• Question: what can we do to save the environment and how.

    Asked by lanej012 to Claire, Joanna, Kapila, Renata, Suzanne on 24 Jun 2013.
    • Photo: Joanna Bryson

      Joanna Bryson answered on 24 Jun 2013:

      I sort of answered this before, here’s a combination of what I said with a little new stuff at the end:

      Many scientists and engineers are doing research trying to figure out how to help stabilise our ecosystem. But it’s important to realise that change is a part of what nature is like, and change will keep happening whatever we do. So we need to keep working to try to take care of our planet, including each other, and that job will never end.

      One thing to realise is that this is not just a modern problem. Even in poor places, in fact even before there was industry, people damaged the environment by farming too much, cutting down trees faster than they could regrow, or hunting animals to extinction. It’s more than just “going eco” and buying one brand rather than another one. We have to be really, really smart about how we build and use things. And unless we figure out how to move to new planets, we also need to figure out how to have fair numbers of children. Right now almost half the people that have ever been alive are alive! (42%) That many people just takes up a lot of space and eat a lot of plants no matter how eco they are. So we need to figure out smart ways to put things back in to the ecosystem to replace what we take out. (For example, we really shouldn’t be flushing lots of waste into the ocean, we need all that to put back into the soil.) It’s going to be very hard! But we are very, very smart, and there are 7 billion of us to think about it, and we have lots of computers and other tools, so I hope we will find an answer.

      One good thing to do is to study science and math and social science and politics and history, so that when you get older there’s a good chance you can take a job or invent a company where you might make a difference.

    • Photo: Claire El Mouden

      Claire El Mouden answered on 25 Jun 2013:


      There is no easy answer. A lot of environmental damage happens because people are poor and have no choice (I understand that a poor person will cut down a forest, or kill a tiger if it means they can care for their family). It’s not the poor person’s fault – but what we can do is make it in their interest to protect the environment e.g. By paying them to protect the wildlife, or helping them make money from tourism.

      The other big issue is that businesses want to make profits, and unless laws force them to take care of the environment, it is very tempting for them to cut corners and not be responsible. As a consumer, you can make sure you do not buy products from companies with poor environmental records, and we can also demand the people we vote for who represent us in government makes sure the law ensures businesses will protect the environment.

      Technology also will help, as we will be able to do more with less, recycle more, and reduce pollution. Everyone has to do there part….so make sure your family reduces their environmental impact. For example, recycle your waste, avoid using plastic bags, take public transport instead of driving, turn off your lights, don’t leave computers and TVs on standby, buy local food if possible (not food flown in airplanes from the other side of the world), don’t buy more than you need….there are lots of great websites that give lots of tips on how to reduce the impact your lifestyle has on the environment.

    • Photo: Renata Medeiros

      Renata Medeiros answered on 25 Jun 2013:

      I’ve also answered a similar question, here’s more or less the answer I gave before:
      Saving the environment is not going to be easy particularly because some of the people who could really make a difference, like our politicians or those who run big companies, don’t seem too bothered! We need to make the point that we care so that they start paying more attention as well. And we must believe that the little things we do will also make a difference because many people doing little things will result in big things. We really have to work together on this! There are many places where to find information on how to be more ecological and if we all start changing our habits in that direction we could get somewhere. Voting for the people who seem more concerned is also very important.
      Many scientists are helping by studying what causes more damage to the environment and what measures are better at repairing it or by developing technology to make human activities less polluting. However, scientists are not always very good at letting people know the things we are finding, we often just say it to other scientists! I’m sure events like this can make the difference as well.
      Don’t give up, you’re not alone in wanting to save the planet!