Ever since I remember my childhood, I was told that the trees and plants can hear, see and feel like us, humans. At the age of 25, I now know that they don’t, but, I don’t think it would be wrong to say that my love for nature grew with this particular myth.
As I go deep down the memory lane and recall the times spent with my dad, I remember him picking up every chocolate wrapper I threw on the floor. How amazed I used to be when he carefully let out the caterpillar which I tried to kill in the garden. One particular memory that still makes me laugh is when he told me earthworms were his friends. My response was, “Friends? Dad, they are worms and worms are creepy!” Well, now I feel proud that vermicomposting is something I learnt from him. My dad has been my greatest inspiration since my childhood. His attitude towards nature and environment guided my passion all along and is one of the reasons for my love towards it.
“We are what our environment is.” As a student of public health, this is the first thing I learnt in my environment class. Learning about the mounting environmental problems everyday is undoubtedly heartbreaking. Overpopulation, rapid urbanization and industrialization, loss of biodiversity are all leading to disruptions in environmental integrity which is affecting health and nutrition status of human. Along with this, daily realization about the ignorance of people towards the environmental issues is more disheartening. I believe that many youths today are overlooking the fact that they constitute a major part of our country’s population and that their actions at present can give rise to significant consequences in the future.
One determined initiative, one firm decision; one courageous step can CHANGE the world. But the youths today are lost in the virtual world. We are more curious about the new gadgets launched in the market rather than the decreasing number of bees due to cell phone radiations. We are highly concerned about not missing a single day without being active in the social networks, but we don’t seem to have any time to speak out for the depleting ozone layer.
But, gone are the days to complain and whine about how someone else is not taking the initiative. If one needs an inspiration, they can look at the “hamribahini” initiative to prevent the use of polythene/plastic bags. We must take initiative ourselves. Step forward, and lead the way for others. Change is not a plant that grows overnight. It requires frequent nurturing, determination, love and care. Without the self realization among youths about the need to address the environmental issues, accomplishing the dream of ‘sustainable environment’ is a far cry. It is essential for every individual to realize their role and do their part to protect the environment. After all, we are what our environment is.
-Written by Bonita Sharma