EARTH DAY NETWORK: PRE-ACT TODAY TO LEAD OUR PLANET TO A BETTER TOMORROW

Earth Day Network: Pre-Act Today to Lead Our Planet to a ‘Tomorrow’

“Awareness, responsibility, action, outreach” – Earth Day Network

Did you know, only 9% of the earth’s plastic is getting recycled? Or that animals across 400 species have at some point ingested or gotten entangled in plastic waste? Or even that, by 2050, oceans will contain more plastic than fish, by weight?

Let’s soak this in for a second.

Why do we nonchalantly overlook disasters? Why do we attempt at making a difference only once disaster strikes? As a nation we are falling short of being good inhabitants of our planet because of our lack of knowledge and urge to pre-act. We casually reverberate the words, ‘it’s not too late’ and continue to watch disasters snowball before our eyes.

We fail to evaluate the extent to which our daily practices affect our environment.

For example, how many plastic bags do we use a day? How long do we keep the shower running every day? How often do we leave our phones to charge for long hours every night?

These seemingly innocent practices have a huge impact on the environment, but our ignorance of these impacts does not absolve us of the responsibility to address them.

In light of the 'Countdown to 2020' campaign, we reached out to Earth Day Network India to explore the steps an individual can take on a personal level to adopt environmentally sustainable practices for a healthier and greener future by 2020.

Below are a few excerpts from our conversation with them.

What are the changes we can make at a personal level?

Being aware of your routine in order to change it for the better is a great step towards reducing your carbon footprint. For example, did you know:

  • The most power-efficient air-conditioner is 5 Star DC
  • Plastic waste can be shredded & sold to cement plants as an alternative for coal
  • Lowering the brightness on your computer screens saves energy
  • Using plastic is not eco-friendly
  • Carrying a cloth bag when buying things from the supermarket helps reduce your plastic footprint

The Ganga and Yamuna are ranked among the world’s 10 most polluted rivers. How affected is the marine life by this?

What we know is that India’s national aquatic animal, the Ganges River Dolphins are moving away from their natural habitats, as they can only live in clean waters.

To ensure their habitat is secured, students in Varanasi are coming up with innovative practices to prevent their lives from being endangered. We look forward to see whether their efforts to clean the Ganges will help bring back this threatened species.

How can we reduce our usage of disposables like plastics, foils, cling wraps and tissue papers? How will it help us reduce our carbon foot print in the future?

A wide outreach is needed to build awareness about this.

Our carbon footprint would be hugely reduced not only by reducing plastic usage, but also by managing plastic waste systematically. Plastic waste needs to be segregated, binned and either baled and sent to recyclers, or shredded and sold to cement plants as an alternative to coal (its calorific value is four times that of coal).

It can also be used as feeder stock for constructing Polymer-Blended Bitumen Roads (an innovation patented by a Padma Shri recipient, this year).

Do you feel the - one hour of no electricity - initiative is useful in the Indian context?

No. When the power is switched on, it comes back with a surge and actually draws more current. We need to inculcate behaviour towards ‘Low Carbon Footprints.’

For this, we have developed a special Snakes and Ladder game to help kids understand what contributes to carbon footprints, and what an environment-friendly habit really is.

How can we contextualise the ‘Countdown to 2020’ in our lives, at a personal level?

Awareness, responsibility, action, outreach.

How can we help in scaling this further?

If you talk about India, then scaling is very important to create awareness. Needless to say our population is huge and diverse. A cookie-cutter approach is not going to work. Time is of essence. Thus, it is important to reach out to people who have the potential and have the platform to inspire more people – such as local government leaders, religious leaders etc.

Let’s work towards involving more influential voices from sports, film and entertainment.

In order to continue our journey towards building an eco-friendly lifestyle, we need to internalise the need to pre-act today to lead our planet to a ‘tomorrow’,

It’s time we acknowledge that the earth does not belong to us, but we belong to it, so get involved and spread the word!

Add your voice to this movement today, to shape 21st century’s environmentalism.

Tell us how you think we can catalyse this initiative further. What additional environmentally sustainable practices can we adopt?

Share your thoughts, struggles or your chapters of success in adopting sustainable practices with us, on our Facebook and Twitter pages today!

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Alarm Bajne Se Pehle #JaagoRe

Sources: Earth Day Network, Plastic Pollution Coalition Organisation, The Economist

 

More about the Expert:

Earth Day Network

Earth Day Network is a global environmental organisation that grew out of the first Earth Day (April 22, 1970), and today, 48 years later, engages with over 50,000 organizations in some 195 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilise the environmental movement. Over one billion people now participate in Earth Day activities.

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