“No, they whisper. You own nothing.– Margaret Atwood, The Moment
You were a visitor, time after time climbing the hill,
planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the otherway round.”
We, as humans, have taken our planet for granted since time immemorial in ways we ourselves couldn’t fathom. This taken-for-grandness has resulted in damages that are now irreversible.
But that doesn’t mean we should give up, because even though this planet will never get back to its pristine form, no matter what we do, little changes will help us to keep it hospitable and ensure continuity for the generations to come.
As Margaret Atwood says in her poem ‘The Moment’, we are mere visitors to this planet, the planet was never ours yet we fail to realize this.
Think of how many times have we experienced or heard of forest fires in the past five years? It was never this frequent before the 90s.
Man’s relationship with his/ her environment is that of give and take; one cannot just take and take but never give back anything. The planet doesn’t want your gold and silver, but maybe plant a sapling on your birthday?
Is that too much to ask for?
One must never forget that man is a part of nature and not the other way round.
I was in second grade when I first heard about something called global warming.
In school, we were taught to turn off the lights and fan when not in use. I did turn them off mostly but didn’t bother to ever think more about it. It wasn’t until 2019 that I fully understood the intensity and seriousness of climate change. It was very late but I’m glad that I at least realized – better late than never – even though it sounds so wrong while saying it.
What is funny to me is that how everyone keeps saying that climate change is an existential crisis yet they continue like before. Do you not care about living anymore, Sir? Or do you not have the will to see your kids growing up?
Climate justice is a very multidimensional term used to frame climate change as an ethical and political issue, rather than one that is purely environmental or physical in nature. I won’t be surprised if anyone says that they haven’t heard of this term because it never became a social media buzzword.
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change was signed by 189 countries as of 2019. If so, then why are the emissions not decreasing? Because on paper, every country seems to have achieved the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but when it comes to practicality everything nullifies.
The majority of people keep thinking that climate change/global warming is a hoax because they can’t see any signs.
Are we so blinded that we can’t see whole cities flooded and tens of thousands of people dying?
What about the 2020 bushfires in Australia and Uttarakhand in 2021? Are we still waiting for signs? We have leaders who keep ensuring us that they are doing their best to combat and mitigate climate change – on paper right? Because there are no emergency meetings, no headlines, no policies; no one is acting as if we are in a crisis.
You might be bewildered when I say that I do not believe that going vegan is enough for the climate. Yes, you need to control and lessen your dairy and meat intake but no do not stop it all at once. Think of it this way, imagine you have some exotic trending food foreign to your habitat. Think of the carbon footprint of the journey for it to reach your plate. The most sustainable way to eat is to eat local.
As a part of climate change, women and children have been identified to be more vulnerable, and rightly so because women are supposed to be taking care of everyone and putting everyone else first because of their ‘nurturing’ quality.
Mind you this is the same quality that makes her all the more vulnerable. But women and children are also very well, suited to be at the forefront to combat climate change.
Following are some little ways in which we can contribute to this global climate movement –
Be it “climate change education” or “education in general” because education is empowerment.
2. Speak Up
Healing the planet starts in your dining table, kitchen, and living room. Start with your friends, make them aware, and then move outside your immediate circle. Social media can play a great role here.
3. Invest in Energy Efficient Appliances
Switching directly to renewable energy can be a little too heavy on the pocket for us. So choose energy-efficient appliances instead.
4. Conserve Water
Saving water reduces carbon pollution too because it takes a lot of energy to pump, heat, and treat water. So take shorter showers and turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
5. Actually Eat the Food You Buy
Food wastage seems to have plagued more than half of the world in 2021 while the rest can’t even manage to get one proper meal. Be grateful that you can afford to have food on your plate at the end of the day.
6. Switch to Reusable Alternatives
Use bamboo or steel straws, reusable coffee cups, bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic straws, paper cups, and plastic toothbrushes. Low waste is better than zero waste.
7. Pay Attention to the Fabrics
Acrylic sweaters release microplastics that are non-biodegradable and end up in oceans or inside the bodies of aquatic animals, the same goes for polyester. Switch to materials like hemp, organic cotton, bamboo, etc.
8. Buy Secondhand
Secondhand always doesn’t mean second best. In 2021, thrifting is the way to go – from books to clothes to furnishing!
9. Needs and Wants
Classify what you buy into needs and wants. Creating clutter and owning more than you can finish in a lifetime isn’t a good thing. Hoarding just looks good in photos.
10. Pay Attention to Your Carbon Footprint
Carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases that are generated by our actions. So the next time you take that Uber or catch a flight, think again.
Remember, Howard Zinn once said,
“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
Start today and your little act can one day make a significant impact. Good Luck! I sincerely hope this article helped you in your impactful conscious journey. Let me know what you’re doing already or will be doing to help save our planet.