World Environment Day

Dear 21st century humans,

Today, I daydreamed a lot about primary school, when this day was quite a big deal. World Environment Day. Everyone in class would come with newspaper clippings and articles and pictures to put up on our class board, along with some small session where there would be a few articles read as well as some play that was enacted by us. It was all about the environment.

We didn’t really know the significance of it all back then, it was just fun and we thought it was a good way to spend time. Better than doing math, at least.

Little did I know that this would stick with me for so long. That this aspect of the world, environment, would have so much meaning in my life 15 years later.

Not just me, it has to have a big meaning in everyone’s life right now.

On the whole, today, I’m happier than I was last year at this time. It was around the time I had started this blog and I had started it out of sheer anger and frustration for the blatant disregard to nature that people around me were showing. I am happier because-

  1. I have plants in my house now, that’s regularly being watered. I sometimes do it too, although it’s mom’s domain on most days.
  2. I have learnt and read a lot about the world happenings about the environment and climate change, and things are looking up.
  3. Europe is well on the road to sustainable energy sources (typically).
  4. And if it’s “typical” we want to follow, I’m sure India won’t lag far behind.
  5. The cost per unit of renewable sources is falling, and has been falling for the last 5 years. A very good sign.

What is it that still needs to be done?

  1. The government, for one, needs to get stricter with it’s environmental laws. The other day, I was reading about something called the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). It’s done when some major project is underway, to assess and mitigate the environmental damages the project can cause. What disturbed me was one line in this, that said…”…EIA is not to be a barrier to development. It can only be applied to major projects, and should be limited to major environmental effects of that project.” It was shocking, to say the least. EIA is a great concept, and it should be extrapolated to all (I mean, ALL) projects, big and small. And the study should be done extensively, not just for major hazards.
  2. The general perception among the larger public, unfortunately, is still about development being more important that environmental conservation. This mindset has to change, and governmental reforms will go a long way in making that happen. Not just the government. Any major influential body of the world (corporate, government, the Vatican City) can take the lead, and the masses will follow.
  3. The world is just getting hotter. And harsher. It’s now or never. Big changes need to happen. And they need to happen now!

All in all, not a bad year for the environment, considering how the last few years have gone by. But the biggest challenge remains; drastic climate changes. We are by no means, safe. And it will take every one of you, to help ensure this century is not the last century for human beings.

Yours,

Fellow 21st century human.

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