Laupäev, 16. märts 2019

Palju õnne! Välisministeeriumi ja õpilasesinduste liidu esseekonkursi III koht Skylar Ross

Eesti Vabariigi Välisministeerium ja Eesti Õpilasesinduste Liit korraldasid teist aastat esseekonkurssi, kuhu kutsuti osalema nii põhikooli- kui ka gümnaasiumiõpilasi. Sellele konkursile võis töid saata ka inglise keeles, nii et meie kooli vahetusõpilane Skylar Ross haaras võimalusest kinni ja kirjutas. Ja võitis gümnaasiumiastme III koha!
Skylar käis reedel, 15. märtsil välisministri vastuvõtul, kus sai kingikoti ja vahetada mõtteid Eesti välimisministri Sven Mikseriga.


Refugees and the Environment

When discussing the current refugee crisis, many media sources and, consequently, people leave out one important detail: the effect it has on the environment. Millions of refugees from countries that are currently experiencing conflict are seeking asylum in other countries, and with them they bring a major impact on the environment. Without even considering the effects of the refugee crisis, there are already major issues affecting the environment all over the world, and refugees are only adding to these problems that already exist.

How exactly are refugees causing an impact? When families and individuals are displaced from their home country, the first thing they need to do in order to survive is seek food and shelter. The most extreme problems caused by refugees include deforestation, soil erosion, and exhaustion and contamination of water supply. Trees are being cut down in order to create shelter and dead wood is being collected in order to make fires which are used to provide heat and a way of cooking food. There are around 1.4 million Syrian refugees currently living in Jordan and they are putting a large amount of pressure on the country’s water resources as well as causing a major farming decline in the country. Already, Jordan was among the most water-poor countries of the world and the Syrian refugee crisis has only expanded this problem. In Greece, there is one island called Lesvos that has become a popular home for refugees; but because of them, its beaches are now littered with discarded life jackets along with tons of other plastic. There are groups, such as Odyssea, which are working to clean up this mess but the damage is still, and will remain, there unless more attention is paid to this problem. Many refugees on this island and in other locations around the world use plastic tents as a form of shelter. The use of these tents brings hazardous conditions to the planet because they are non biodegradable and release dangerous chemicals into the air when they are ultimately broken down. These are only a few examples of the environmental issues that refugees have created.

There are many different ways we could go about fixing these problems. People living near these areas could volunteer their time to clean up the places such as the beach on Lesvos Island. At the same time, more shelters can be built that are not plastic tents and more reusable items could be given to the refugees to use. However, unless the issues facing the environment around these camps are addressed on news coverages, the problem is going to continue to be ignored by the majority of the population. Therefore, it’s likely that none of these solutions will be put into any type of large-scale effect. With all the other problems that refugees bring with them, such as economic issues, it’s hard to get people to concern themselves with the environmental impact over the other issues that affect them more directly.

Therefore, the best way to end the destruction of natural sites around these camps would be to put an end to the wars and other problems causing refugees to leave their home countries because those are ultimately the root of the problem. Obviously, it is a very hard task and not something that everyday citizens can help a whole lot with, but if the wars were to end, many refugees would leave the camps and less of the environment would be put in harm's way. It’s not clear exactly what will happen to refugees when the problems in their home countries are resolved, but many of them are likely to return. If that would happen, then there would no longer be as many wood shortages around these camps and less trash on beaches where refugees have made a habit of landing. Overtime, the majority of the mark that refugees will have left on the environment could be erased; that is, if something happens soon.

The longer these refugees are continued to be forced out of their homes, the more dangers facing the environment. Therefore, the issues causing refugees need to be resolved. Already, our earth is facing tons of environmental issues without even considering the problems caused by refugees. If we could put an end to and, hopefully, reverse their effects, we would be one step closer to saving our environment.


Resources:

https://www.unhcr.org/protection/environment/3b039f3c4/refugees-environment.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84pT1uc690U

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/planetpolicy/2017/02/13/how-the-syrian-refugee-crisis-affected-land-use-and-shared-transboundary-freshwater-resources/