The role of the individual vis-a-vis the environment is paramount, even as current discussions of disasters detract from the narrative of the symbiosis between people and their environment, and instead antagonize everyone but themselves
Through Bilal Bashir Bhat
A The majority of us desire a cleaner and safer environment, but none of us want to make major lifestyle changes that could help. In recent times, Kashmir has seen not only major shifts in climate conditions and patterns, but also threats from wildlife, which have created a direct uncomfortable divide between humans and nature – a relationship that has otherwise been seen as harmonious.
Instead of maintaining a beneficial relationship between humans and the environment, human actions have caused many environmental problems. There are many serious environmental threats the world is facing at the moment such as global rising temperatures or global warming, climate change, deforestation, air and water pollution, extinction of species that are changing the earth. We are all equally responsible for these problems in one way or another. But it also means that we can all do our part to solve these problems if we are aware of our role and responsibility in relation to the protection of the environment.
Our personal activities/acts can either improve or worsen the quality of the environment. Eating sticky rice is hardly sustainable for people who think that comfort at the expense of the environment is a given. On the contrary, human existence is impossible without the existence of a healthy environment.
There are actions people can take every day to protect the environment, such as recycling, reusing, composting, and using greener fuels and vehicles. Remember that our earth can fulfill our needs but will not pay much attention to our greed.
If we want to respond properly to environmental problems, we must recognize that each of us is individually responsible for the quality of the environment in which we live.
The same people who demand clean water and block the roads when it’s not available are the ones who waste it and pollute waterways by dumping waste into them. Until and until we realize that we owe it to the resources we use to ensure we create an environment they can manage, we remain vulnerable.
As little as using fans instead of air conditioners, using public transport instead of private, using your own bottled water instead of buying bottled water, using and taking your own recyclable bag instead of buying everyday items in plastic bags, using washable and reusable diapers etc children can go a long way. These small changes and habits at the individual level can make a big difference – technology and politics can do nothing without individual citizenship. Environmental problems cannot be solved with quick technological solutions alone. Decisions and actions of the individual largely determine the quality of life of all people. This requires individuals not only to be aware of various environmental issues and the consequences of their actions on the environment, but also to make a firm commitment to adopting an environmentally conscious lifestyle.
The fundamental duties enshrined in the Indian Constitution oblige individuals to protect the environment in order to enable everyone to have a clean environment and live in dignity and harmony. article 51A(g) states that the fundamental duty of every Indian citizen is “to protect and enhance the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for living beings”.
Kashmir is also lagging behind when it comes to waste management. Some of the waste from our households can be diluted, decomposed and recycled indefinitely by natural processes, as long as these processes are not overloaded. Natural processes also provide free flood control and erosion control services. So we have to learn to value these resources and use them sustainably.
By creating a culture of environmental awareness and teaching our friends and families that the physical environment is fragile and necessary, we can begin to solve the problems that threaten it. Only environmental awareness and awareness let people realize that our actions help to repair the damage we have caused.
Every year the quality of the environment deteriorates instead of improving. But the good news is that there is still a lot we can do as individuals to change this. To meet the threat of these growing environmental problems, urgent steps should be taken not only at the global or national level, but also at the local or individual level. In fact, the role of the individual in preventing environmental problems is crucial, because it is individuals who make up a community or a country. The effort of each individual at his or her level can result in a significant impact on a global scale.
Because “charity begins at home” and environmental protection should benefit us all equally. It also takes care of itself and our community. This education can spread from an individual, a family unit, and the entire community. Environmentally conscious and inspired individuals are therefore the most powerful tools to address environmental issues, especially at the local level. This is because individuals can address environmental issues more effectively as they are more familiar with the issues that exist at the local level and can find relevant ways to mitigate them.
It’s no use pointing fingers at each other when it comes to facing the wrath of environmental issues. If we start with ourselves, these problems can be solved gradually. This kind of education will cultivate a culture in which individual responsibility will be a duty of service to society as a whole.
The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of the Kashmir Observer
- The author is an environmental specialist
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