When it comes to lifestyles, young men and women in India are more environment-friendly than their counterparts in developed nations.
However, the conflict between aspirations for a better, more luxurious living and its impact on the environment comes out starkly in a survey conducted by Hindustan Times and research body C fore.
However, about three-fourths of the respondents aspire to drive a ‘big car’ — a fuel-guzzling sedan or SUV.
The survey, which covered 1,522 respondents in 13 cities, threw up other interesting results: 61% of those surveyed don’t switch off their car engine at red lights. This means the carbon footprint of today’s youth is increasing dramatically.
Between 1990 and 2008, India recorded the third highest increase in carbon emissions — 143%, behind Iran (180%) and China (174%), according to a 2010 report by the International Energy Agency.
Many of the youth interviewed didn’t even know today is World Environment Day. “If it’s easy to be environment-friendly, it’s fine. But most people won’t put in extra time or money for it,” said Nikita Gupta, a student at IIT Delhi.
With India playing global host to this year’s World Environment Day, a lot of noise has been generated to help raise awareness and raise money for green causes. Much of the onus rests on the youth. As environment minister Jairam Ramesh said, “There’s a whole new generation of Indians adept at finding solutions to our environment problems.”
Anna Hazare brought out thousands of youth to participate in his fight against corruption. Perhaps we need a different kind of Gandhian or Baba to awaken a growing nation’s green-consciousness as well.