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Earth Day: Here’s what we can do for our planet

Earth Day is not a reminder to put in a cloth bag in the car. It is about using the school bus not the car and stop putting a dozen dishes on the table when guests come over, writes Bharati Chaturvedi.

india Updated: Apr 21, 2008 01:04 IST

Tomorrow is Earth Day. What are we seeing, 38 years after this Day was started? By all accounts, average people across the world are looking inwards to make change.

‘Don’t use plastic bags’, someone reminds you. ‘Switch off the light.’

All of us should do even the smallest things we can. But we should also be humble enough to realise that these are not necessarily the most effective ways to combat environmental degradation, because they don’t strike at the root problems — lack of control by the poor over natural resources, the issue of inequitable access to clean water and air, to the annihilation of these resources themselves.

We have more poor people than Sub-Saharan Africa. Most of them are rural, and are the worst hit by food prices, climate change and even economic policies that privilege infrastructure over assets of the poor. If we really want to see becoming a greener country, we have to gather our wits and put the poor at the centre of our policies. An imaginative interpretation of this was by the Centre and Science and Environment. Their recent report about the NREGS suggested it could build environmental assets, ushering in a new kind of stability, if implemented well. Another is to re-visit how infrastructure is sited, and the democratic stakes of the local people. A third, not so policy driven and much more simplistic, is for us in urban areas to simply consume less energy and water.

Earth Day is not a reminder to put in a cloth bag in the car. It is about using the school bus not the car and stop putting a dozen dishes on the table when guests come over.

Canadian babies now safer

If you have or will have a baby, you’d be interested in a brand new Canadian government policy. They’ve banned baby feeding plastic bottles that have the additive Bisphenol A. The point is, most polycarbonate plastics contain the chemical, which is understood to leach out in specific circumstances, such as when hot water is poured into the bottle. Bisphenol A is a reproductive poison, estrogen mimic and may cause cancers.

If you feel for planet Earth, then write

Bharati.earthwatch@gmail.com