Sunday, 23 April 2017

Earth Day , 2017

Earth Day was first celebrated in the USA on April 22.1970.It is widely regarded as  the beginning of modern  environment movement. Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson was the founder. His idea was “to create an all-day” teach in” on environment issues. April 22 was also the birthday of  conservationist John Muir.(Also Lenin’s birthday).Inspired by the student  anti-war movement ,Nelson realized that  if he could combine student energy with the  emerging public consciousness about  the environment , then it could be propelled into  the national political agenda. Law-makers and business leaders  are turning a blind eye to the impending environmental crisis caused by human actions Earth day celebration is a strategy: To co-ordinate teach-ins  where citizens will gather to learn about local issues , and develop the civic engagement techniques to take action .   We need to engage in public policy so that we achieve the change we need. What kind of technology we want , what kind of green jobs that we need to create ,what kind of policies and laws we need to nurture sustainable development..
                    Gaylord Nelson died in 2005 at the age of 89 years .In 2002 , The institute for Environment Studies in  the university Wisconsin (Madison) was named Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.
           Nelson also wrote a book “Beyond Earth Day :Fulfilling the Promise”. In its foreword , Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote:” You show me pollution and I will show you people who are not paying their own way , people who  are stealing from public , people who are getting the public  to pay their  costs of production. All environmental pollution is a subsidy”.
               Theme of Earth day 2017 is “Environmental and Climate Literacy”. We can be very high scorers in our academic examinations but we may not have literacy of environment and climate change .The idea of Earth day 2017 is to impart  this special literacy to the school and college students from April 22 to April 29.Earth Day network  has kept a goal of Global  climate and environmental literacy by April , 2020.  Earth Day is now observed in 192 countries.. Ultimately , all education  is meant to result in citizen action .”Literacy is the engine  that will propel people  beyond becoming just voters  and advocates  but also accelerating  green technologies and jobs”.
             This earth day marks the  first anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change.It was signed on April22,2016 , exactly one year back.
          A special flag has been associated with  Earth Day.It has photograph of the  whole Earth taken  during Apollo 10  space mission in 1969.Dr. Margarat Mead , a world famous cultural anthropologist, carried the Earth Flag  with her wherever  she appeared  from 1969 until her death in 1977.It has a dark blue field  made from recyclable polyester.
              Humans are consuming natural resources  at an alarming rate. In the past couple of decades , we have  consumed more resources annually than the Earth can replenish. This is unsustainable .It will cripple the planet  and threaten the living conditions of future generations. We  have to reduce the individual ecological foot print.
        What is greenhouse effect?
The earth gets energy from the sun, heats up and then gives off  energy in a different form , called infra-red radiation.Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere  trap some of this energy  before it escapes to  outer space , warming the atmosphere. But people’s activities are adding  extra greenhouse gases  to the atmosphere.So the greenhouse  effect is becoming stronger  and the Earth is getting warmer.
Carbondioxide levels are rising and this leads to temperature increase. 
Signs of Global warming and climate change:
1.Rise in sea levels.
2.Stronger storms.
               On this Earth Day , we need to focus on local environmental issues as well as global  issue of climate change. What are the next steps that we must take:
1.Hold a teach-in in your community.
2.Hold a tree plantation event in your community.or donate to plant a tree.Deforestation contributes to  species extinction  and poverty and is responsible for up to 15%  of the global greenhouse gas emissions  causing climate change.Planting trees is one of the easiest and most important ways to fight climate change.
3.Start a group on facebook  and start an active dialogue. Provide people with an opportunity to make their voices heard.
4.Invite questions from the audience.
5.What are our views and proposals about  policies related to climate change and environment?
6.Use less paper.
7.Recycle your bags for shopping .
8.Reduce the amount of energy that you consume.
9.Eat less meat .The meat industry  generates nearly  one-fifth of the man –made greenhouse  gas emissions worldwide.Limit your meat consumption .Barbara Hendricks , Germany’s Environment Minister  announce on 21 February , 2017  that her ministry” will no longer be  serving meat , fish or  meat-derived products  at official functions  because vegetarian food is  more climate-friendly  than meat and fish.”
10.Create healthy Indoor air quality  in schools.
11.Find ways to protect  hearing and health of kids against noise pollution .
12.Count down your Carbon foot print .Individual as well as collective efforts are needed.
13.Reduce waste in school.Reduce waste of paper.Reduce wastage of food.Reduce wastage of water and electricity.Turn off lights when you leave a room .Turn off your computer and other electronic  devices  when you are not using them .Buy items with less packaging .
14.Donate clothes , books and food.
15.Drive less.Walk more, use bike and public transport more.
16.Recycle paper.63% of  paper in the USA is  recycled.However , paper can only be recycled if each person makes an effort  to dispose it of  properly in recycle bins.On an average , a person in the US  uses more than 700 pounds of paper every year
17.Stop using disposable plastic.Take the pledge to stop using  disposable plastic—bags , bottles , packages.Only about 10% of this  plastic is properly recycled  and reused.The rest ends up as waste in landfills or as litter in our natural environment , where it leaches  dangerous chemicals into the nearby soil  and water  ,endangering human and wildlife alike.
18.Human population needs to be controlled .
19.Open air nuclear weapons tests  and nuclear fallout.
20.DDT, Pesticides , Chemical fertilizers need to be eliminated.Organic farming must beencouraged.
21.Death of rivers is taking place  by getting mixed up  with the industrial toxic materials.
22.Phase out Thermal power plants and instal solar power plants.
23.Protect forests, national parks
24.Increase your knowledge of Sustainable goals.There are 17 Sustainable development Goals (SDGs) out of which , the following six pertain to environment and climate change.
SDG6:Clean water and sanitation.
SDG7:Affordable and clean energy
SDG12:Responsible consumption and production .
SDG13:Climate action
SDG14:Life below water
SDG15:Life on Land
            Let us resolve on the Earth day to make every cirtizen of India literate on issues related to environment and climate change by 2020.