We tear down nature faster than the time it takes to recover. There are many ways we do that and we do it at any scale. In this way we disrupt natural cycles and become vulnerable to all kinds of consequences of imbalance, such as infectious diseases (COVID-19), lifestyle diseases, drought, floods, heat stress, flooding, food scarcity, etc.
Cities are getting bigger and bigger and demand more space and eco system services. This will displace nature and create an imbalance in many places to keep the core functions of the city running.
We see it all around us where nature gives way to stones and asphalt. Such as paving cities, neighborhoods and gardens. As a result, water does not drain properly and the temperatures can rise considerably.
Impoverishment and sometimes even destruction of fertile soil occurs when we grow the same crop on the same piece of land for too long, also known as monoculture. This leads to ever-increasing plant diseases and subsequently to the use of herbicide, pesticide and fungicide. Due to the impoverishment, cultivation without the use of fertilizers is virtually impossible.
The monocultures are mainly created to feed the enormous livestock worldwide. It takes an average of 25 kg of food and 15,000 liters of water to obtain 1 kg of beef. (research)
All this is increasing desertification worldwide. In the last 150 years, 50% of the fertile soil has already been lost.
Using animals as products
More and more monocultures are also emerging worldwide in the animal world. We only eat 5 animal species on a very large scale: chicken, cow, pig, goat and sheep. Intensive livestock farming has created a monoculture of these animal species; in the Netherlands for example, this involves more than 500 million animals per year. In addition, the bats, for example, have grown to frightening numbers.
In addition to pollution, soil acidification and the degradation of rainforest, this also leads to the emission of methane (a very strong greenhouse gas) and the increase of all kinds of unpleasant side effects such as resistance to antibiotics and an increase in infectious diseases such as COVID-19, MERS, SARS, Ebola, Q fever, bird flu, mad cow disease etc.
Long rows of oaks give ample space to the oak processionary caterpillar
We also see it in other areas. For example, in the design of public space, where we often use beautiful exotic species. In this way we ultimately disrupt the balance in an area, so that we can no longer count these areas as healthy nature. And which creates more and more space for pests such as the oak processionary caterpillar.
Drinkable water is becoming scarcer
The availability of drinking water is increasingly under pressure. The discharge of waste and chemicals makes it increasingly difficult and above all more expensive to supply potable water. With an increasing world population and major climate changes, their supply is already under threat in some areas.
The air quality is bad
The air quality continues to decline due to the use of fossil fuels for energy and transport, production of goods and intensive livestock farming. Not only CO2, but also heavy metals, particulate matter (fine dust) and ultra-particulate matter pose a great danger to health, but certainly also to nature (just think of the current nitrogen problems vs the protection of biodiversity).
Due to increased world trade and tourism, shipping traffic has an increasing influence. Marine animals suffer from the noise of large ship engines, but the emissions from these ships are also enormous.
All these examples can be brought together under 1 root cause: we are breaking down nature at a faster rate than the time it takes for nature to recover.