This Saturday, the 22nd of April is a special day for me. Along with my mum’s birthday, Saturday will also be observed as Earth day. I’m an environmentalist and prior to this I was not aware that my lovely mother’s birthday would be double delightful for me, for I love the world as much as I love my mum. I like to identify myself as a global citizen rather than that of one particular country.
Earth day was first observed in 1970 in the United States of America. This date was chosen by then United States Senator Gaylord Nelson. Two decades later, Founder of the social organization, Earth Day 1990, Denis Hayes, took Earth Day global and organized various events across 141 countries on Earth Day. Since then Earth Day is observed each year and many important environmental and peace decisions are taken all over the world. Chief among them were the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit and the Paris Agreement, which was signed on Earth Day 2016.
For environmentalists like me, every day is earth day. But 22nd holds a significance in that, even people who have never really bothered much about global exploitations take some time to understand and realise the changes happening around them. Every year more and more people are gradually becoming environmentally responsible. Even though change is happening, it is not happening fast enough. There are still several issues that need to be dealt with. Let’s look at what they are.
Increasing Pollution Levels and Traffic
People moving to major cities in search of better job opportunities has been a trend for quite some time now. This influx has seen an increase in the number of automobiles on the roads, pushing pollution to new levels. Everyone using their personal vehicle has also lead to unwanted traffic and noise pollution. The situation is worse in densely populated countries like India and China. One of the viable options to tackle these problems is car-pooling ie, sharing your ride. Instead of each person using their personal vehicle to commute, people can instead choose to car-pool. This will drastically decrease air pollution, noise pollution and traffic, all at the same time. It also helps reduce expenditure on fuel since everyone shares the cost.
Climate Change Nay Sayers
Decades ago scientists discovered that, due to pollution, there is a change in global climate patterns. This phenomenon is dangerous to the earth and needs to be contained. But during Ronald Reagan’s tenure as President, this problem became a political and business issue and gave rise to a number of people with ulterior motives, who claim climate change is a myth. These people are commonly called climate change nay sayers. But even as this group tries to disrupt the actions being taken to tackle climate change issues, it is up to us to do our part in saving the earth. Reduce using Fossil Fuels wherever possible and switch to clean energy alternatives, especially solar energy.
Animals Losing their Natural Habitat
The uncontrolled burning of fossil fuels has increased environmental pollution. This, chiefly carbon emission, has led to global warming, which has disrupted the natural habitat of many animals, especially beasts that belong to the Arctic Circle. The arctic ice is melting at an alarming rate and stopping it is of a very high priority. This is another reason why people should switch to clean energy fuels.
The Ever Increasing Landfills and Mosquitoes
Presently most of the waste we generate is dumped in landfills. This mixture of organic and inorganic waste degrades the soil and along with it brings the problem of mosquitoes and rodents. The issue is more persistent in major cities where waste is being dumped in prominent locations within the city limits. This has led to various health and environmental issues. There are a number of ways we could put an end to this.
- Proper Waste Management: Segregate organic and in-organic waste at the source, at your homes. The organic waste can be composted and can be used in rooftop and kitchen organic farming. The inorganic waste on the other hand can be recycled.
- Upcycling: This is a relatively new concept and is better than recycling. Here, used products, especially plastic and glass objects, are crafted into something really gorgeous and aesthetically beautiful. Consider alcohol bottles for example, instead throwing them away, craft them into candle holders or chandeliers. If you aren’t able to do it yourself, give it to skilled artisans who can do it for you.
Synthetic Fertilizers Poisoning the Earth
For years now, farmers have been using synthetic chemicals in order to increase crop yield. But many of them are not aware of the fact that these chemicals affect the natural fertility of the soil and pollutes ground water. These chemicals also have adverse effects on humans through our food. Hence it is important that we put an end to it. How do we that? By promoting Organic farming. In this kind of farming, all synthetic chemicals are banned. People only use natural and organic certified products for farming. This farming practice is good for the environment and all life forms.
Apart from all this, there are a few things which everyone can do to preserve the earth. Planting a tree, refraining from littering, switching the fans and lights off when not necessary, using paper bags instead of plastic covers are just few of the simple but essential things one can do.
Every New Years, many of us make new resolutions but never keep them up. For a change make a resolution on Earth Day instead. A resolution to play a part, no matter how small, in saving the Earth. Remember, we have but one earth. It can survive without us but we can’t survive without it!