Have you heard of a strange phenomenon where a predator befriended its prey? I am forgetting the minute details, but it so happened in a recent incident somewhere in theinterior hinterland of India that a wolf, who, while pursuing his quarry, a goat, fell into a deep ditch along with it. Rather than attack and devour his now confined prey, the wolf and goat were found in a perfectly amiable condition by surrounding villagers the next day. My fantasy guess is, the wolf and the goat might’ve helped each other find a way out. Anyway, truth is self-preservation took precedence over hunger qualms. The animals ‘adapted’.
All animals, with the glaring exception of homo sapiens, have learnt the art of perfect harmonious cohabitation with animate and inanimate elements of their surroundings. Even a lethal carnivore would not hunt for pleasure’s sake; if satiated, he would allow without care for a whole herd of prey to pass by. So have discovered animal behavioral scientists. Even our ancestors had practiced and advocated harmonious coexistence with nature. For them, each animal, even plants were a part of the larger family order Providence itself has ordained for us. However, somewhere during evolution, our very race lost touch. In a bid to prove our mental (intellectual) superiority, we became the predators hell bent upon feeding on those very constituents of Nature which caused and sustained our existence.
Sustainable Development is one of the key governance issues which each government across the world has to deal with both at a macro and micro level. I understand the ‘janta’, masses form an indispensable component of any country’s democratic set up, considering just democracies for the time being. The definition of public is not confined to their role and responsibility as the electorate. That is to say, our act on the democratic stage does not end with casting our vote. It goes beyond, and extends up to the point where we adopt the character of a citizen who acts responsibly in all spheres of life. Sustainable Development, growth while preserving resources so as not to encroach upon the endowments of future generations, as a concept encompasses many nuanced, technical aspect which the government has routinely been failing at throwing enough light on. In the same sphere, civil society activists have been doing a remarkable job of protecting, preserving and propagating awareness about what is our natural heritage.
However, these scribbles are not to lambast the government for what is another possible area of policy paralysis. Or of yawning gaps between policy and practice. We, as a nation, pride upon on our vast and diverse resource rich state. Scant do we pay regard to the possible problem that are woven into the fabric of that very diversity. Our country is such where the topography changes every ten steps (little exaggeration, if you permit please), and cultural identities and practices change sooner. Talking of curbing carbon emissions at a global stage is one thing; developing action plans for what could be a major problem plaguing just one sequestered area in a nondescript corner of our country quite another. Take the example of the Ladakh valley, where environmental problems are a particularly new phenomenon, caused largely due to the massive influx of tourists in the area. Now, since Leh-Ladakh are not playgrounds from which political gains could be usurped, regards paid to the local issues of this place which boasts of having evolved its own specialized gene pool are nothing more than mere lip service. Consequently, the onus for preservation and prevention falls on indigenous population and motivated volunteer groups.
That aside, environmental preservation is one area of activism all of us can partake in, even within the smug confines of our home. Let not shifting responsibility become a favorite sport as far as concerns of or dwindling resources go. I’m sure most of us reading this article would be conscientious, educated, and liberated people doing their bit for the environment. April 22 is celebrated as the Earth Day each year, the concept pioneered by John McConell, and crystallized by U. Thant, former Secretary General of United Nations. What better time can you find to heed the call of Mother Nature for protection? Do me a favour. Choose one from the below listed many pledges which are simple to observe and healthy to adopt as permanent practices in the interest of our depleting ecology. I think I am going to stick to most of them, and more.
I pledge to translate Earth Day messages to local language and spread them among as many as I can.
I pledge to use paper carefully and responsibly and motivate others to do the same.
I pledge to become the Electricity Nazi at home and ensure that no wastage occurs under my nose.
I pledge to celebrate my birthday (which is around the corner) by planting a tree.
I pledge to celebrate birthdays of my friends by gifting them saplings.
I pledge to reduce the consumption of plastic unless where absolutely indispensable.
I pledge to never, ever, ever, ever litter anywhere I go, even if the place seems like a garbage dump already.
I pledge to not find it below my dignity to be corrected on practices against the environment and assume responsibility for undoing potentially harmful actions of mine.
I pledge to make environment a bigger cause in my heart and mobilize support for the same.
I pledge to never give into practices like smoking which harm not just me, but also others and the environment through a passive route.
I pledge to use public transport as much as possible.
I pledge, particularly me, to read up on green legislations and green social sector initiatives so that I can call myself a green literate before I go onto spilling gyan about green practices to others.
Image Source - Aaqib Raza Khan photography.