A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself

Illustration by Christian Ayala

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the world seems to be healing itself slowly. It's because of this that people on Twitter are saying that the human race only kills the planet and it'd be better off if everyone was just nonexistent.

This is an extremely rash and dark view that oversimplifies the negative connection humans can have on the planet. Perhaps, though, the United States government could be doing more to prevent human extinction from happening due to environmental problems.

As former president, Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, "A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people."

Given the current state of the world, it shouldn't be surprising that air quality is improving, water pollution decreasing and the Earth is seemingly healing itself. Due to this, people have been posting online claiming that the world would be better off without humans.

While I understand the thought process, this just simply isn't true. The idea that humans should be erased to better the earth is very irrational and doesn't take the entire picture into consideration.

Humans have come up with many solutions to the issues we're having environmentally. However, at the same time, humans have taken little to no action and have seemingly looked the other way, rather than solving the number one threat to our future.

I believe in order for something to truly be seen through, it must start from the top and then the idea will take precedence at the bottom of the food chain as well. By this, I mean the government must take initiative for the sake of the country and the world's future.

Now, the first hurdle that people must jump over is the fact that healing the Earth will take time. Living in an instantaneous world tends to make people fall for the illusion that everything can be solved in a matter of seconds.

That simply is not the case for environmental healing.

Many other countries have set laws to help the current status of the ozone layer, water pollution and cutting carbon emissions. This is a critical first step. However, the U.S. is under leadership that prioritizes business ideals over climate change legislation.

National Geographic posted an online article that contains a running list of exactly what the Trump administration has done that has forced the U.S. one step further away from helping the environment.

The article states that in May 2019, the Trump administration announced its decision to “roll back safety measures” on offshore drilling sites. These rules were set in place by the Obama administration to prevent another disastrous explosion at an oil well like the one that took place in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.

Additionally, in April 2019, President Donald Trump signed two executive orders that approved the commencement of the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. This also limited the tools states have to block the creation of the pipeline. It would be constructed on sacred native land and destroy much of the ecosystem there. Human existence isn't the problem, human decision making is.

For more on the Keystone Pipeline, visit The Lumberjack where I wrote a previous op-ed about all the concerns I have surrounding how ethical it is to rip through sacred native land.

To put the cherry on top, the Trump administration announced that it would begin to disassemble the conservation plans for an endangered bird known as the sage grouse. The bird had become a symbol of land conflict between environmentalists and energy companies, according to the National Geographic article.

In conjunction with all of this, the U.S. government hasn't adopted any inventions that other countries are using to better the situation.

Australia has been using a machine called Seabin that floats up and down with the tide and collects any pollutants from the water 24 hours a day.

China has built numerous inventions to aid them in their fight against poor air quality. This includes a smog-free bicycle and the "world's largest air purifier" as just two of the varying contraptions that have been developed in the country according to the business news source Quartz.

Yet, the U.S. has pretty much only implemented electric cars, which can be extraordinarily expensive, and solar paneling into daily life.

Of course, everyone can only do their best in hopes that the environmental issues we face will fade away over time. It would be helpful, however, if the federal government would enact legislation to take some responsibility as a powerhouse country of global authority and at least try to combat climate change.

The world would be better if humans collectively made an effort to better the environmental conditions of today. It is too bold to say that the human race should be extinct as a punishment for our actions.