Environmental conservation doesn’t just mean protecting cute animals on the other side of the world. It is in fact essential to our own survival. If your response to anything to do with the environment is either ‘there are more pressing issues’ or ‘who cares?’ then it might be time to consider how important it really is.
Importance to agriculture
Agriculture depends on the environment and we depend on agriculture. This is obvious in countries where the economies depend on agriculture but applies to all. A country’s wealth might come from something else but its population needs to eat. Conserving the environment and preventing soil erosion, desertification, and flooding is essential. Unsustainable farming techniques not only impact natural ecosystems but also ultimately make farming itself impossible.
Importance to fishing
While much of our food comes from agriculture, the oceans are also an essential source. Communities worldwide depend upon seafood. Marine conservation is vital to protect human food supplies as well as marine animals. Looking after the seas doesn’t just mean saving big, glamorous animals from extinction, important as this is. At the moment there are serious conservation issues affecting the oceans, including over fishing and pollution. The complex, interlinked ecosystems need conserving in our own self-interest. You might not be interested in saving the whale, but saving the human might strike a chord.
Importance to climate
Human activities impact the climate, and this affects all life. Droughts, floods, and extremes of heat and cold, are caused by global warming, which is almost certainly linked to greenhouse gas emissions. Some countries are already experiencing disastrous effects, while others it is just, for the moment, inconvenient. There are other, more local, climate changes also caused by not treating the environment with respect. For example rainfall is affected by deforestation. Conservation of natural environments should be done not just for their own sake, but also for that of the world as a whole.
Issues you might see as more important such as the economical or political become meaningless if the environment is wrecked. If desertification means farmers can’t grow enough food to feed a population nobody is going to care whether their government leans to the left or the right. You quickly realise how abstract economical issues are when the genuinely important makes its presence known. Money can’t replace fish or corn. Conserving the environment is of vital importance, whether or not you care about the fate of the panda.