Did you renew your pledge to protect and preserve Mother Earth, groaning as she is right now under the crushing impact of our catastrophic carbon footprint? Did you join in the two billion acts of green this year? Before you answer that one, consider this:
- Forty percent of the world’s population will live in areas of water stress by 2050.
- Terrestrial biodiversity is projected to decrease by another 10% by 2050, with significant losses in Asia, Europe and Southern Africa.
- The world is on course to experience a six degree rise in temperature by 2050.
- Home to 400 types of exotic corals, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, is in dire straits.
- The incredible rate of Arctic ice loss has scientists really worried.
- Greenhouse gas emissions will increase by 50% by 2050, driven in large part by a 70% rise in energy-related CO2 emissions.
To sum up: The air is polluted, water contaminated and the land saturated with a whole range of poisons thanks to human callousness towards Mother Earth!
Isn’t it time then, to re-consider some things? Who is responsible? What is the core problem? When is the time to act? Where does one start? Why is there a problem? And, most importantly, how do we solve it?
Now, if you decide to join hands with the environmental stewards across the globe who believe in the Gandhism, ‘be the change you want to see’, read on to get your eco-act together.
In fact, in your own little ways, sometimes without even realising, you already are the change you want to see. Saying no to plastic, car-pooling, not littering, potting a plant, not smoking, using public transport, carrying a re-usable water bottle, not wasting food, maybe even using bio-degradable products – essentially, living the green mantra of reducing, reusing and recycling in your daily life. Now, it’s just a question of taking this subconscious endeavour consciously to the next eco-friendly level. Are you up to it?
Let’s start with the basics.
- Educate yourself. Read about global eco-initiatives and be inspired, then go ahead and take an ecological footprint quiz.
- Spread the knowledge. Persuade, motivate, galvanise like-minded individuals to take the initiative forward.
- Join a green group and become an active soldier of the cause (I personally had an eye-opening experience as part of the Green Egypt group and very recently when I performed shramdaan on the plastic-choked ghats of the gasping Yamuna with an enthusiastic group of school children and NGO Swechha.)
- Plant trees. The ‘I am Gurgaon’ team, of which I am a volunteer, is doing a great job developing the bio-diversity green lung with its vast and varied flora and fauna that attracts a host of migratory birds. Recently, they also started the Save the Aravalis campaign, which attracted a huge gathering of conscientious citizens.
- Travel green by walking or cycle more often.
- Buy locally produced organic products.
- In fact, why not go solar or set up your own composting unit – you can even have one in your apartment balcony.
- Segregate waste.
- Reduce air and noise pollution.
- Save water, one of the most precious natural resources.
- Or just go the extra mile by simply cutting down extravagance. Believe me, it makes a huge difference!
Reducing, recycling, reusing
Heals our planet
If you’re still wondering what difference just one person out of 7 billion can make, let me share some shocking statistics to put things into perspective:
- One drip per second from a faucet wastes 540 gallons of water a year.
- It takes 400-500 years for a Styrofoam cup to decompose.
- Recycling just one aluminium can saves enough electricity to run a TV for three hours.
- Almost 50% of our household waste can be turned into nutrient-rich compost in just 8-12 weeks.
- Almost 1/3rd of all food is wasted every year, costing about $750 billion annually even as more than 870 million people suffer from chronic malnourishment resulting in five million child deaths every year.
The need of the hour clearly is to balance our consumption, technological choices and population numbers with the health of the planet. The answer lies in living sustainably, in taking charge now because after all, you and I, we are the world!
(Data sourced from several editions of Issues Magazine and Newspapers)