Time is running out

In our small little ways, we can be a big help in the reduction of emission that causes climate change
Time is running out
Apple Lake or Tscoont Kol in Kashmir [The famous Dal Lake's back channel that meets river Jhelum under Gaw Kadal bridge] is seen heavily polluted. [File] Haseeb Ibn Hameed for Greater Kashmir

BY AABID HUSSAIN NAQASH

Protection of the environment has been a top priority since the advent of the industrial revolution due to sudden & abrupt increase in pollution levels. Many international conventions have been held in this regard. World Environment Day came into being with its establishment in 1972 by the United Nations at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment held during the 5–16 June.

This put sustainable development on the global agenda. Two years later, the first World Environment Day was celebrated in 1974 with the slogan Only One Earth highlighting the need and importance to preserve and propagate the environmentally friendly policies directing towards the overall improvement of the environment.

World environment day is celebrated annually on 5 June and is the United Nations driving force for encouraging environmental awareness and suggest action for the overall protection of the environment.

It is and has been a legitimate platform for raising awareness on different environmental concerns as it foresees them and suggest the alternative actions to mitigate the same. World Environment Day is an established global platform for public outreach, as it disburses the valuable information concerning environment.

Each year, the program has provided a theme which is celebrated across the globe with a pledge to improve the overall quality of environment. Since then each year, World Environment Day takes on a theme that focuses on pressing environmental concern. A host country is also chosen to represent the day with this year being hosted by Sweden.

Under the theme “Only One Earth”, World Environment Day 2022 is being observed highlighting the need to live in harmony with nature in a sustainable way and choosing a cleaner and greener lifestyle thereby marking the fiftieth Anniversary of global environmental action.

“Only One Earth” was the slogan for the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in 1972. India has also hosted the event during the year 2011 & 2018 with the theme ‘Forests – Nature At Your Service’ & Beat Plastic Pollution respectively.

An eco-friendly, green & sustainable event like world environment day inculcates long term sustainable values such as recycling of waste, reduction in the use of plastic, and a mindful reduction of the carbon footprint. Everyday people can take actions to protect the environment. The global slogan which has emerged over the years is Reduce, Reuse & Recycling of waste.

Advances in science and technology have helped us to exploit the environment for our benefit, but has also introduced large levels of pollution and caused environmental damage.

With technological advancement and rapid modernisation new innovations like thermal power plants, Nuclear power plants & so on without any sufficient natural assurance results in issues like global warming, climate change, ozone layer depletion, acid rain, etc.

The most pressing environmental problems such as climate change & global warming constitute existential threats to human societies, as they seem to be worsening with time, bringing us into a time of a true environmental crisis unless governments frame effective and useful environmental policies. Role of government as the policy maker is crucial in the context of conservation & prevention of the environment.

The government has applied various checks and controls so that the environment is managed properly. Various initiatives at the Govt. levels have been adopted and the most effective and useful tool is the introduction of Environmental impact assessment.

The EIA is a tool that helps in identifying the environmental impacts of any developmental project at an initial stage during project planning & design and suggest methods to minimise negative impacts.

However, government policies and spending ultimately rely on public support. Events like World Environment Day and the likes have proved to be better and more viable option to prevent pollution by educating individuals rather than controlling pollution.

Environmental protection is a fundamental duty of every citizen of India under Article 51-A(g) of Indian Constitution. Individuals should be fortified to minimise wastage of resources and to avoid use of single use plastic.

There are many ways through which we can contribute towards the environmental protection with Reduce, Reuse, and Recycling of waste being of top priority.

Individuals can also contribute significantly by using mass transport instead of using personal vehicles, car-pooling, use of jute bags instead of plastic bags, taking part in environmental conservation drives such as plantation drive, conserving energy and water, use of renewable resources & making judicious use of resources are some of the examples of the role individuals can play.

In addition, we can also plan a community clean-up from time to time. Individuals should be encouraged to modify their lifestyle and living habits if those are not healthy for environment.

Time is running out, and nature is in emergency mode. Climate change is real and it is influenced by human activities. As a direct consequence, countries like India witnessed unforeseen heatwave levels in the last two months.

Extreme weather situations such as heat stress, rain, and cyclone lead to land degradation, biodiversity loss etc and are displacing people to a large extent. We need urgent actions to address these pressing issues, making “Only One Earth” and its focus on living sustainably in harmony with nature, as pertinent as ever. In our small little ways, we can be a big help in the reduction of emission causing climate change.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Let’s pledge to celebrate the environment day every day and adopt environment-friendly habits.

The earth is what we all have in common. Progress is impossible without change but those changes should be positive rather than the negative ones.

By supporting World Environment Day 2022 and the “Only One Earth” campaign, you can help ensure this unique and beautiful planet remains a comfortable home for humanity.

Aabid Hussain Naqash is a degree holder in Environmental Sciences from University of Kashmir

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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