‘Because we don’t think about future generations, they will never forget us’
It is said that changes are always good but I disagree as this is incomplete without taking the responsibility of its consequences. Industrial revolution is the reason why we are here with all this modernity and easy accessibility to all the worthy luxuries of life. But we often fail to realize that our planet might come to its end soon.
As Victor Hugo said, ‘Nature, like a kind and smiling mother, lends herself to our dreams and cherishes our fancies’, Mother Nature has always tried to provide her children with the best, however, natural resources are bound to be depleted beyond repair if industrial progress is driven for long by a hedonistic pursuit of profits.
The industrially advanced countries took more than two centuries to realize that their material progress has been achieved at the cost of the environment. India and other developing countries should not ignore or tolerate environmental degradation in the race for development. It is only for the good of the country and humanity if the gap between development and environment is narrowed down to minimum.
Now, witnessing the dearth of this issue, all the nations had come together to fight this adversity in the form of the Climate Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. Also the concept of Carbon Credits was much earlier originated, which allowed nations or people to reduce their carbon footprint in a smart way. To protect our ailing planet their have been, from time to time, a number of movements going on in different parts of this planet.
But now the question arises, how in this process of ‘Helping Ailing Planet’ can the youth contribute? Since, childhood we have been aware of some of the remedies like planting trees, using public transportation, saving electricity etc. which actually are sometimes practical and sometimes not. As for a person who needs to reach his/her office in an hour and distance is of more than 20kms, one cannot be expected to use public transport every time.
I feel their can be more innovative, better and nano-easy ways by which we as youth of the world can contribute to reduce ours as well as the nation’s carbon footprint and help our planet get well soon. Measures like these can be put into consideration-
* In today’s world when technology is everybody’s power and internet a magical broom to fly on, we can use it to help reduce carbon footprint and that is possible by using Google facility with black screen (Blackle) which helps save energy and thus helps the environment.
* By using either solar either cookers or heaters, which are cheap and easy to construct, work for long hours, and are relatively cheaper. The main problem being the time taken to cook food.
* Change your Kitchen Habits: Use reusable containers for food storage instead of wrapping food in foil or plastic wrap. You can also use unbleached coffee filters, which does not produce the deadly toxin dioxin in its manufacturing. Use rags to wipe up spills instead of paper towels, and use biodegradable wax paper and bags.
* Check your hot water heater: Did you know your hot water heater accounts for about 20% of all the energy used in your home? There are a few simple things you can do to save energy and save money. Turn your water heater down to 130 degrees, which is hot enough to kill deadly bacteria, and still save energy. Also, insulate your heater with a pre-fab ‘blanket,’ but be careful not to block off air vents on gas heaters. This can save you 7-8% of your energy usage. You can also drain 2 quarts (or 2 liters) of water from your hot water heater every 2 months from the valve at the bottom of the tank. This prevents accumulation of sediment and prolongs the life of your water heater.
* Be aware of your paint you use: Use latex paint instead of oil-based paint. Oil-based paint is highly toxic, and its manufacturing produces nasty pollutants. Dispose of paint as hazardous waste, or with latex paint you can let it evaporate outside for one year. Then, you can dispose of it with the rest of your trash. Don’t clean your paintbrushes outside, because this can contaminate groundwater; clean them in a sink. Instead of trashing excess paint, you can donate it to a school or to someone else who needs to use it.
* Tires Every 2 weeks, we wear out nearly 50 million pounds of rubber off their tires. This is enough rubber to manufacture 3 and a quarter million new tires from scratch! To help prevent this, you can inflate your tires well. This preserves the life of the tires and saves gas, which ultimately saves money.
* Recharge Your Batteries: Batteries contain heavy metals, such as mercury and cadmium, which have become a major source of contamination in dump sites. They either break apart and are released into the soil or are incinerated and the deadly heavy metals are released into the air. Here is what you can do to help: use batteries which are rechargeable. Recycle alkaline batteries if you can. They can extract the mercury and cadmium for reuse.
* Shopping Bags: Plastic bags are not biodegradable even if they say they are, they do not decompose fully. Also the ink is made up of cadmium, and is highly toxic when it is released. Whereas paper bags are reusable and biodegradable. However supermarkets use paper that has never been recycled before and they always say “recyclable” not “recycled”. Here is what you can do: if your purchase is small don’t take any bag, this alone could save hundreds of millions of bags. Bring a cloth bag when you shop, or use string bags.
These were few of many steps which we, as youth of this nation, can put into practice to help our Ailing Planet Heal. These might not be the best steps, but if you haven’t started yet, these will be good points to start from.
‘We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children’
Native American Proverb
The writer is a correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz and also a student of Mass Communication
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