Greener Environment What does it mean to “Go Green,” and how is it a means of saving the environment? Going “green’ means creating a lifestyle where you reduce the amount of pollution and waste that you produce, and making an effort to protect the environment. Sadly today, many people have forgotten or have neglected the responsibility of maintaining a healthy and green environment. If this problem continues, this world will be land where there will be negative consequences for the environment and for humans. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that 92 percent of the world’s population breathes air containing pollutants exceeding the WHO limits, in a new research released in 2016. This means that only 8 percent of the world’s population breathes pure air. Business Insider states that according to American Lung Association’s 2018 “State of the Air” report, more than 133.9 million Americans live in places with unhealthy levels of air pollution. These statistics should spark a desire in us to make change in the environment.
The Quran and Sunnah provide a guideline on how a community should be in all aspects. The area of focus for this paper is how it can become “green,” environmentally friendly and sustainable?Not every topic will have an Ayah or Hadith directly related to it but they will be indirectly mentioned. The Quran along with the teachings of the Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) instruct and encourage mankind to establish a community that has complete harmony between nature and its inhabitants. Society today promotes a culture of consumerism, where personal contentment depends heavily on the purchase of material goods. People have developed a characteristic of extravagance, which is a major cause of the environmental pollution.
Environmental pollution is one of the main issues facing humanity and other organisms on our planet today. According to the World Counts, 99 percent of whatever we buy is discarded within six months. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran, “O Children of Adam! Look to your adornment at every place of worship, and eat and drink, but be not prodigal. Lo! He loveth not the prodigals (7:31). We need to live a more minimalistic life, where we buy what we need, use what we have, and disposing of waste properly. By reducing, reusing, and recycling, we can help our community and the environment by saving money, energy, and natural resources (EPA). Every living organism needs clean and pure air to survive, but air pollution is rising at a significant rate. According to a study, in some urban areas air pollution has increased to somewhere between 50-90 percent. If the air pollution continues to rise, more people will become sick, get diseases, and even die. Today about 5.5 million people die each year around the world due to the air pollution. The leading cause of air pollution in the United States is the carbon dioxide emitted from automobiles. So what are some things that we can do to decrease air pollution?
First of all, we carpool to work or school in order to reduce CO2 emissions. We can also plan to run multiple errands in one trip, which would conserve gas. It is important to keep vehicles well-tunes as well, in order to increase their efficiency. If an individual wants to completely give up the use of petroleum, then an electric car would be the way to go, as it does not give off any CO2. Air pollution can also be reduced by using solar, or even wind energy. Water, is a substance that is crucial to all living organisms, as well as the earth. Without water, the Earth will become like the other planets which cannot sustain life. The earth is 75 percent water. Just like the earth, the human body is also made up of about 75 percent water. When the human body gets low on water, the person gets dehydrated and might feel fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches and much more. Then the question is, what if a person cannot get clean water? What will they do? Water pollution is on the rise today. Some of the things that contribute to water pollution are sewage, garbage and chemical wastes from homes and factories. These things cause damage not only to the water, but to all the organisms using or living in the water. These wastes produce toxins that are poisonous to the animals and plants that rely on that water.
Over 1.4 million people die from water pollution, and over 100 million marine life die from it. This means that after some time, when the majority of marine animals are affected by the pollution, then the negative harms will carry over to us. One way to change this is to divert the contaminated water to treatment plants or wastelands. Another problem is using too much or wasting water which is causing drought world wide. According to ncei.noaa.gov, the drought levels in America have increased to 24.1%. This can be prevented if we have water conservation education in schools and community forums, efficient household appliances (toilet, dishwasher, showerhead, etc). Plastic is a substance that is commonly produced around the world. From food packaging and toys to pens and sculptures, different kinds of plastic are constantly used and discarded. According to Plastic Oceans, there is about 300 million tons of plastic made each year, and sadly, more than 8 million tons is dumped into the ocean. This affects the marine life negatively. The One Green Planet states that about 700 marine species die annually from plastic pollution, and 100 million marine mammals are killed each year.
Plastic also greatly harms humans. How is plastic dangerous for humans? According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, chemicals seep out of the plastic materials and are found in our body, which can cause many dangerous illnesses like, respiratory problems, different cancers, birth defects etc. The harms of plastic is a serious matter that is causing the death of wildlife, and giving human beings illnesses that could have easily been prevented. The easiest solution is that we stop using disposable plastics. The human body inhales oxygen and exhales carbon dioxide, but there is living organism that helps the human body and does the exact opposite. It inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen. This organism is called a tree. Trees play a huge role in the environment, but sadly today many trees are being cut down for human use. This is causing many wildlife to lose their homes and habitats. According to ran.org, there are between 3.5 and 7 billion trees cut each year, and for each billion trees cut down there is only half or three fourth of the billion replanted. This causes erosion in the earth, and when erosion happens then it reduces the ability of soil to store water and nutrients, mudslides occur, plants die from lack of nutrients causing harm to the forests etc.
The best way to prevent or even slow down erosion is by planting vegetation. This strengthens the soil with nutrients, thus resulting in a decrease in erosion This all comes down to humans sustaining the natural resources provided to them and not take them for granted. Many things that individuals use can be recycled or reused but throwing them out sounds like a better idea to some. This is causing the famine, drought, etc. all over the planet. When humans start realizing this and begin making changes, starting from themselves then the world will become a better more sustainable place to live. Then the question is, how can individuals make a change? The most basic solution, that many learn in their elementary years, is the 3 r’s, reduce, reuse and recycle. This can be done with many of the items owned by people. First there is reduce, this means that make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size. So if a person uses plastics then he or she should cut down on disposable plastics and find an alternative way. Then there is reuse, use again or more than once. For example, food, if the food did not finish in one meal save it for the next day, or even give it to the people who need it more. Second is plastic, people can first get rid of disposable plastics and change them with reusable plastics, like water bottles.
Finally, there is recycling, convert waste into reusable material. People recycle waste to make compost, which helps with the vegetation. This will help many people around the world, will hopefully stop famine. In the end, a greener environment and community is vital for the survival of humanity. If the pollution increases at the current rate then in a fraction of time the whole world will be polluted. The quran along with the sunnah teach humans how to live a healthy life in a green and environmentally friendly community. There are easy ways or solutions to the problems that are causing the pollution all around the globe. People can make a change if they want to, and that only happens when they start changing themselves.