22nd April is celebrated as World Earth Day since 1970. Initially established to raise awareness for self-consciousness, respect for others, controlling the anti-war protest movement as well as bringing the environmental issues to the forefront; it is observed all across the world to increase awareness among people about the environment and also to share and demonstrate measures to protect it.
It is essential to maintain our planet in order to continue our existence. In the rush of life, and a maddening desire to overtake each other, mankind appears to have slowly lost respect for its own existence and continues to abuse this Earth. Its resources have been ruthlessly exploited for selfish interests. One of the biggest example perhaps is the depletion of Ozone layer which is our line of defence from the ultra violet rays of the sun. Their actions like constant cutting down of trees for various industries and settlements have harmed the biosphere, leading to their depletion and unfortunately not much has done to repair the damage. Another man-made catastrophe is causing the death of rivers, the very source of water for all mankind, by flushing the industrial toxic materials into them, which has led to more global warming.
Small but sure steps such as Afforestation (planting of trees), inhibiting deforestation, limiting the use of vehicles to reduce air pollution, reducing the unnecessary use of electricity and stopping wastage of drinking water will go a long way in reducing the effects of damage already done. Such small steps taken together shall lead the world out of the chaos it faces. Banning use of plastic bags that are non-degradable and which choke drains often causing flooding is another way to save the environment from the threat it faces. Populations worldwide are in immediate danger, making it more urgent to act than ever before.
No one person can prevent climate change. A single person cannot prevent global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees celsius. But if each of us became more aware of the destruction and devastation we cause and adopt measure of sustainability, if civic leaders put their cities on the path to 100% renewable energy, if corporations went carbon neutral, then we could prevent this crisis.
The Indian Red Cross Society joins these efforts by creating awareness through its volunteers present in the State and district branches. Every citizen is important, and everyone has to contribute his bit. Everyone must take a lead and do whatever she/he thinks is imperative to increasing the life of our mother Earth. We must come together and inspire our communities to do their part in securing a healthy and sustainable future for the planet.
Dr S P Agarwal
Indian Red Cross Society