Speak Out: Our Environment Is Dying

Uttarakhand

Who is responsible?

The recent Uttarakhand catastrophe is, I think, a glimpse of our future.

The rapidly melting ice caps, the increasing heat in the plains, animals getting extinct, the ecological imbalance, increase in river pollution, water levels going low, air pollution, soil pollution and what not. Sure, we might talk about all of these terms, or read about them but the real question is what are we actually doing to protect our mother earth?

Global warming, as we call it, is a result of human insensitivity towards the environment.  We may blame each other for the condition we are in but the fault lies somewhere in each of us. They say “Charity begins at home”, so it’s really important to ask ourselves the same question we ask others.

Do we play our part to protect the environment we are living in?

Do we try to keep our surroundings clean?

Do we waste water?

Do we plant trees?

Do we use plastic bags which are non degradable?

Do we pool cars or use public transportation?

Are we eco friendly?

Ask yourself these questions and I can assure you that all the answers to these questions will be in negative. Then how can we blame the government or the society?

The increasing number of cars per year (no matter how much fuel price is hiked), deforestation, increasing rate of mining, excessive use of chemical affluents, improper agricultural practices, urbanization in hilly regions, unplanned land usage, population growth, migration into urban areas, industrialization, market failure, increasing electronic wastes etc. contribute to the major reasons behind environmental degradation.

The increasing number of cars causes the emission of exhaust gases leading to air pollution. Deforestation leads to soil erosions and thus loss of essential minerals of the soil. Also, loss of greenery lessens the amount of oxygen in the air. Migration into cities is also a major reason for the degradation. With lesser job opportunities in the villages, there is a population explosion in the cities leading to increasing urban slums. The rapid and unplanned expansion of cities has resulted in the degradation of the urban environment.

What happened in Uttarakhand, recently, is clearly an indication that we need to stop abusing nature and stop being selfish as humans. Technological advancements and other areas that man has conquered are appreciable but they shouldn’t be at the cost of the one supporting us. We should not forget, no matter how much we achieve, no matter where we land, no matter how technologically advanced we become, the basic necessities for our survival will still remain land, air and water, without them we are nothing.

Every now and then, the world is facing environmental problems. Rise in the temperature on earth, flooding in Europe, the lake outburst in Uttarakhand, India, the extreme weather conditions, the hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes etc. and if we continue to proceed on the same track as we are, the end is going to be soon. It’s high time we become aware of our responsibilities towards the one sustaining us, irrespective of the misuse.

Various initiatives like Earth Hour, the celebration of Earth Day, and the various save the earth campaigns aren’t insignificant. They all have a purpose and until we become a part of such initiatives, the change won’t be lasting and the outcome won’t be as it should. Even if one of us takes an initiative and believes in bringing about a change, it will soon reach a hundred, a hundred will become a thousand and a thousand will soon become a million. All it takes is one step towards development, a belief to develop this place into the one worth living.

So follow a 3R policy: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Plant a tree, save water, save electricity, pool cars, don’t waste paper, ban plastic bags, use rechargeable batteries and most importantly share and spread awareness.

We must do our part to save our environment before it’s too late. Like we speak for ourselves, it’s essential for us to speak for the one we have no significance without. There is no progress without the environment we live in, only destruction. Realise the importance of what we have got and strive hard to protect it. It’s not something to exploit or play with, but worth taking care of, for what it has given to us selflessly.

And as Kahlil Gibran says in The Prophet, “And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” Therefore, for that mother earth it is important to reciprocate the love it gives, and most of all, value her for everything.

Aakriti Kumar

Image Source [http://photogallery/images/gallery/20130620/villagers_uttrakhand_20130701.jpg