What does independence imply, in simple terms? This land, its rivers, and the greenery is ours for the past 75 years, that is what it implies in the simplest of terms. Since the beginning of our journey of being a bereft nation, India has developed on many fronts. We are slowly climbing up the ladder of progress from being a third world country, as the British had left us, to being a fast-paced developing country.
This independence day, instead of locking horns over things that we know will obviously and inevitably lead to conflicts, we can talk about things like, say, cricket, because the emotion it awakens in us is one over which we forget our differences on the political, ideological and even personal front. No matter what our differences were, every Indian was left heartbroken when Jadeja confidently caught the shot in the last cricket World Cup, thus almost sealing India’s march towards victory.
Now, imagine the situation when every Indian is left brokenhearted because we fail this nation by not being environmentally conscious citizens, only to realise that it is too late. The loss is ‘ours’ if India loses its battle against climate change in its struggle to recover from the post-COVID ecological crisis. In various parts of the country, we saw how nature reclaimed itself when factories were shut down during the lockdown. However, a virus-induced self-imposed restriction on lives and livelihood is nobody’s idea of a sustainable future.
As a country, we need to be focused on both our economy and our environment. Only an ecologically-oriented, low-carbon, resilient and regenerative economy can lead the way without neglecting either. The demands of this century are such that only a nation that has an adequate grasp over its energy production will find its way towards progress. India, with its varied topological structure, is endowed with different renewable energy sources. The priority in the coming days should be maximising energy production from these sources.
According to the UN, sustainable development is defined as the “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The ‘Green Recommendations‘ put forward by Greenpeace India include inputs from individuals, organisations and academics who have engaged in COVID-19 relief work during the lockdown and directly worked with low-wage workers, farmers, urban poor and livelihoods groups. As such, it reflects the collective hope of people who are keen on a clean, green, just and sustainable India.
Its focal points are as follows:
While pledging yourselves to the cause of a green future is definitely not the only thing you can do, it is certainly one of the significant things you can do to contribute to the cause, by insisting the government adopts the ‘green recommendations’.
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About the author: Husna Hasan is a Greenpeace India volunteer.