Earth – a place where humankind has been endlessly pursuing its own greatness since the beginning of times; a constant pursuit of things in and out of the world, and with it, the plunge into the deep abyss of humans’ own mind, and that of the similarly cold, stark blue ocean. This ceaseless, boundless, unwavering pursuit of knowledge about the universe makes us wonder… How much of it do we truly understand, and how much is left undiscovered?
The great blue above and the grand blue beneath have always made us curious about what’s beneath and beyond. This curiosity has led to a lot of damage to our environment. Each year, the 5th of June is celebrated as World Environment Day. The purpose of the day is to encourage awareness of our surroundings, which brings us to the most basic question – How much do we really know about the world around us?
We are definitely not alone, and this planet definitely does not belong to us. With our patrolling and parading, we have discovered a total of over 2 million fellow inhabitants on both, land and sea! Despite our discoveries and pursuits, the actual number lies in an ambitious estimate of between 5 to 10 million! Just this year, we discovered new species such as the Popa Langur (a long-tailed and long-limbed monkey), the Devil-Horned Newt, the Golden Bamboo (a drought-resilient Bamboo), the Rock Gecko, the Big-Headed Frog, and many more.
Besides our discoveries, we have also witnessed a large number of species that are on the verge of extinction this year. Over 37,400 species are threatened with extinction and about 3,483 have been classified as critically endangered. So far, humans have driven at least 680 vertebrate species to extinction. What does this duality say about our understanding of the environment? Have we come to understand only the parts that help us? Have we only studied geology, zoology, botany, geography, and the oceans just to enhance our theoretical comprehension?
The noblest conquest is the one over greed, lust and money. It is crucial to understand that we are not the owners of this planet, but we belong to this planet. It is our responsibility to not only conserve this planet but also to make it a better place. In our pursuits, let’s not forget to look after our less-sentient fellows and make sure that we can actually understand what they require. It is also important to re-evaluate our own requirements and really re-evaluate the cost at which these requirements are fulfilled. After all, the noblest pursuit of our glory lies within that of the entire environment.