November 08, 2016

Our impact or lack thereof…

We so often here the phrase “human impact” that perhaps we’re all a little tired of it, and thus we ignore it and go about our daily lives.


But given the overwhelming impact we have on our planet and our ocean, isn’t it now just a given? There’s almost no point defining our specific influence on the environment anymore, because we are just impactful.

Perhaps we are at a tipping point and can we turn the phrase “human impact” into a positive one. And anyway, since when did the word “impact” (verb) just mean negative things? We’ve all watched TED talks and I’m sure that word is generally used in a positive manner. For example, “That TED talk had a huge impact on my life. Now I am healthier, happier, and more alive!”

We can start with changing how we talk about human impacts on the environment.There's really no point whining about it in a negative manner. We know it, we do it, it happens every second of our lives. We can start focusing more on the positive effects that humans can have on past (negative) human impacts. Because that is what is really important. To have a positive influence on our environment means we have to reverse past human impacts. Cleaning up.Still follow? Let’s take a pristine environment for example. There is nothing we can do to have a positive impact on that environment. We can’t “better” mother nature. We can’t say “this pristine place is awesome, but it would be better with…”

Therefore, to “improve” that pristine environment we need to be wary of the potential human impacts. Generally speaking, the environment will take care of itself - in time - if we let it alone.

Trying to have a positive impact on the environment is difficult. It’s hard to envision, or experience, the result because it takes time for a degraded environment to recover. Thus, our efforts today may not be seen for decades or generations to come. But what is satisfying is reversing past negative human impacts, preventing future ones, and challenging the ones that happen today.

Ultimately, the potential for our biggest impact on the environment is reversing and preventing poor human decisions.

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