5 June 2017 marks the 43rd World Environment Day (WED). Yes, that day when everyone advocates green energy, abhors plastic, and plants trees. First held in 1974, nothing (except the themes) has changed in terms of how this day is celebrated. More or less throughout the years, the same things have been repeated. Yet each year the records of “highest temperature” are being broken and glaciers keep on melting. I don’t know if it is worth saying what’s been said before, but I do know that there is no other way round it.
As writer Arundhati Roy writes in The End Of Imagination, “There can be nothing more humiliating for a writer of fiction to have to do than restate a case that has, over the years, already been made by other people in other parts of the world, and made passionately, eloquently and knowledgeably. I am prepared to humiliate myself abjectly, because, in the circumstances, silence would be indefensible. So those of you who are willing: let’s pick our parts, put on these discarded costumes and speak our second-hand lines in this sad second-hand play. But let’s not forget that the stakes we’re playing for are huge and our fatigue and our shame could mean the end of us.”
The theme for 2017 is ‘Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator’. The host nation this year is Canada. As part of the occasion, Canada has offered free passes for its national parks throughout 2017. In an age when the world is subjected to the crass ignorance of Trump, Canada under Justin Trudeau seems like a reassuring presence. But the rosy words and promises are rendered meaningless if you keep siphoning more and more carbon for people to burn and sadly that’s exactly what Canada is planning to do after they discovered 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground at Alberta’s tar sands in northeastern Alberta. (Yes, Trudeau is indeed charming, and also deceiving.)
These days when the world is either freezing or melting, and with growing acceptance of conspiracy theories that claim that climate change is a hoax, the situation does look bleak, but there is hope. Evidence includes Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement being met with Michael Bloomberg’s offer of up to $15 million to implement the agreement.
In our own rapidly industrialising country where the cost of development is often the environment, Kerala has planted one crore saplings today. It is important that we do our part by implementing things that we were taught since a young age. It’s important that we limit driving, conserve energy, reduce the use of packaging material and use environmentally safe products, and educate ourselves, so as to see through the pretense of policies. We can’t really afford any lethargy or indifference because as Neil deGrasse Tyson puts it, “The Earth will survive climate change… we won’t.”
Feature Image Credits: Egeturk