Day by day, the subject of the environment and natural resources is becoming part of daily life at the worldwide level and this is no coincidence of fad.
Some years ago, no one spoke about global warming or the accelerated disappearance of wild plant and animal species. Nonetheless, during the last 100 years, the index of destruction in our planet has exceeded that which had occurred during the last 10,000 years. Problem such as deforestation, fires, pollution, over-exploitation of water, the growth of cities, demographic explosion, are, among many others, factors that are affecting the well-being of nature and the balance of the world's ecosystems.
Environmental education whose purpose is to inform on nature's relevant aspects to change people's life styles and to improve behavior as regards the use of natural resources came about. Also, the term “Education for Conservation” was developed. This term involves issues beyond nature, such as its relationship with mankind, understanding that mankind can not prosper without taking care of nature, as interdependent beings of connected entities.
Lastly, what these two educational currents intend is penetrating into the portion of human conscience, that portion which unconsciously guides behavior. If a bit of respect for the environment is taught, it will not be necessary to “force” people though laws or punishments, to do some good to the world or nature.
Among the many efforts made by governments, institutions and private parties to reinforce that environmental awareness are environmental campaigns that spread the information in the media and which are addressed sometimes erroneously to minors, under the argument that they are the future of the planet, despite the fact that it is not taken into account whether we adults are making rational use or not of the natural resources. Minors still have a long way to go until they can put into practice that which they are being taught in school; therefore, all of us are users of nature, notwithstanding our age, beliefs, social status, or the work we do.
To exemplify one of the efforts made to increase environmental awareness, it suffices with becoming acquainted with the El Pinacate and Great Altar Desert Biosphere Reserve. As of the moment visitors come into it, they are provided with information on the benefits of having a biosphere reserve containing unequalled natural landscapes, unique Sonoran Desert Plant and animal species, and most of all, a volcanic shield with very special formation features.
Thus, the need to protect the desert as an ecosystem, that is, the biotic environment (landscapes, soil, rocks, sand, water, etc. ) is furthered in the visitor's minds, as well as this ecosystem's live or biotic portion (wild plants and animals).
People can also be made aware through a negative message, which actually is the reserve psychological appeal, that is, by showing the damages causes to the environment through photos, videos or models with abhorrent alterations due to misuse and the destruction endured by our planet.
This causes a reaction which forces people to worry about the environment, but we believe that better stimulation can be achieved by convincing and justifying than by creation an emotional shock.
Every day we are being subject to informational stress with unfortunate news and news about ecocides. It would be better for us to change our strategy and further appreciation for nature and the good things it give to us. Let's show the encouraging future we will be able to obtain by using natural resources in a rational and sustained way. Let's enjoy nature and let's not intend to vanquish or appropriate it. That is the daily philosophy we wish to share with our visitors to the El Pinacate and Great Altar Desert Biosphere Reserve.
Author: Steve Schwab
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