World Environment Day: Why it is celebrated and how China, Bangkok and Finland are emerging game changers

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Published: June 5, 2019 11:54:04 AM

Climate awareness campaigns mark the first point of communication with the public to trigger informational gateways that translate into public discussion, debates and pave the way for results on the ground in the form on sustainable solutions.

The quality of the air we breathe is not dependent on the weather alone but upon the lifestyle choices that we make on a daily basis.The quality of the air we breathe is not dependent on the weather alone but upon the lifestyle choices that we make on a daily basis.

“Once upon a time, we had dinosaurs and clean air to breathe……” Before you laugh this off, do consider that every minute, 13 people die before their time because of air pollution. Today marks World Environment Day. And do we breathe clean air? You know the answer. Probably not! So, this may be how Indian grandparents read out fairy tale stories to their grandchildren as there is no clean air to breathe anymore, just as there are no dinosaurs we can spot in our midst.

Air pollution is the key theme for World Environment Day, which is observed on 5 June 2019. The quality of the air we breathe is not dependent on the weather alone but upon the lifestyle choices that we make on a daily basis.

On World Environment Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized on living in harmony with Nature in the following tweet, “Our planet and environment is something we all cherish greatly. Today, on World Environment Day, we reiterate our commitment to ensure a cleaner planet. Living in harmony with Nature will lead to a better future.”

The most important question that we all need to ask ourselves is this: “What are you doing to reduce carbon emissions footprint?”

On World Environment Day, we take a closer look at how other countries are taking significant steps to encourage their citizens to incorporate sustainable and earth-friendly choices in their daily life.

READ: Craving for mangoes? Kerala man transforms terrace into a mini-orchard with over 40 varieties of mangoes!

A fundamental shift begins with our daily transportation choices. Almost a century ago, Bangkok used to ensure public transportation through their khlongs or network of canals. These worked just fine till Bangkok, like the rest of the world, became mesmerized by the world of automobiles. But now Bangkok is all set to leverage its historical transportation system and come forward with reviving waterborne network service across the city and integrate it into other mass transit systems to improve its traffic system in a more environment-friendly way.

Another good example is Hangzhou in China, where around 70 per cent of public buses are already electric and private investment continues to be pumped in to support sustainable public transportation systems.

The Beijing Airport, for instance, has played played a pivotal role in spreading environmental awareness among travelers.

Building the world’s first fossil-free society seems like ‘Mission Impossible’ but recently, Finland has pledged to pave the way for this transformational change and become a carbon neutral nation by 2035.

The announcement has been further backed by a significant increase in Finland’s public spending on infrastructure and welfare. Commendable efforts are already underway to raise increased spending. Taxes are set to be raised through fossil fuel levies and a sale of state assets, according to its policy document.

Air pollution kills 7 million people every year, damages economies, hurts child development and also sets every country backward in terms of development. Climate awareness campaigns mark the first point of communication with the public to trigger informational gateways that translate into public discussion, debates and pave the way for results on the ground in the form on sustainable solutions.

As the world is heading towards a global climate emergency, every tiny step makes a big difference in saving lives and nurturing the earth.

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