By Dr Rashi Mishra
Today the world celebrates its 52nd Earth Day with the theme ‘Invest In Our Planet’. Is this another Earth Day that might encourage us to ‘Save the Planet Earth’ status update on social media, or would it be more meaningful at the grassroots? We have been so fascinated with the thought of disseminating information and spreading ‘awareness’, as the main feature to save the earth, but it is the time for action.
Enough have we realised the necessity of sustainable growth to continue life on earth and to have a secure future for the coming generation, where people and Nature thrive together. The media inclination towards Environment news and reporting has given a bounce to the awareness level in recent times. In recent years, mass media has become a key player in publicising environmental issues, arguments, claims, and opinions establishing a conventional discourse centered on scientific evidence and expert opinions. Television, newspapers and other audio-visual mediums have helped shape environmental concerns affecting the human psyche. We are much more alert and aware now, and this is the right time to shift our energy, efforts, and knowledge to appropriately apply at the grassroots level. We would rightly be investing in the Planet.
Human symbiotic relationship with Nature has been in existence for ages. It is a mutual relationship between people and Nature that benefitted each other. Nature grew with the care and concern of humans. However, greed imbalanced the conventional symbiotic relationship, and exploitation of Nature for self-fulfillment started. Overuse of the natural resources acted as the catalyst for the environment to communicate its problem in the form of rising climatic temperature, forest defoliation, water pollution, and many more. Even though the science communicators’ interface with media depicts a wide assortment of environment-related issues at the same time, unreasonably, few have worked on the feasible ways for such engagement. Most of the time, updated information clashes with our existing concerns based on traditional beliefs, knowledge and culture related to the environment. Protecting ‘Nature’ for religious reasons has been an ancient practice in many traditional societies. The use of folk media, literature, poetry, mythological stories, songs and novels has been proved very beneficial in disseminating environmental issues and creating consciousness in the contemporary context.
We might celebrate Earth Day yet again by conducting and participating in a few discussions, watching some programmes, listening to some talk shows, or even thinking about the day to take some actions for saving the earth. The time has come to act now. Planting trees, relying on the reduce-reuse-recycle concept, saving water, saving electricity, avoiding pesticides and chemicals, buying local food and vegetables, environmental education for children could be a few activities for the same.
So what have you thought from today onwards: Using a recyclable water bottle, start composting, planting a garden, not leaving the water running while brushing your teeth, taking a shower instead of a bath, building a bird nest, switching off the lights and fan when you are not in the room, enjoy Nature. The choice is all yours how you invest in the Planet!