~ Aditi bhardwaj
From the beginning of civilization; humankind has exploited nature for its own benefits. As society kept rising and the population kept on increasing, industrialization and urbanization were inevitable and both implications proved to be deleterious to the global environmental conditions. Climate change, deforestation and extinction are some of the factors that are the contributions to the possibility of a future pandemic and the acceleration of global warming.
Before Coronavirus disease, human beings behaved as though there was no nature or climate or biodiversity. The vast increase in carbon emission and eradication of nature itself has created a mess within the earth, last year (2019) there were various factors that happened that called out for human beings to reconsider the things they were doing to the environment for their own personal needs and wellbeing. The year was termed as the warmest year and the warmest decade recorded globally which caused near-record of melting of Arctic sea ice, hurricanes and cyclones came in like a wildfire that killed many people globally and cost hundreds of dollars to repair the damage caused.
Millions and billions of dollars were spent to mend the damage:
1) A California wildfire that happened last year killed 3 people and hundreds of wild animals, it cost around $25 billion. Many households were left without electricity and water supply for a while.
2) In India cyclone Fani was the strongest storm that brought heavy rainfall and flooding causing widespread damage in the region of Bangladesh killing 80 or more people, uprooting millions of trees and damaging thousands of crops fields, ocean water increased which drowned houses and monuments and livelihood of people living there.
3) The Iran flood cost $8.3 billion.
4) Cyclone Idai killed around 1300 people making it the deadliest southern hemisphere cyclone on record which cost over $2 billion.
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic poses a harsh reality to the world, society and the economy. It has revealed a country’s vulnerability and strength and taught us lifelong lessons during this time. On January 30 WHO declared it as a global health emergency.
A particle so small is haunting the earth and its humanity, the name covid-19 has become a day to day, minute by minute discussion in every household as we all try to keep it out. This is not the first time a deadly virus has arrived among us, looking for easy receptors. The majority of the countries are now trying different tactics to stop the spread of the diseases.
Every year millions of people die from the air, water, land pollution, but among them, the coronavirus has increased the enormity of deaths and have spread horror, given the fact that almost 15 out of 20s top most polluted cities are situated in India, as well as there are some cities that don’t meet up to the WHO air quality standards.
The pandemic has caused the reduction of economic activity, which is a great concern whereas the ramping down in human activity has had a positive impact on the environment. The halt in industrial and transportation have minimized the spread of carbon emission and effluents which have resulted in clear air, water and soil quality.
Photos of clear air quality in China, clean and hydrated canal in Italy and wild animals roaming the streets in the USA which have been circulated all over the social media, gives people a sense of satisfaction but it is not the whole picture we as the people are looking for.
There has to be a pattern in analyzing the approach of the countries for covid-19, as well as to learn from other countries how to tackle it at large and what all countries have been successful.
1) To accept the problem
Those countries who saw and accepted the problem and did not see it as a hoax are already being successful in fighting the very cause. In New Zealand, Covid cases went downhill by taking proper measures, the news spread like wildfire as there were no new cases reported in the country for at least 22 days.
2) Active communication
3) Sharing of the news and methods to stay safe
4) People contribution
5) Having faith
6) Using vital measures to save people’s lives even if it costs more as life is greater than any material in life.
7) To engage and collaborate
Environment pollution has gone down due to this pandemic but there are factors that are depreciating, for example, our economy, as well as unemployment, is reaching its highest record. The poor and the downtrodden were hit the hardest as they don’t have access to unemployment insurance, those who live on the paycheck as their work is not needed anymore and those who live on streets and only earn via begging.
Amidst Covid -19 it is often heard on Social media or news or via communication that the infection spares children whereas statistics show otherwise. When the infection first started spreading it showed that it only infects a particular age group of people but the scientist suggests that this may not be true. Children who are exposed or have been accessed with clinical manifestation and exposure history shows that they are more susceptible, the infants being notably vulnerable.
Children with a history of disease gained by them at a very early age can become an attraction for the infection, if not given proper measures of care for them to be safe they can easily become an attraction to get infected by the virus.
Schools and colleges were shut down at a very early stage and are still far away from being opened again. With the increase in the number of cases being reported in India, the very model of education has slowed down in pace. The education system has come up with various modes to educate children, one of them being an online teaching model. People having access to network and laptops or mobile phones are easily benefitted and have the liberty to learn, whereas the family who are not able to afford a mobile phone and network connection are the ones who get deprived and can’t do anything about it except waiting for the virus to fade away and to go on their normal routine to live.
Mahatma Gandhi once aptly said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
The Bishnoi Movement
In the 1700s, in the Marwa region of Rajasthan (khejarli) trees were ordered to be cleared out for building a new palace. One of the villagers, Amrita Devi could not bear to witness the destruction of their floral habitation. She decided to hug the tree and encouraged other villagers as well to do so proclaiming: “A chopped head is cheaper than a felled tree.” Over 363 Bishnoi were martyred.
The Bishnoi’s faith was established in 1485 AD by Guru Maharaj Jambaji, he recognised the importance of trees within his local ecosystem.
The Maharaj after learning of this event went straight to the village and apologised, ordering the soldiers to cease logging operation and designated the Bishnoi’s state as the protected area. In the memory of the martyr, a number of Khejri trees were planted in that area.
The Chipko Movement
It was led by Sundarlal Bahuguna, Gaura Devi, Sudesha Devi, Bachni Devi, Chandi Prasad Bhatt, Govind Singh Rawat, Dhoom Singh Negi, Shamsher Singh Bisht and Ghanshyam Raturi in 1973, their main objective was to protect the trees from the axes of forest contractors.
Bahuguna taught the villagers the importance of trees and how they protect soil from soil erosion and the benefits of the environment for rain and purified water. They were to protect the trees as it benefited the locals and the Adivasis living there. The Chipko movement gained publicity when a number of women surrounded the trees from being cut and faced police brutality.
The event was well heard by the then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna and ruled in favour of the village.
The Chipko movement became a worldwide sensation and became an example for future environmental movements.
Jungle Bachao Andolan
In 1982 in the Singhbhum region of Bihar, the state government decided to replace the natural Sal forests with the highly-priced teakwood trees, the tribal of Singhbhum was not happy with the decision. The movement was called by many environmentalists as the ‘Greed Game Political Populism’.
The Youth is “Bring the Change”
Many children protesters are seen making a difference all around the world. In over 200 nations children are calling for adults to take action and stop ruining their planet’s future. Grown-ups around the world have failed the youth and the new babies born on this earth as for them they have not only ruined the planet’s life but also have not given such potential to save it.
Children and teenagers are walking out of their classes and marching out on the streets to fulfil their demand to take actions on climate change. Jamie Margolin founded the protest group called Zero Hour in Seattle, Washington, in 2017, when she was just 15. Half a world away, 15-year-old Greta Thunberg started skipping school in 2018 to strike for climate action outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm. These movements quickly became global. Young people have been talking about a change in climate and their environment but today’s youth is louder, courageous and more coordinated to speak out about their environment and how we as people can only save it.
Learn about the concept of stubble burning and how it is so prominent in India.
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