We have many international days aimed at conserving the planet -- Earth Day, World Ocean Day, World Environment Day, and the list goes on.
On Monday, June 5, we celebrated World Environment Day. We planted trees, watered them, conducted clean-up campaigns, and participated in programmes like nature walks. We also took oaths to curb plastic pollution and food waste. We also heard our leaders and environmentalists deliberating on the perils that our planet is facing.
On Thursday, June 8, we will again be celebrating World Ocean Day. Although the day is aimed at raising awareness of the plight of the oceans and marine ecosystems, it also brings to the fore the vital importance that oceans play in sustaining a healthy planet.
The fact is that all these days remind us of what our contributions to nature need to be. All these days are a time to remember that we are fully dependent on nature for water, air, and soil for growing plants that we consume.
In the midst of rapid development, big infrastructure building, growing population and escalating consumption and untenable lifestyles, taking care of the environment, and re-valuing its many functions, is even more urgent.
We blissfully forget that life cannot be sustained without a balanced environment! Even after shifting from one environmental disaster to another, from one climate change issue to another, from hot air to cold winds, vanishing beaches to dead rivers, dying forests to sinking islands, we have not given any heed to the cries of nature.
Take a big deep breath while walking on the street. The air is polluted. In every breath what we inhale is poison, not oxygen! We discuss this every time and scream, but we forget again. Pollution continues to get trapped in the air and we breathe it!
Scientists around the world have found that the concentration of oxygen in our water and air has already started declining due to the burning of fossil fuels and other kinds of pollution. While the decline won’t directly affect humans, certain ecosystems are much more impacted, especially aquatic ones.
So it is high time we turned to clean and green energy. Every tech should try to be a “green tech” to bring more sustainable solutions. It is not just about you and me, but also about society, the environment, and future generations having equal access to the planet’s natural resources.
Look back at the horrific Covid-19 pandemic when oxygen was the most important element we gasped for during the period. Think of the hours and days we spent finding oxygen for our loved ones; how we saw patients collapse and die because hospitals did not have oxygen in the tanks.
Oxygen cannot be secured in a cylinder or by an oxygen concentrator machine for life!
This then is what we must remember every year when we celebrate World Environment Day. The oxygen that we get from nature is about increasing green cover and ensuring that our air — our every breath — is not polluted.
This on the other hand gives all of us hope and an opportunity to do our bit for the protection of the environment and earth's wellbeing. The future of the environment will depend on building stronger natural connections between people and nature, creating acceptance and support for the environment, and forging new alliances.
Every individual needs to start taking steps, no matter how small or large they are. One small step can make a big difference in the future of our planet.