The atrocities that we are committing against Mother Nature have manifested in deforestation, desertification, plastic accumulation, water depletion among many more environmental hazards. The serious question to all of us is-'how long could we afford to feign ignorance of our actions?' You would have an answer to this life sustaining question by reading further.
In our elementary schooling days we have studied that plants and trees give us the invaluable oxygen and cause rainfall so that we get water that is so crucial for our sustenance. Nevertheless, we give a damn to protect our lifelines. We are burning down the rainforests to make way for cattle farming. It is estimated that for each pound of beef produced, 200 square feet of rainforest is destroyed. Trees take decades to grow. But we bring them down in few minutes to make furniture, to build ships or to make household utensils. Even to this day, in some villages trees are cut down to satisfy the need for firewood. After doing all these irresponsible acts, we claim that we are civilised. Some of the tribal clans in the America, Africa and Asia know how to scientifically protect the forest resources despite depending on natural resources for most of their needs. We normally fail to realise the importance of the gifts of nature simply because we don't have to pay money to get them. Most of us are not aware of our responsibility to hand over the natural resources to the next generation in the same manner that we got from our forefathers. Imagine a day when we have to pay for artificially manufactured oxygen. The company or the government that would sell oxygen will become demigods. In such a scenario, exploitation and looting will definitely become rampant. Yet none of us are ready to accept the truth and we continue to ignorantly cut down the trees to make quick money.
According to the UN Environment Program (UNEP) report, almost one-third of the earth's land surface inhabited by about 500 million people is becoming desert in some sense as a result of global warming. The glaciers that are the important part of the ecosystem are melting at a rapid pace. While, the twelve main desert regions of the world are becoming very hostile to live on. Our irresponsible actions such as overusing ground water, contaminating the soil with salt, polluting air, building road, emitting greenhouse gases among others things are to be blamed for this man-made disaster of global warming leading to desertification. Most of us are ambitious and futuristic when it comes to our individual lives. We plan and work towards our goals in life. Also, I know of many companies that regularly conduct strategic meetings wherein every member contributes his or her creative ideas in terms of where the company should be in the next one year or even the next ten years! And, collective ideas work wonderfully as the goal becomes a team goal supported and promoted by the maximum number of employees. In contrast, many government policies are totally ignored by 99 per cent of people around the globe even though such policies are chalked to protect the Mother Earth who continues to carry us without complaining. One of the reasons for this lethargic attitude is the lack of understanding of the consequences. Or, maybe because we all understand that the consequences of our anti-environment actions would be fully evident only during the lives of our children or grandchildren. But, fortunately or unfortunately, it looks like we are going to witness the consequences of our terrible mistakes very soon! Whoever has said we have to reap what we sow, deserves Nobel prize for environment, if at all there is one.
Plastic and Garbage Dump
It may not be wrong to say that we live in the plastic age. Plastics are part of cars, bikes, consumer products, and furniture. Apart from this, plastics are used to contain the groceries that we buy from our neighbourhood shop. So, obviously lots of plastic wastes are bound to be collected at our homes. And, how do we eliminate them? We just throw them wherever we like except in our premises. We are so lethargic that we often throw garbage contained in plastic carry bags at the community dustbins but not inside them. So, most of the dustbins are left empty but the surrounding areas are filled with plastic wastes and garbage that attract scavengers. We don't realise that plastics take about 30 years to decay. When they are burnt harmful chemicals are emitted that cause infertility in human beings. Plastics left flung into open drains and sewers clog the system resulting in water stagnation thereby leading to innumerable health hazards including increased mosquito population. Worst, plastics are sometimes consumed by cattle and dogs resulting in death. Banning plastics altogether is not a viable option, though, at this point in time. An ideal solution to the plastic problem would be to recycle used plastics completely. However, only up to 60 per cent of the plastic produced in our country are recycled and put to alternative use. It is high time that we collect and re-cycle all the used plastic so that we can save the precious lives of our children and pets in future.
Depleting Water Resources
Water is our second lifeline after air. Rapid increase in population has put pressure on the scarce water resources such as ground water, river water and rain water. Depleting ground water has led to sea water making inroads into the ground water territory. This has resulted in salination of the soil. Rivers are becoming dry and some countries are already using sea water after desalinating the salt contents of the water. To make the matter worse, we pollute our sacred rivers in the form of industrial wastes. Sewage water flows amidst habitat and the government is least bothered to take corrective actions. In these days of scarce water, rain water harvesting ensures the availability of water, prevents ground water depletion and prevents soil erosion. But, unfortunately, very few of us adopt rain water harvesting. We don't feel the need to do so as our municipal corporation is catering to our water requirements. We don't care to waste water. We think that money can buy unlimited water forever, which is sadly not true. It's only when we see the problem clearly and closely that we try to do something. Rajasthan, a desert land, hardly receives any rainfall. But, people of Rajasthan are motivated enough to collect rainwater whenever it rains and store it for later use. This practice has saved them despite the water starved conditions in which they live.
To err is human but to repeat it is foolishness! By taking corrective measures and not repeating the mistakes that we have been doing, we can save our Mother Nature. We all must realise that it is our future that is in danger and not just the future of our children or grandchildren.