We have all heard that the global temperature is rising, and the ozone layer is depleting, which has led to serious environmental problems. We have all seen and felt it too, in the form of climate change; devastating floods in areas where it’s hard to imagine such calamities etc.
Now, a small girl from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, is raising her voice, strongly. These are some of the excerpts from her speech, at the UN Climate Action Summit, in New York City:
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!
We can only imagine her state of mind, the level of seriousness she has about the environment and mother nature. What if we all had the same level of awareness and seriousness; wouldn’t the situation have changed drastically? But the truth is that we all are not aware enough and serious about it, and hence, we don’t do our bit for the environment.
In 1991, the Supreme Court mandated environmental education to fulfil the fundamental duty of citizens to protect and improve the natural environment, as set out in the Constitution of India. In the name of awareness and change, policymakers created a subject, named EVS, which was compulsory at the primary level from the 3rd-5th standard. Don’t we need to learn about the environment after that?
The need of the hour is to add environmental subjects to every stage of our education system, whether it’s primary, intermediate, graduation or degree-level courses; the subject should be taught every year or semester, with some kind of practical activities – that’s when students will really inculcate a sense of love towards nature and mother earth.
Most importantly, as a result of this type of education, the kind of innovation and research needed in environmental protection will then flourish in our country. Innovation or developing a new technology, that reduces pollution, will only be possible if the person who is developing it, realises its importance, and is continuously learning about the problems people are facing, due to environmental degradation.
There are very few startups working in the field of environment, like ‘afforestt’ which develops forests in cities and industrial areas, ‘Banyan Nation’ which manufactures better plastics, and ‘Nepra Resource Management’s’, ‘Let’s Recycle’, which has one of the largest waste management solutions in India. It’s rare to find any investment or budgets being allocated by the government authorities in the research and development of ideas; like finding an alternative to polythene or dealing with the 26,000 tons of plastic waste, our country generates every day.
Research and development within a time-frame is the need of the hour, and we have to realise that the environment is very important for the existence of life. It supports living things and protecting it should be our first priority. Without a conducive environment, we run the risk of extinction. It is essential to understand that it is the environment that supports us and not vice-versa.
We all know that human nature is such that it adapts to any situation while solving all the problems coming its way with the help a logical mind. We have proved this fact so far, with the progress we have made in terms of science and technology.
Now, we find ourselves in this situation; let’s solve it collectively.