Environment and Us:
I would like to share some views with respect to the environment and what role we as individuals can play in protecting it. Most of us will be aware of the term global warming and that it is going to have a very severe impact on the whole eco-system (of which we humans are a part) within our life-span. So it is high time that we give a thought to the environment and how we affect it. I am no expert in this field (not even an amateur) but I recently heard some related views and thought them to be very logical. There is a small part which all of us can easily play and in turn create a big effect. So I feel that this message must be spread across to as many people as possible.
There is a concept called as a carbon footprint. In layman’s language, it is a measure of the harmfulness of the effect of an activity on the environment. Almost every action of our day to day life is associated with a carbon footprint. Here are some such examples:
•The electricity which you use is most probably thermally generated resulting in a lot of air pollution.
•The water which you use needs to be pumped using electricity.
•The soft drinks you drink and potato chips you eat are made in factories using a lot of water, electricity and generating their own emissions. Not to mention the waste generated out of the attractive packaging.
•The clothes you wear are made in mills which again use water, electricity and generate emissions.
•The cars, airplanes we use for traveling generate tremendous emissions.
So you can see that each and every aspect of our lives is harmful to the environment in varying degrees. We live our lives without even realizing this fact. So what can we do now?
We have to continue living our lives and we cannot stop that. What we can do is put in some more thought, examine our lifestyle and align it a bit. A bit from everyone is quite a lot. With economic growth, we are pampering ourselves to much more than what we actually need. What we really need is actually very less but since we have the money, we just splurge it. We go to malls for entertainment and are overwhelmed by the attractive displays and enticing discounts. We end up buying stuff just because it is on sale without even bothering whether we really need it or not. We gift others things which they never need or care about. Instead gift them small plants or saplings. Even if they don’t take care of it, it will survive for a few days and in those few days, it will offset some of the carbon footprint. We buy new mobile phones, computers, TV’s just because there is a new model in the market. The old one still satisfies our needs but it is discarded and becomes a large contributor to e-waste. We buy a big car when a small car is enough just because it is a status symbol. Not to forget the traffic congestion.
The point is not to become a sanyasi but buy and use only what you really need.
Ok, so after knowing how much to buy, we have to decide what to buy.
We have to become a bit more selective. Try and use stuff which will have a lesser impact on the environment – in terms of its production, usage and disposal. Look out for greener options. Minimize the use of plastic. Try and use more bio-degradable products. Look out for maximum recyclability and re-usability.
All these things may sound a bit overwhelming at first. However, a slight mental block has to be overcome and these things will become a habit and no longer a burden. So the next time you leave a room, think whether the light is still needed. Think twice while fully opening that water tap, while buying that new shirt or accessory.
Reduce, re-use and re-cycle (in that order) are the key things to keep in mind. So I hope that after you read this, you’ll appreciate, practice yourself and spread the message in your own family and social circle so that together we can make this world a better place.