World Environment Day
With this year’s World Environment Day theme being “Ecosystem Restoration”, I feel it is time to saddle up and do, or perhaps, NOT DO certain things that can further impact the nature. Yes, we are in the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime catastrophe that has turned our lives upside down and sideways. And since the onset of the pandemic, we all have been constantly adapting, adjusting, refocusing, and reimagining our lives to the new normal, but is there really a deeper change in our ideologies and thoughts towards reducing the weight of wastage that is suffocating the planet, year after year?
The power of bringing change lies within each one of us. Self-discipline and being aware of the harmful effects to our own health and lives by polluting our surroundings can go a long way in creating a cleaner and greener ecosystem. Take the example of how in 2015 the residents of a housing society in Mumbai decided to become active contributors towards building a greener environment and practice a more sustainable way of living. By 2020, they had recycled approximately 5 lakh kilos of household waste, propagating zero-waste way of living, and being an inspiration to thousands others.
For the past 1.5 years or so, technology has taken the status of our new Best Friend Forever (BFF), helping us study, earn a living, stay engaged, and connected with loved ones. And while it has made it easier for us to survive the new normal, it has driven most of us to invest in different electronics and electrical goods that we may never have thought to buy before. But while we are replacing or upgrading our old appliances for our convenience, how many of us have really realised what our actions are doing to the silent, selfless giver – nature – as we continue to hoard the old, unused items with the aim of either getting them fixed one day or due to emotions linked to them? I recently came to know of a NGO that has been requesting people to donate their old electronic gadgets like mobile phones, televisions, music systems, personal computers, etc. for occupants in old-age homes and orphanages. I feel that is one of the noble and better ways of discarding such products instead of adding more to the already overflowing landfills. Few days back, I bought a new laptop and decided to gift my old one that was in good working condition to my house help’s school-going daughter. She had been looking for a computer to help her stay abreast with her studies during these unprecedented times. The sheer look of joy on that child’s face was priceless.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step…and when we take that one step towards developing better waste disposal and recycling habits, from ensuring that we do not throw our used face masks or used syringes into normal waste that may be salvaged by greedy money launderers for reselling and giving rise to more public health issues, or these items polluting the rivers and oceans and killing the marine life.
Imagine the sea of change that we can bring if each one of us decide to become a torch-bearer for building a sustainable planet?