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18 September 2017

Earth Day, 2016 and Our Responsibilities

Imran Khan
The writer is an Environmental Engineer and currently works at FOCUS Humanitarian, Gilgit

April 22 is celebrated as Earth Day every year in more than 193 countries. On this day events are arranged worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection and conservation of natural resources. Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970.

Without going into the details of history and past events let us focus on what should be our responsibilities on this Earth Day. As discussed in the previous article, the ravages of climate change are more of a concern today, then they were in past and the resulting problems are more evident. Consequently, we as the inhabitants of this planet, have a huge responsibility upon us to make this planet cleaner and better. If we want our future generations to inhabit this planet, we have to do more than just attending a rally. Number of events regarding climate change and related problems occur worldwide throughout the year. We have to practically take steps to save the planet. Here I will focus on few very simple but important steps we can take on this Earth Day and we can play a role to make this planet a better one. Humans haven’t always taken good care of Mother Nature but this time let’s come together to campaign for the protection of the environment.

The first and most important step we can take is planting as many trees as possible. Trees act as the lungs of Earth and to counter environmental pollution and rising amount of greenhouse gases we must plant trees. Deforestation has huge negative impacts on the environment. Trees take up the carbon dioxide from the surrounding and give off oxygen. They play an important role in maintain a stable temperature and prevent soil erosion and landslides. Planting trees can help us preventing a number of problems. It is a simple, effective and easy way to fight climate change.

We have to prevent excessive use of anything. For example, we can save water by turning it off while we brush our teeth, turning off extra lights etc. We must fix the leaky outlets and valves to save water. We have to stop misuse of paper and encourage reusing it. We have to reuse and recycle as many things as possible. We must limit the use of cars and bikes, we can walk to school or college. It can help us to maintain our health as well. Carpooling is one of the best ways to combat climate change. We should use public transport or find people in our area with whom we can share morning and afternoon rides. We should use a refillable and permanent water bottle to carry with us because bottled water consumes huge amounts of fossil fuels to produce and transport. These plastic bottles do not biodegrade and remain a part of the planet for many years. We should not use plastic bags, instead we can carry a homemade bag while we go for shopping or to get anything from the market. We must use dustbins and encourage others as well. Throwing wastes everywhere, as most people do, pollutes the environment. We, being good citizens, should encourage people to use dustbins. Picking up a plastic bottle or any other waste and throwing it into a dustbin can have a huge impact on people around. We must organize community clean up drives in our surroundings. We must cut down on our meat consumption. Because meat industry produces huge amounts of harmful emissions and natural ecosystems are destroyed.

By following these simple steps we can play an important role in fighting climate change and promoting sustainable development. While we are searching for life on other planets, let’s save life on this planet and make sure that our future generations will be able to continue life here, on Earth.