Individual Actions are Good– But They Shouldn’t Be the End All
It’s everyone’s problem- but who is taking responsibility? We are talking about climate change. While there are loads of surveys focusing on human populations being affected, what about the countless at-risk flora and fauna on land and in the oceans? More importantly, what are we, being the citizens of this changing world, doing about it? These are burning questions that need to be answered – and coupled with well-intended actions.
Humans impacting climate
In IQAir’s 2018 country-wise air quality report, only 7 of the 73 listed had ‘good’ air quality, and only 11 conformed to the WHO target. With a population of over 1 billion, India ranked 3rd with ‘unhealthy’ air quality. With a population hovering around 300,000, Iceland ranked last with a single-digit average that conformed to the acceptable standards. All these go to prove that human populations and the extent of our polluting capability are directly related. That also means that we can minimize and keep the impacts of climate change in check.
A grain of action
The basic textbook formula of 3R’s for the environment -reduce, reuse and recycle- still holds, which also means offsetting excessive usage of fossil fuels, opting for renewable energy sources, and encouraging re-processed materials. Sadly, this remains an idealistic goal for many of us. Yet, there are individuals we come across every once a while who function in alignment with this. People who make us pause and rethink.
With simple practices, they believe in doing their bit; however insignificant it may seem on the surface. It could be carpooling for that long commute to work, although it needs an extra 15 minutes for coordination, avoiding one-use plastics at the grocery store by carrying a reusable bag, or by buying fresh local produce. Long-time environmental activist David Suzuki’s words ring home – “In a world of more than seven billion people, each of us is a drop in the bucket. But with enough drops, we can fill any bucket.”
The greater good
While transparency and effective resource utilization is a major concern that stops companies in their tracks, there is a lot that individuals can and are doing to resolve climate change issues.
About 24% of Canada’s climate polluting emissions are owing to transportation. Individuals can reduce this through car sharing, opting for public transport, riding a bike, or switching to electric or hybrid vehicles and even by flying less often.
India has lost about 40% of its green cover in the past 140 years. To reduce rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, individuals could plant saplings and ensure that they grow well.
Growing our own food when possible or opting for locally sourced products reduces the transport required. Is that being not a possibility, individuals can still switch to upcycled products, compost kitchen waste, and repurpose old/unused items lying at home. It probably needs a bit of creativity but can be done.
At a tender age, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has garnered international attention. She not only influenced her family to switch to lifestyle choices that reduce carbon footprint but is now actively leading campaigns for climate-friendly choices. Public figures have long utilized their followers and reach – be it to promote products, sign petitions, or take up a worthy cause. These are individuals who have taken the responsibility of reaching out and doing their bit for a better tomorrow.
UNICEF’s Youth for Climate Action personifies the need for preserving the planet by ‘raising youth voices’ and ‘increasing youth participation.’ They are committed to the cause by providing a platform for the young to participate meaningfully. Starting from individual everyday actions, these are but a few examples of how we can change – starting from home, immediate communities, and then, the world at large.
Nurturing our environment –an investment
Be it by building environmental awareness among communities, by reforestation, climate change mitigation drives – next, the onus of ‘protecting’ is taken on largely by not-for-profit groups and organizations. Implementing bans, improving public transport options, or creating plastic-free zones – while governments continue to make provisions for preserving and sustaining the environment at various levels, there is still much work that remains to be done.
Not counting famines, landslides, and forest fires, we have witnessed over 40 of the deadliest cyclones, hurricanes, earthquakes, and typhoons, costing not just scores of lives but incurring huge loss to economies in the past 40 years.
With self-regulation for organizations being a core requirement, corporates now can take a proactive role in not just disaster recovery but also in building resilience against environmental change. In a Forbes article, Susan Pherson says, “…no company will be immune from the consequences of climate change. To protect their businesses, supply chains, and communities, companies must invest in innovative technology, redefine business models, and support policies that can address critical climate-related challenges”. She foresees that in the coming years, companies will direct more of their resources towards mitigating and prevention rather than just pitching in when there is a need for recovery from natural disasters.
With CSR being a must for private organizations, the environment asks for a much-deserved share. So, why not start by giving back, by investing effort and resources in alleviating climate change effects– even if incrementally so.
Paying it forward
While we humans figure out how to farm organically, cut down on fossil fuel usage, manage waste disposal, adopt earth-friendly alternative energy sources, global reforestation, and more to fight the changing climate, why not continue doing what we know surely works?
It is something we have long known; something that can be done no matter where you are, something that can be done with a willing heart; something as simple as planting trees. This is the one socially responsible practice that can be added to sustainable development goals regardless of your industry or organization size. EcoMatcher makes it simple to implement with just a few clicks from anywhere and at any time. Tree planting ensures that nature’s best carbon sinks continue to thrive.
Partnering with EcoMatcher
EcoMatcher has singled out afforestation as a means of fighting climate change by offering tree plantation options across the globe- from Guatemala to the Philippines. Individuals or large corporations, regardless of their ability and extent of your participation, will be handed the benefits of transparency – planting and tracking each one of the saplings you adopt by leveraging technology for each of your noble gesture. There is only one earth. Let’s fight climate change together- one tree at a time.