Earth: Loved, or Taken For Granted?
A few words, or many, on how our lovely Blue Planet is doing today.
The environment is the foundation and support of human existence and development. Without soil, we would not have a place to stand, to grow crop, or to build structures to live in. Without the air, we wouldn’t be able to breathe, our plants would not be able to survive. Without the sun, our crop wouldn’t grow. Essentially, the needs are a constant cycle, and our planet delivers every single time.
In an effort to rebuild the resources that are often used up, and sustain life and development for our environment, each country has a set of rules. These rules, more often than not, are dictated by global agencies like the UN. Kept in check, and applied rigorously by most countries, we see clean roads, planned cities, punishments for chopping down a tree, and fines for a long-overdue pollution check on our cars. But what of the personal efforts?
Over the years, people have realized the importance of saving energy, switching to renewable energy and how it can, in turn, help us profit too. Similarly, we have people that would go carpooling to their classes and to work. Of course, this isn’t an option anymore, what with social distancing rules and our fears of being closely seated to others.
On that thought, work from home for us, has become a boon to our environment. There is less commuting and transiting for work, for dinners, a visit to the pub or simply for a night out on the town, which means there is lesser use of fuels that deplete the air quality; giving us better air to breathe. Open your windows, and I am sure you will find that it is more pleasant than it used to be. The sun shines a little brighter, the waves look more pleasing, and what do you know? Our ozone layer is healing too!
Sustainable living is a concept that has come into our lives very recently, a few years ago. The process of using resources in a judicious, yet attentive manner. Use some, but give back, so that there is much more for the coming generations. Environmental concerns and conflicts have surfaced throughout human history, for generations together, in many ways. Back in 1962, Rachel Carson, a writer, published a book called Silent Spring — a collective of concerns for the environment and the substances harming it. Limited to the idea of negating the use of pesticides on crop and plants, this book shook the civilization at the time.
Just like any protester, the book got a large amount of criticism and lack of endorsement. But it also began a worldwide movement against the use of DDT, and an eventual ban on it.
In India, we had the Chipko Movement in 1973, which gave rise to a ban and strong punishment on deforestation — this further reduced the depletion of nature around us.
More recently, in Mumbai, in August 2019, we had the ‘Save Aarey’ movement, where residents, students, environmentalists and the major public of Mumbai, our lovely Mumbai, protested against the government’s decision to fell Aarey Colony — a haven of flora and fauna, tribal communities and forests — in order to make space for a metro line construction. There were protests, punishments and lathi-charges until in October 2019, a new Chief Minister was elected who ordered a stop to the construction activities. Hooray Mumbai!
There are so many such movements all over our pretty globe. People that care, fight hard and adamantly to save our resources, the beauty of our world and all that comes with it. Sustenance is the need of the hour, and we must understand the importance of it. The importance of offering the world we grew up in, to our children and grandchildren; not a dead, blackened, ruined one. Earth is being strained with the pressure we put on it; for resources, for food, for power.
Franklin Roosevelt once said, ‘A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of the land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.’
Essentially, what we feed our soil is, oil, plastic, pollution and many other harmful substances. Coexist, the name of my favorite album by ‘The XX’, and also a very important term that we all must understand. It means to live in harmony with another. To sustain, to share, to care, and to make sure the other is happy.
When you begin to look around, notice, and begin to care, you will see magic. Trust me. There is so much nature to love, to adore to be awestruck with. Jungles, Forests, ice-scapes, deserts, oceans — the world is vast. Don’t let it ruin just because you are too busy to pay attention. Take time out, observe discipline. Now is the time to access higher layers of truth in ourselves, opening our hearts, and hearing, looking, listening for the whispers for the next step in our lives.
We live in an urban jungle, but there are still ways to reform this urban jungle to care for the environment. Why not take a little step further and put in effort? It is after all, for our very own good.
In closing, I will say this, plant more trees, reduce your waste disposal, harvest rainwater, leave the oceans alone and work on reducing your carbon footprint. Take care of your home — your own Earth. Work in unity; evolve from consuming beings, to preserving beings!
Evo Morales said something that stuck with me, ‘Sooner or later, we will have to recognize that the Earth has rights, too; to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but she can live without humans.’