, this has helped motivate you to want to make a change as well. I’ve been there; I’ve started from the beginning, and I know how difficult it is to start changing once we’ve become so set in our ways, but it gets easier with time. Trust me.

What’s really the most important thing is to not get discouraged. We have to see the world in the way it truly is right now – a mess. But we can’t let that deter us from doing what we can to improve.

A couple of voices may not mean much, but together we can truly make a difference. Systemic change on a corporation and government level is an absolute necessity for any long-term progress in the right direction to be viable and sustainable.

For that to happen though, we have to take that first step for ourselves, and lead better lives. Not just for wildlife, but for all lives.

References/Image Credits

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/one-health

https://www.cdc.gov/onehealth/basics/index.html

https://www.cdc.gov/onehealth/basics/zoonotic-diseases.html

https://www.careershifters.org/expert-advice/how-to-overcome-choice-overload-when-changing-careers

Yeah I can’t for the life of me figure out why the last link turns out this way. Anyone knows please help thanks heh

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