World Nature Conservation Day, 2020
“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
This quote establishes that history is what makes us and what shapes us into who we are. And as Indians, we should commemorate this fact all the more, for we are blessed with glory. Despite the surplus that we possessed, our ancient emperors believed in the power of conservation- in passing on the rich heritage that our country possessed to us. The Great emperor Ashoka and the Mauryas, believed in preservation of life and nature. They ensured this through reinforcing laws that prosecuted offenders for assaulting animals or for carelessly exploiting the woods. Yajnavalkya condemned deforestation and mentioned so in his scriptures. Our culture has also taught us to worship rivers as the providers of life. For who we are, as a part of this society and the proud successors to our glorious emperors, I want to draw your attention to our bind today, on this World Nature Conservation Day, 2020.
Credit: CC0 Public Domain
As the second most populous country on this planet, we as citizens of our nation pose a greater responsibility to use our resources judiciously. And we must give ourselves a pat on the back because despite contributing almost 20% to the global population, we only generate about 3 percent (overall) of the total garbage generated every day. But, it’ll be too early to celebrate this fact since these numbers are low not because of our efforts for conservation but because we are a poor country. This will change with time and as it does, so will the waste generation. However, we can regard ourselves to be lucky and still act on minimizing wastage as we make progress.
Annual municipal solid waste generated per capita (kilograms/capita/day),
Courtesy: World Bank
This article started with a mention of India. But when it comes to conservation, we must not be divided by boundaries but rather unite as people of this world and as the leaders of this generation. It won’t be a new fact if I stated that we are in the worst ecological state as compared to all the previous generations. Waste that is dumped every day keeps piling up. We are running short of ways to dispose of waste without damaging the ecology. For example, garbage that is dumped in the Pacific, which floats and travels along with the ocean currents has given rise to a landmass. This mass of garbage, called the Great Pacific Garbage patch, which measures more than the size of many countries, must remind us Humans of the toll that we are taking on our planet.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (sourced*)
But it’s not the end. We can still change all this and reverse the impacts that we’ve caused. When it comes to conservation, even the smallest effort counts. One such small step we can take is to start maintaining a diary or a journal to log entries of our day to day consumption. On day zero, the entries must consist of small things which measure the amount of water used, electricity consumed, plastic wrappers or bottles, papers, stationery used or thrown and so forth. From the next day onwards, your aim must be to reduce each of these entries. The results of this exercise will be evident in a couple of weeks. If people can spend a wholesome twenty six years of their lives planting forests, this is the least effort we can put to conserve our nature. It’s not us individuals alone. Many corporates are doing their bit towards preservation of resources. Apple, a popular consumer brand, intends to reduce massive amounts of E-waste by not supplying in box accessories by analysing that most of their buyers are upgrading from their previous products. This not only reduces footprint, but also reduces package size thus improving transportation efficiency. Moreover, they also lay a strong emphasis on recycling of parts and products from older lines by reintroducing new lines.
Design Credits: Apple Inc
Such examples not only inspire us to conserve our limited resources but also instill a glimmer of hope in a sustainable future. Hence, I sincerely urge everyone to do their piece to make this tiny world of ours, an even more so beautiful place for the generations to come!