Give back to the planet with these simple easy-to-follow steps
Earth Day is celebrated annually on April 22 to underscore the importance of environmental protection. The official theme for 2022 is ‘Invest In Our Planet’ and though the idea may seem daunting, it is easy to give back to the earth. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.’’ We could start by acknowledging that the earth and its bounties are a gift to us and not privileges that we have earned. When we exploit its resources for our greed, we forget that this is the only home we have. Here are a few simple ideas to become a responsible earth citizen and be more eco-sensitive.
On Earth Day, invest your care and energy in the planet to make it healthier, greener and happier
Plant a tree:
Afforestation is the biggest gift we can give to parched cities, degraded wildlife habitats and plundered forests. Signing up for plantation drives, planting trees as often as possible and even gifting and dedicating trees to loved ones can lead to a greener planet one sapling at a time. Check out Grow-Trees.com, for ideas about how you can be a part of programs that are bringing river banks, forests, urban zones, eco-sensitive regions, mountains and green belts back to life. With just a click, you can be a part of these afforestation drives, help increase green cover, nourish wildlife habitats, and help local communities. With the help of corporate entities and individuals, Grow-Trees.com has planted millions of trees across India and you could be part of this ecological revival as well. So go on, donate to a cause or gift a tree to a loved one. Grow-Trees.com will send your wishes to the person you’re celebrating via an eTreeCertificate and you can even give trees to multiple persons at the same time.
Water is the most crucial resource for any living organism and yet as WHO says, over 2 billion people live in water-stressed countries and these numbers are expected to be exacerbated in some regions as a result of climate change in the near future. Sustainable Development Goal target 6.1, “calls for universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water” and the least we can do is to not waste it. Take shorter showers, try rainwater harvesting, check your kitchen and toilet for wasteful leaks, turn off water while brushing your teeth or shaving, use your washing machine only for full loads, and water your plants during cooler parts of the day and remember every drop that you save counts. Simple things like using buckets to catch rainwater, rinsing fruits and vegetables in pans of water, flushing the toilet with the water you’ve conserved will make a big difference.
Embrace green energy:
India is the world’s third largest consumer of electricity and our reliance on conventional or non-renewable energy sources such as coal, oil, and natural gas is extensive. The rising energy demand has altered nature and generated a shortage of environmental assets. It goes without saying that renewable energy’s advantages vastly outnumber those of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels will eventually run out and the world’s dependence on them has resulted in irreversible environmental damage due to pollutants and catastrophic accidents like oil spills etc. Renewable energy sources, on the other hand, can be used to create electricity while producing little to no greenhouse emissions. We could ask policy makers to reduce the use of fossil fuels at the national level but also on our own curtail the irresponsible use of energy. As citizens, let us start small by conserving electricity at home, using CFL bulbs wherever possible, using task lighting, switching fans off when not needed and unplugging unused electronics etc.
Move to a sustainable life-style
Earth Day is an excellent opportunity to choose earth-friendly behaviours. This is the perfect time to review the status of the biophysical environment, the impact of human acts on it both individually and collectively and to make life-style changes. We can become more responsible as the citizens of this planet, by consuming less, recycling and upcycling objects, reducing waste, switching to organic, locally sourced produce, eco-friendly cleaning agents and eschewing fast fashion. The results of these choices may not be apparent right away, but they have long-term, permanent implications. Let us make a small change today for a big positive impact in the future.
Say ‘No’ to plastics:
Plastic is the ubiquitous and indestructible enemy that is taking over our oceans, landfills, mountains and rivers. According to an in.undp.org report, India generates 15 million tonnes of plastic waste every year but only one fourth of this is recycled due to lack of a functioning solid waste management system. This, says the report, “leads to burden on the landfills and poor socio-economic conditions of the waste pickers, mostly women.” Plastic waste that winds up in landfills and seas, releases toxins into the ecosystem and it is time, we said a firm ‘No’ to single use plastics like disposable coffee cups, plastic cutlery, straws and water bottles. Just a simple act of carrying your own grocery bag, water bottle, cutlery, and replacing plastic storage options with glass or steel containers will make a huge difference to the amount of plastic waste that is generated everyday.