Suddenly the world has turned green and nature is the new buzzword. From politicians, actors, business leaders, right down to the aam aadmi everyone is raving about saving the earth and protecting our environment. From being overlooked in the past, environmental protection has snowballed into one of the biggest global concerns of today’s times.
So much so that one’s status in the society is not measured by his bank balance but the amount of carbon footprint (the average emission of carbon dioxide by an individual due to his actions, usually traveling and electricity) he/she spreads around. Being green, it seems, is definitely in fashion. Although we are talking the talk, but can we walk the walk?
Recently, I was pleasantly surprised by my local kirane wala when he handed my grocery in huge paper bags instead of the usual polythene bags. They got torn on my way back, dropping its entire contents on the road, but that is a different story altogether.
There is a definite change in the mindsets of people who have now started seeing earth’s pollution as a serious threat, not to be ignored any more. The hostels in my college have put up solar geysers to conserve energy. More and more office goers are opting for car pools or adopting public means of transportation. New societies and government buildings are being built with proper rain harvesting techniques. Motor giant Honda is soon going to launch India’s first hybrid car. Solar panels are being used to power traffic lights and produce electricity in new townships.
However, this is just the beginning and we have a really long way to go before we can call ourselves a “green” nation. Our rivers and lakes are no better than the municipal drains. Industries emit toxic gases into the air without treating them beforehand; we have no proper garbage collection and disposal, and worst of all, our rampant deforestation has resulted in the extinction of thousands of species.
Protecting our environment is not an option but a necessity where each individual can make a difference with his contribution. All this has to start at the lowest level. Environment education should be made compulsory right from the early classes. People should be encouraged to plant more trees and plants, dedicated patches of land should be converted to rain forests or as green zones in the city. Polluting vehicles should be taken off the road and parents should encourage children to conserve water and electricity at home. Use of plastic should be reduced to the minimum. The Kyoto protocol needs to be implemented as soon as possible and most importantly, we should abstain from littering wherever we go(which unfortunately comes very naturally to us Indians).
The citizens and the government need to work hand in hand to battle this environmental crisis before it gets out of hand. We all know what Mother Nature is capable of when provoked!
By conserving our eco system, we, in fact, heal ourselves. Nobel Prize winner Dr R.K Pachauri has paved a way for all the environment enthusiasts and it is time we too put on our “green” caps on and remember the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!
[Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jarfilms/2301611128/ ]