The quality of our environment affects all of us no matter where we live. The environment is our home. If it is not healthy, we will not be healthy either. When people abuse the environment, this affects us all. If water is polluted, if the air is full of smoke and chemicals, if food contains poisons, people (and plants and animals) get sick.
All people also have a responsibility to protect and use the environment in a way that will protect it for us, our children, and our grandchildren.
Many people do not understand why we need to worry about the environment. They think people's needs and environmental needs cannot both be looked after, and that people are more important than the environment. They say that our major aim must be creating economic growth and jobs, and that the green (environmental) agenda must take second place. Some people feel hurt or insulted when others show concern over endangered species like rhinos when children do not have enough to eat.
But, the environment is really the whole planet on which we live. Everything (winds, trees, animals, insects, people, etc) forms part of the living system of earth. For example, trees are important because they make oxygen which helps us breathe. If too many trees are cut down for firewood or furniture this reduces the amount of oxygen going into the earth's system. Over time, this can have a very bad effect on people and animals. These are some examples of what is happening to the earth because it has been exploited and not protected: weather patterns have changed, there are more droughts and more floods, the temperature is rising and most important, the ozone layer that should protect us from the dangerous rays of the sun has been damaged and does not work as effectively as it did before.
So, it is important to protect the environment from being exploited and it is the reason why people now talk about the term sustainable development.www.etu.org.za/toolbox/docs/government/environmental.html