Protecting the environment is a universal responsibility and people from all walks of life have to commit themselves to restore ecosystems, an apt theme for this year’s World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5 every year.
By Lincoln Bennet Rodrigues,
Protecting the environment is a universal responsibility and people from all walks of life have to commit themselves to restore ecosystems, an apt theme for this year’s World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5 every year. Civil society and Government have to collaborate to undertake activities that will sustain and revive the environment to its original beauty and remain the most vital source of good health of the human population. It is very well known that ecology is under threat in both developed and developing countries. We are already witness to cataclysmic events like bush fires, unexpected floods, severe air pollution, volcanoes, tsunamis, rapid degradation of coastlines, erratic cyclones, global warming, disappearance of forests, wildlife and rich bio-diversity across the globe due to environmental imbalance and hence impacting people and their livelihoods. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow and our planet is now at risk of a climate change catastrophe. This depletion will further intensify if we don’t put a stop to harmful practices to fulfil the needs of our unsustainable lifestyles. Environmental degradation is the largest threat to safety in the world today. All this is linked to urbanization and our lifestyle which are harming eco-systems vital for our life.
Dealing with urbanization
The vision for the future of development and environmental conservation will require a radical transformation of our current infrastructure systems. There is a need to restructure our cities and cut down on rapid urbanisation through collective action. The ongoing pandemic has made it essential that we change our approach to work and lifestyle, focus on environment conservation and the creation of communities that are eco-friendly. A solution to the problem of urbanization is planned design and development of our urban landscapes that will be sustainable in the future and take care of the needs of urban dwellers. A new urban ecology will have to be configured to ensure that our ecological systems don’t wither away.
A positive initiative has been taken in the real estate sector, which has seen several eco-friendly technologies in the construction of new homes. Leading realtors have begun to construct smart and self-sustainable homes that meet the needs and aspirations of modern customers. Developers have now made multiple structural modifications in their new builds such as re-distribution of airflow and oxygen supply and implanting elements for quick absorption of carbon dioxide in their properties which will not only enhance hygiene and health of the customers, but will also reduce the overall carbon footprint of the property. There is also now a greater blend of traditional and modern practices to restore ecologically healthy systems. Practices like aquaponics, hydroponics and vertical farms have imparted a feeling of self-reliance and sustenance among residents in an ecologically aware and sensitive way.
Behavioural Shift is important
The environment that we live in is very important not only for our health, but also for our future generations, and so it is every human being’s responsibility to protect it. Building a course towards more sustainable lifestyles has now become imperative for us. Covid-19 has also reiterated the need for prompt action and up-gradation in business models that are more environment-friendly.Businesses have to undergo an inside-out transformation right from the purpose of the company to governance, corporate strategy, operations, and stakeholder relations to achieve identified goals.
Last year, during the lockdown, all of us noticed the mother earth rejuvenating back to greener lands and cleaner skies, deserted streets giving way to cleaner air, chirping birds on balconies, return of wildlife in some parts of the world etc gave us all a moment to introspect on the impact of our day-to-day actions on nature. During lockdown, our environment took the opportunity to renew itself and heal from the wounds we left on it.
Eco- friendly behaviour is the need of hour to protect our environment. People can usher in small changes in daily practices without dramatically affecting lifestyles. Post pandemic, people are now exhibiting greater preference for clean and green spaces, healthy surroundings, fresh air, clean water, landscaping, recycling waste materials – anything that conserves energy and fosters a healthy link between the human population and nature.
The need of the hour
There needs to be a campaign for the restoration of greener spaces and urban forests across developments and promote holistic practices that boost the environment. There is a need for a collaborative approach involving all stakeholders like Governments, conservationists, development agencies, local communities, general public, the private sector and individuals (volunteers) in an effort to identify the barriers to restoration and drive grassroots actions.
Being the fuel of an economy, businesses too have a critical role to play in responding to environment protection by integrating a precise action-plan into their growth strategies. Equitable growth is all about balancing aspects related to people, planet and profits – the anchors on which a sustainable and resilient economy is built. Now is the time to integrate sustainability even while being digital, which can take us closer to a green digital economy and contribute to restoring our ecosystems. Let’s Pledge to lend a hand towards Saving the Environment as our world can’t afford another pandemic. This year’s World Environment Day, which is all about Ecosystem Restoration, is a call for all of us to do our part in helping to heal our world and build a better future for everyone. The future is now and we need to act fast.
(The author is Founder and Chairman, Bennet & Bernard Group, a multi-diversified firm based in Goa. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)