I believe at this point in time most people are aware of climate change, as most of us have even witnessed climate change in a very real sense. The hurricanes, droughts, earthquakes, and floods that have devastated communities across the world are only going to get intense as global warming intensifies with every passing year. While spreading awareness is necessary, it is safe to say that in 2017 most of us are well aware, now is the time for active efforts at the domestic, national and global level.
At the community level, we can make amends to properly recycle and reuse waste so that carbon emissions can be reduced, and at the household level we can adopt more eco friendly choices and segregate waste prior to disposing it, which could make significant impact.
Segregating paper, plastic and metal items from food and other organic wastes alone can make a big difference. Most apartment buildings will have a housekeeping staff that rummages through waste to make this separation, which is not only a health risk for them, but also makes a lot of recyclable waste such as paper, useless when it is in contact with organic waste such as leftover food. If we start differentiating our recyclable waste from organic waste in our homes before it reaches the communal waste bins it can create a huge positive effect. Most people can start by making recycling mandatory in apartment complexes and hopefully this can create a domino effect within the neighborhood.
As private citizens, we may not have a say in matters such as flood risk management programs or waste disposal procedures, but we do have the right to connect with and question local municipal heads about these matters.
Unfortunately ours is not a government that accepts proposals for new legislation from private citizens, and even if a bill that mandated green efforts such as recycling were proposed in the government, it would be a year before that was put into effect.
Our current Prime Minister has been able to create such a strong communication channel with not just the public but with leaders everywhere in the world, and it vital that he create a path for us as a nation to combat this problem.
In a speech he made in 2015, Narendra Modi stated that first world countries with the luxury of choices should be more responsible for the carbon emissions they create. He went on to illustrate how melting glaciers are threatening our country’s coastline and the overall negative impact global warming will have on our agriculture. Then, US president Barrack Obama was in attendance along with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, and 196 countries entered the Paris Climate Agreement to help save our global environment in 2015. Earlier this year French President Emmanuel Macaron expressed his concerns and disappointment when current US president Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Accord. While PM Modi has yet to officially respond to USA’s withdrawal, considering this is the country that has the maximum luxury for choices compared to any other nation, it would be important to see the path forged by Modi in these new circumstances.
It is no secret that our nation we will be required to participate in the fight against global warming if we want to minimize the damage caused by natural disasters.
With campaigns like Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan in effect, it is vital to take responsibility for our homes and communities, and to engage with local and civil authority to begin a discussion on disaster management and proper waste disposal.
Amenities and provisions for sanitation workers, and more transparent plans for action to overcome natural calamities must be provided. These past few months have seen a lot of damage and loss, in urban and rural areas, and in homes and workplaces. There is no need for awareness at this point – now is the time for action in our homes, communities, and in our governments.