The environment is irreplaceable for the planet and our survival. This year, the theme for World Environment Day is âReimagine. Recreate. Restore’. And, given the circumstances we live in, it’s time to take small green steps for a better future.
This year’s theme is quite different from the standpoint of distinct ecological changes. Chief Aditi Chatterjee, Deputy Chief, ITC Grand Central Mumbai calls it âa large scale global companyâ. âEach individual lives in a micro-ecosystem within his family and his social environment. If such micro-ecosystems were to engage in restoration, then the standard of living would improve; what could be more personal than that?
Shweta Thakur, co-founder of Wildermart, a Bangalore-based clean grocery store, also calls catering a hopeful idea. âHe is committed to a better future and acts accordingly. It tells us that if we act now, if we try to undo the damage or save the day, our children will still have a chance. “
More seriously, Ritika Krit, founder of Kamree, an Ayurvedic brand, is worried about the deterioration of the ecosystem. âThe healthier our ecosystem, the healthier living things will be. Echoing similar sentiments, Kishan Jain, director of Goldmedal Electricals, bemoans the lack of awareness and literacy when it comes to tackling climate change. âThe right information and the right tools at our disposal will help us make informed decisions to transition to a sustainable lifestyle. “
Rajesh Uttamchandani, director of Syska, sees individuals linking self-esteem to materialism, which has an impact on the environment. âIt’s time to reassess our actions and commit to abandoning our lifestyles. With current circumstances and rapid population growth, the need for advanced technology to conserve natural resources has become a critical case. “
To go green in food, Shweta believes that going vegan can be a “powerful and effective way to reduce our footprint.” âReducing items with a huge water footprint can further reduce our impact on the environment and it’s good for our own health. The dots are there to connect us – what’s good for the environment is also good for us. Chef Aditi suggests making a conscious choice to buy organic food grown by local farmers. “This habit and the consumption of seasonal perishables will reduce the carbon footprint and ensure a healthy restoration of the ecosystem.”
Ecological beauty can be a delicious thing. Antara Kundu, Marketing Manager, The Body Shop Asia South suggests choosing brands aligned with pro-planet philosophies. âChoosing brands that follow environmentally friendly practices and use chemical-free, natural, cruelty-free and ethically sourced ingredients would be an ideal choice to make a difference. There are several brands that start their businesses with clean, green philosophies – again this translates into how consumers make choices as supply only follows demand. “
In recent times, technology has focused on taking environmentally friendly measures. And the basic step towards that, according to Jain, is to install LEDs. âLEDs are energy efficient, last longer, and are safe to use and dispose of. Another technology to invest in is smart home systems designed to optimize energy use. It can go even further by installing renewable energy devices. This will not only reduce our electricity bills, but also our carbon footprint.
The fashion arena has made major strides in this aspect. Manjula Gandhi, Chief Product Officer, Numero Uno, mentions that the fashion community places âimportance on sustainable fashion, circularity and transparencyâ. âCustomers need to choose brands that produce responsibly, ethically and sustainably and not just cheaper prices, so that sustainable fashion can be mainstreamed in our country. “
From words to deeds
Everyone is now becoming aware of the environment these days on a personal level. Chief Aditi makes a personal effort to eliminate plastic, using earthen water pots and cloth bags and choosing stores “that support the cause.” Antara firmly believes in the small daily steps that make a difference.
âI have considerably reduced my production of household plastic waste by trying to be minimal in consumption. Another key step is to start sorting our household waste. This ensures that what is recyclable is fully recycled and also ensures the safety of our waste collectors in these difficult times. “
Ritika has only one suggestion: recycle, recycle and recycle. âBuy products made with recycled materials. Use environmentally friendly packaging materials. Uttamchandani’s efforts to conserve resources begin with “turning off electrical and electronic devices” when not in use.
Growing awareness of the degradation of the environment and of physical fitness has prompted many people to take up cycling. It is important to adopt a healthy mix of personal motor vehicles, public transport and bicycles to build eco-sustainable cities. Electric bikes have also emerged as a viable transportation alternative.
Here are some tips for having a positive environmental impact:
Start by adopting the bike for short and medium distance journeys. Traffic congestion leads to air pollution and a reduction in this can be achieved by promoting cycling.
Cycling fights stress by helping to release anti-stress hormones serotonin and dopamine. While serotonin gives cyclists a post-run high, a dopamine spike helps us feel good, strengthens our focus, and speeds up muscle reaction times.
Adopt E-cycles to “Ensure at work”. Start cycling once a week and gradually make it a habit.
People must demand bicycle-friendly infrastructure to encourage cycling among people.
– Pankaj M Munjal, President and CEO, Hero Motors Company
Restoring ecosystems is a collective responsibility. It will certainly help educate end consumers about wood products made from certified wood from sustainably managed forests. Responsible manufacturers must ensure that their raw material meets the sustainability criteria accordingly.
It would bode well if more countries adopt and implement policies to ensure that their woodworking and processing industries follow environmentally friendly processes and practices. Canada holds 37% of total global forest certification with 170 million hectares certified under at least one of two internationally recognized forest certification programs: PEFC and FSC. All of this is possible thanks to strict forest laws, well-defined processes, trained forest professionals, comprehensive monitoring, compliance and enforcement.
Indians have a lot to learn about sustainable forest management, which reduces their dependence on imported timber. Thus, manufacturers of wood products, architects and interior designers, builders and developers will now have to contribute significantly by approving and choosing only certified wood from legally harvested trees.
– Pranesh Chhibber – National Director, Canadian Wood
Together we can!
I have heard many people say that the human population is at the heart of all problems. This may be true to some extent, but I would rephrase it because human consumption is at the heart of all problems. Since most of us are currently locked in our homes due to the pandemic, now is a good time for soul-searching.
Even if you look at even the smallest thing in your daily consumption or your behavior that harms the environment and you change it, it is still a great victory for the planet. Start with positive change and it will surely lead to more over the years.
There are two ways to do this – inaction and action. So my suggestion for inaction is to say no to things that are harmful to the environment like the consumption of animal products and industrial plastics. My suggestion for action is to work to protect the natural spaces around you by appealing to the respected authorities to give them a protected title and to participate in the restoration projects of the natural spaces.
– Sushant Bali, Back2Earth – Project manager – Saahas
Biodiversity and healthy ecosystems underpin our economy, feeding people, creating and regulating the conditions that make life possible, and providing livelihoods for billions of people. Most of our farmers depend heavily on nature. We do not stop degradation at our peril.
We need to fundamentally reinvent our economy to place the regeneration of natural assets at the center of all our business and economic activities. We must systematically invest in nature for our food systems, for our livelihoods, to create climate resilience and reduce the risks of zoonotic disease transmission.
Releasing our forests is the greatest opportunity we have to effect this change. Forests dominate the lives and livelihoods of our rural communities. We need a rural development plan that invests both in restoring our forests and in equipping rural communities to be their stewards and managers of a restorative future. A large-scale investment plan for re-wilding can create millions of jobs for young people and rural communities.
The future is rural and it lies in our forests. Urbanization has been one of the engines of ecological degradation – and cities have been the scene of massive eruptions during this pandemic. We have to build from the bottom up in a decentralized way. Only then can we build the true natural wealth of nations.
– Ranjit Barthakur, Founder, Balipara Foundation, an Assam-based organization that builds self-sustaining businesses for the rural ecosystem based on the principle of natureonomy and circular economy
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Posted on: Saturday Jun 05, 2021 07:34 IST