In light of the indifference we seem to be showing for our environment, the theme for Earth Day 2023 was declared to be “Invest in Our Planet.” While we have made significant strides in science and technology, the environmental cost has been high; air and oceans are now severely polluted, trees are being chopped down at an alarming rate, and climate change is affecting every aspect of our existence.
Supporting life since eons
From the food we eat to the homes we build, we depend on the environment and natural resources but today’s fast-paced lives have deprived us of the time to pause and reflect on our actions. The planet is not just the only home to mankind but many other life forms, creating a web of symbiotic relationships. Our planet’s resources are finite, and we need to ensure that we use them in a sustainable manner so that they can continue to support life on Earth. The health of the planet is intricately linked to human health. The same factor underlies the detrimental consequences of pollution, climate change, global warming, and environmental degradation on human health and wellbeing.
Reduce your carbon footprint
We often dismiss the idea of doing our bit for the environment as a minuscule effort that won’t amount to anything significant in the grand scheme of things. However, if each one of us realises our responsibility in maintaining the stability of ecosystems, our actions can create a tangible and meaningful impact on biodiversity and communities. The amount of carbon dioxide emissions brought on by a person’s activities is measured as their carbon footprint. This suggests that each of us can make a difference in the fight against climate change by lowering our emissions. We must lessen our carbon footprint and make investments in the environment by using energy-efficient appliances, choosing public transportation, eating a plant-based diet, and being mindful of our energy consumption.
Invest in green technology
Using green technology effectively can help reduce the pollution and waste generated by conventional industrial processes. These technologies can also enable us to use our limited natural resources more wisely by emphasising actions that can lessen environmental harm and producing items that can be reused or reclaimed.
Encourage nature-based solutions
Nature-based solutions can help us improve our ecosystem’s health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase economic opportunities. Sustainable forest management techniques, preservation of coastal and wetland ecosystems, conservation agriculture, and agroforestry can boost soil carbon sequestration and lower fertilizer-related emissions. In order to combat the urban heat island effect, nature-based solutions can also be adopted in cosmopolitan cities in the form of more green spaces.
Support indigenous communities
Indigenous communities around the world have ecological and cultural knowledge that is vital to preserving the biodiversity and natural resources of our planet. Yet, they experience marginalisation and struggle with a variety of issues such as infringements on their right to their own property, poverty, discrimination, and restricted access to basic services like healthcare and education. To utilise their expertise and knowledge to sustainably restore our ecosystem, we must support and invest in the education and capacity-building of our indigenous communities to empower them.
The solutions to climate change are no longer a secret; in order to see results, we must make the first move and invest in them. When combined with the efforts of thousands of other people, even the smallest of our actions can have a significant impact. When we are aware of what we do and how it affects the environment, we not only do our part to lessen our carbon footprint but also stimulate the market for sustainable and eco-friendly goods, services, and policies.
(The writer is co-founder of social enterprise Grow-Trees.com)
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organisation