Earth Day is commemorated on April 22 every year to garner support and action towards environmental protection. Its history dates back to 1960’s when the United States of America first looked into the environmental protection as burning fossil fuels – gasoline with lead in automobiles and in industries lead to air pollution problems. The USA & the world were beginning to understand the importance of environmental protection through the book – Silent Spring – by Rachel Carson. Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day was deeply moved by the environmental degradation due to 1969 oil spill, one of the largest oil spills to have occurred. Earth Day was instrumental in setting up of USEPA – Environmental Protection Agency which took measures to prevent degradation of environment.
This movement has gained significance due to the complexity and consequences of problem we are facing-Climate Change. Large Scale Deforestation, unscrupulous burning of fossil fuels, usage of chemicals with high ODP – Ozone Depleting Potential, huge emission of Green House gases, unsustainable use of natural resources have led to severe environmental degradation affecting a wide range of organisms. As the (so called) dominant species of the planet, it is each and every human being’s duty to safeguard the surrounding which gives us everything.
“If we are ever to halt climate change and conserve land, water and other resources, not to mention reduce animal suffering, we must celebrate Earth Day every day — at every meal.” – Ingrid Newkirk
Though serious measures are being taken by the government agencies all over the world, it is the effort of each and every one that matters at the end. Let us see the ways in which we can contribute to save our planet. The first one is Roof Top Gardening. It is better if we cultivate our own fruits and vegetables in the coming years in the form of kitchen and roof top gardening. We can be self sufficient and avoid the health problems of pesticides. It also provides relief and a sense of peace without burning a hole in our pocket.
Next, stress can be put forth on conserving the most scarce resource on earth, Water. Agriculture sector is the major consumer of fresh water and the demand will increase in future with growing population. India, US, Pakistan & China are four major countries were water is being used in a highly unsustainable manner. To irrigate water-intensive crops such as rice, wheat and sugarcane, farmers are increasingly dependent on ground water resources owing to the vagaries of the monsoon. Water is being pumped up many times greater than it’s replenishing potential. We must master this technology of drip irrigation from Israel, the pioneer in this field. It is incumbent on us to save each and every drop of water.
The anomalous property of water is the only reason for existence of life. It is indeed a miracle to have water at liquid state with correct boiling and melting point. We shouldn’t pollute something as significant & sacred as that. Flushing stored excess water in homes when we get fresh supply of water is just outrageous. Every drop is of significance now. Rain water harvesting should be done in each and every house. Most importantly, lakes are to be preserved and their channels well serviced. We have cleared hectares of forest areas for our accommodation and it’s difficult to raise a forest in urban area. So we need to adapt to solutions such as the Miyawaki method – through which we can set up a forest with quite a small area and with minimum time. Tree transplantation should be made mandatory when it is unavoidable to remove the tree.
“Trees are Earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.”
– Rabindranath Tagore
Next is energy efficiency. Production of electricity is mainly through fossil fuels which will change in future. Disadvantage with renewable especially solar and wind is that they will guzzle up huge amount of land. That is why, Roof top solar systems are to be advocated. Many houses can afford it with government subsidy. We can prevent carbon emissions through this profitable way. A 1 KW rooftop which is sufficient for our home, costs around Rs.60,000 approx ( without batteries, grid connected) and we can see profit by exporting the extra units to the grid. Building construction will also take a crucial role hereafter. Green buildings will be the norm in future so that we could use energy in an optimum & minimum way and try to build with eco-friendly and recycled products such as recycled concrete etc.,
And at the end, life style also holds huge significance. Using cycles can improve our health and also mean a lot to our environment. We should also take care of the waste we generate. We should recycle as much as possible. Segregation should be done so that waste can be disposed off with ease using different methods for different types of wastes. Plastics should be avoided wherever possible. It is estimated that there will more number of plastic wastes in oceans than fish in 2050!?. Buying BS-III vehicles at discount rates means that we are adding poison to the very air we breathe. We can blame governments and global politics but we are also to accept the mistakes we have committed. Electric vehicles have also become affordable now paving way for us to seriously consider them when buying a vehicle.
From poisoning and injuring marine life to the ubiquitous presence of plastics in our food to disrupting human hormones and causing major life-threatening diseases and early puberty, the exponential growth of plastics is threatening our planet’s survival. Earth Day Network has built a multi-year campaign to End Plastic Pollution. Their goals include ending single-use plastics, promoting alternatives to fossil fuel-based materials, promoting 100 percent recycling of plastics, corporate and government accountability and changing human behavior concerning plastics. Lets take a personal responsibility this Earth Day to end Plastic pollution generated by everyone of us.
Happy Earth day.