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Sunday, Nov 22, 2020 13:30 [IST]

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Its time to talk about the real environmental issues that we have created for ourselves

VISHAKALABAR
Have you ever wondered about how is it that every household has a television set but not a wastewater recycler? How every household has cellular phones but often do not have waste segregating bins? How every individual tends to celebrate birthdays by cutting a cake but have barely planted a single tree? And the list of questions I ask myself is long.
The very word "Environmental issues" will make most of the readers to flip the page to the next or to scroll down the page. Some of us might just sigh and say "well we cannot do much about it" why read through it too. But for few of us, it's a topic that brings a great deal of worry and concern as the only living planet, which is our home, is in grave danger as we face severe to worse environmental issues year after year. The impact of these issues is felt by one and all, though we may not realise it currently but one thing we need to understand is that our ecosystem is made up of closely interconnected abiotic and biotic components. Disturbance in any one element of the component will show its consequences in another.

I am sure if I were to ask you to list down the major environmental issues you would be able to name at least three of them; Pollution, Climate Change and Extinction of species, being part of the list. But these are not the only ones as we will be able to list these issues based on the alphabetical order. Categorising the environmental issues into local and global issues, depending on its impact, can help us work around actions that help mitigate or adapt to the issues better. Global warming for example would be a global issue whereas pollution of a particular lake or river on the other hand would be a local issue, both though caused due to unthoughtful anthropogenic activities.
Think about your daily routine from morning till you go to bed and pause every time you contribute positively towards being part of the solution or part of the environmental issue management strategies. Note down the number of times you paused and these pauses will be your contribution towards helping save our only planet. In cases where one had no reasons to pause then its time to consider to do something about it, to wait until someone else does something about it or to do nothing at all and watch the environmental systems reach its tipping points.
We all have heard the saying "Little drops make the mighty ocean", therefore on similar lines, every positive action from our end to reduce the environmental burden will matter. I remember my childhood days being more sustainable compared to my current lifestyle. Plastic bottles were reused as water bottles or for SUPW (Socially Useful Productive Work). Old newspapers were used for making envelopes for carrying groceries, unlike the online products which come in layers and layer of plastic coating, clothes too were handed down to our siblings or cousins or converted to foot mats, unlike the new fashion boom where today's fashion becomes obsolete tomorrow. Our diet was mostly vegetarian and having meat used to be either twice a week or on special occasions, not allowing our food mile and carbon footprint to go up. Reminiscing will bring in many more such examples and I am sure each one of us can quite relate to it.
The numerous environmentalists, environmental protagonist, concerned individuals and I, we believe that each one of us can definitely make a difference to the environmental issues that we have created for ourselves. Each one of us can be part of the solution and the start point should be "By bringing about a series of lifestyle changes". It might sound simple but it is one of the most challenging tasks as we are so rooted in a particular lifestyle and we look for convenience all the time. But if each one of us can start with one simple action such as reducing the amount of meat consumption or buying from the local market or any other lifestyle change that will yield positive benefits, then each one of us will play the role of captain planet, the one who saves not just the day but the only living planet, we call home.

(The author an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP), Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) & Theory of Knowledge (TOK) Facilitator at Indus International School, Hyderabad. Email: vishakalabar@gmail.com)








Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi