Friday, April 22, 2011


 (Thirsty honey bees drinking water on a hot summer day in Rajasthan, India)

Yes, its that day of the year again, the twenty second day of April, celebrated the world over as "Earth Day" since 1970. On this day, we remind ourselves that the very entity on which we humans have been standing since times immemorial, is not a lifeless gigantic piece of rock. Its that Earth, of motherly nature, to whom we attribute all our progress, be it in the fields of science and technology, arts, commerce, industries and what not. Still, this day remains an ordinary day for most people, just one not so extraordinary day in 365 not so extraordinary days.

If you have looked carefully enough on the opening photograph, you know what the Earth day really means. The bees on a warm summer day, when the temperature had soared to nearly 49 degree Centigrade here on the burning desert soil of Rajasthan, had gathered hopefully around a leaking water tap to quench their thirst. Every once in a while, a pearl dripped down on the ground and the bees danced with joy. Can you not compare this with the joy you feel after drinking a glass of fresh, cold water after a tiring day?
Our resources are rapidly diminishing, the precious water is close to its "extinction", our wildlife is being poached and the oxygen giving trees being ruthlessly cut.
But it is not that we can't do anything about the situation. Small steps, little considerations like the ones below can make a huge difference:

1. Do not leave the tap open while brushing....and what does it really take? Just close the tap when not using, you can always open it again anyway!

2. Wash your car not with running water from a hose, but use buckets and a mug to save water.

3. Use refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, etc on "Eco" or water saving mode. It does not compromise quality and yet helps save a lot of water on unimportant operations.

4. Look around for leaking taps or taps that have been carelessly left open. If you see leaking taps in your institute, office, canteen, washroom, etc, inform the authorities. 

5. While buying electrical appliances, always check for the energy label, which categories devices based on the energy they consume. For example, here in India a 5 star rating system is used. Look for "BEE STAR LABEL" (Bureau of Energy Efficiency, India) and the number of stars. The more the stars, greater the energy saved and lesser the pollution caused in electricity production.

6. Use CFLs instead of normal incandescent (tungsten based) bulbs. They greatly reduce global Carbon Dioxide emission levels.

7. When you visit National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries, do not litter the places, nor disturb the animals. Never play loud music in the vehicle while on a safari or in your forest rest house. Remember, the forest is their home, not ours.

8. Discourage the use of plastic bags. Use paper and cardboard based bags instead. they are sturdy and rigid, and also biodegradable. If you really have to use a polythene/plastic bag, use one made of thicker plastic (greater pore diameters) and do not throw it away after use. 

9. Finally, Say no to Crackers. Crackers are certainly not a great way to celebrate at the expense of the environment. Celebrate instead by having a family and friends get-together.

I am sure there are a number of other easy steps we can all undertake to make a change. So why not leave your comments here about your own suggestions and tips?

Remember, each individual step you take, however small, counts......

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