(XAVIER)I don’t see this planet being… they’re talking about how they’re turning around the environmental problems here, but I think it’s already too late. Ace FrehleySOUTHEAST ASIA IS OBJECTIVELY one of the most beautiful regions on Earth — it’s covered in dense jungle, it’s peppered with gorgeous beaches, and it’s full of incredible wildlife. It also has some spectacular urban centers, recently stimulated by massive economic growth.Unfortunately, the act of pulling people out of poverty and into the developed world often comes at the expense of the local environment. This is true of all countries in this scenario, but it’s particularly acute for Southeast Asian nations, as their economies — especially the tourism sector — depend so fundamentally on pristine natural resources.(ARIEF)Endangered species conservationSoutheast Asia sits almost entirely in the tropics, and as such, is covered in rich, dense, biologically diverse jungle. As a result of a wide number of factors — from poaching to deforestation — many native species are endangered. One of the most prominent of these species is the Asian elephant. The total number of Asian elephants in the world has sadly fallen to below 30,000, down from 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century in Thailand alone. Asian elephants are endangered for a number of reasons: First, they have been subject to ivory poaching. Though elephant poaching is illegal, there’s still plenty of demand for ivory, so it happens anyway. Second, they have experienced widespread habitat destruction, which simultaneously makes it harder to get food, and puts elephants into much more contact with humans, which can often result in the death of either the human or the elephant.Elephants are by no means the only endangered species in Southeast Asia — the Sumatran tiger, the orangutan, and the Javan rhinoceros all face the threat of extinction. Some estimate that over 40% of all plant and animal species in Southeast Asia could go extinct during the 21st century.(ISA)Air pollutionAir pollution is a global problem, but Southeast Asia does have among the worst air pollution in the world, only behind East Asia and India. The region is prone to relatively frequent “hazes,” which are the result of widespread fires. These fires are generally started intentionally by either small-scale farmers or companies trying to clear land of trees so they can exploit it the following year. The hazes in Southeast Asia have become an increasingly frequent occurrence and can spread across many countries, causing serious health and safety concerns. The 2013 haze — mostly originating from fires in Indonesia — caused problems in Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. During hazes, it can be hazardous to even go outside, so often cities will shut down, adding economic costs to the list of consequences.(CK)Deforestation As cities and populations grow, more land area is needed. Often, this area is created out of forests. In Southeast Asia specifically, given its position in the tropics, much of the forest that’s destroyed is rainforest, one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet. Rainforests are not only home to more than half of the world’s plant and animal species, but they also provide over a quarter of our natural medicines, and they absorb over a quarter of our planet’s carbon dioxide.So naturally, the effects of deforestation of rainforests can be catastrophic — not only does it destroy plant and animal habitats, but it also accelerates climate change and potentially deprives us of undiscovered life-saving medicines. Deforestation isn’t an easily solved problem either. Often, it happens because poor families need more space to plant their crops or simply need wood for fuel, or it may be a side effect of unintentional wildfires.(IMAN)Water securityThe problem: The world as a whole may well be close to reaching “peak water,” the point where we start consuming fresh water faster than it can be replenished. In few places is this concern as acute as it is in Southeast Asia. First off, the Himalayan glaciers that serve as the sources for many of the major Asian rivers — including the Mekong, which passes through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam — are melting faster due to global warming, and rivers such as the Mekong are already heavily dammed, which gives countries upriver huge power over the water supply for downriver nations. As much of this water is used in the growth of crops, this raises food security issues as well Of the fresh water that is readily available, much of it is polluted or inadequately sanitized. Indonesia is the worst in the region, with only 30% of city residents and 10% of village residents having access to clean water(XAVIER)There are also many more problems like, Destruction of coral reefs and increased urbanization. (ARIEF)The name of the game here is conservation. In the broader scale, this means cracking down on poaching and supporting nature preserves. To help stop poaching, you can do a number of things: Never buy ivory or any other product obtained from an endangered species.(ISA)You can also support palm oil companies that have zero-burn policies, and that refuse to work with third parties who use slash-and-burn techniques.(CK)You can also make sure you’re buying recycled wood, or are buying from companies that commit to zero deforestation policies.(IMAN)you can participate in volunteerism projects that focus on river clean-up, or on helping install water sanitation in villages that may not have access to clean water otherwise.(XAVIER)We would like each and every one of you to protect our mother earth and not do anymore harm to it. We all should play a part to conserve what we have and to appreciate it.