By Nupur Dogra:
Earth day is celebrated every year on the 22nd of April. It was first started 42 years ago in 1970. Since then the day is marked by celebrations and various activities all over the world. These activities include people picking up litter from streets, rallies and processions protesting against non-eco friendly activities and products, switching off energy consuming electronics for some time, planting trees and plants, etc. This day is especially used to spread information and knowledge on how to conserve our planet from all the pollution we ourselves have generated.
Around this time of the year suddenly all the news channels, news papers, radio stations shift their focus to any news related to environment. Everyone talks about or rather crib about the problems of pollution and the effect on the Mother Earth. Pledges are taken and resolutions are made all over the world by people to conserve the environment, preserve the endangered species of animals and birds, reserve forests, using eco friendly products and what not. But have we ever thought that even after celebrating earth day from past forty two years, why endangered species are becoming extinct? Why pollution is increasing? Why forests are depleting? Why the plastic bags still exist when the threat that they pose was clear to us years ago? Why we go on to exploit the environment the way we want?
The answer to all these thought provoking questions is simple enough. There are 365 days in a year and picking up garbage from the streets on single day cannot make up for the damage done in the entire year, planting hundreds of trees on a single day does not solves the problem, in fact those trees need nourishment all through the year. Environment needs our undivided attention.
Does this mean earth day is unhelpful or irrelevant as a concept? No, earth day has its own importance; it is there to remind us of the responsibility we own towards our environment, our Mother Earth. It is the day to spread awareness about how to conserve our environment. We should look at it as a day to analyse what we have done the previous year to conserve our earth. It can bring about a much required change in the attitudes of people towards the environment. When we see people coming out of their homes, in rallies with slogans and anthems specially composed for this day, we start giving a thought to the issue. Most importantly people become more aware of the threat they are posing, knowingly or unknowingly to the environment and what can be the consequences of their activities. It is like a drop into the ocean but mistaking it to do the work of the ocean itself would be a blunder on our part.
Also, one can observe that materialising the issue of celebrating earth day has lead to a notion “earth day is for the rich to celebrate”. I find it rather funny how websites tell people on ‘5 ways to celebrate earth day’ and one of which is wear “green and brown coloured clothes”. Some even suggest the designers and stores to look for! Only when such activities are stopped; earth day can be seen universally by the people irrespective of their class or financial background, as a day to celebrate, to remind them of the responsibility they owe towards environment. The seriousness of this issue has to be preserved.
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