— Des Marie
The winsome childhood memories of coming home from school, running towards the door and impatiently ringing the doorbell unceasingly, till it was opened (or at least until my fingers got tired!) because in the next five minutes I had to save the world! The power would be mine and I would be on a life changing journey−to rid the world of pollution and save the planet from the scum of the earth! That would be, but only after the much awaited Captain Planet, who would empower me with superpowers or should I say super words, “The planet is yours”.
The plot is far from convoluted. Man-made villains like Pollution are set to rid the Earth of all its beauty, vanquishing forever the natural resources. The dark hues cover the green earth, resembling doom. And just as everything seemed bleak, five chosen people are each endowed with golden rings−earth, wind, fire, water and heart, to bring alive Earth’s only saving grace−Captain Planet. With the power combined (earth, wind, fire, water and heart), he evolves from the depths of the earth, out of the whirlwind; floating in the sky.
The resplendent hero stands amidst all the dust and dirt to clean the environment; taking “pollution down to zero”. He breaths in, and from the deepest recesses of his body, he blows life into the Earth. And like all superheroes, he is triumphant despite the odds, but that is not the end. Gaia, the Earth spirit, calls on the planeteers (the five chosen people) to impart practical, everyday activities that can help save the environment. This fictional superhero fought real-life problems that are today at the crux of climate change and global warming. Each episode rammed home the essence and the need to treat the environment like your home, but it also instilled a feeling that there would always be someone to clean up after us.
Every day on my way back from work, I encounter seemingly educated and erudite people, who without any qualms, squeeze a piece of paper or plastic within their palms, making sure the material is small enough to be thrown with a flick of their fingers. In India, there are always just enough people to do just about everything−the postmen to bring the post, maids to clean houses and kachrawali to take out the trash. If we were to do things by ourselves, everyone would be made redundant. The logic−we’re helping boost the economy by creating jobs. Yes, we are, but what we are also so thoughtfully doing is putting India back on the development map! Everyone knows us to be the most overly populated and unhygienic country in the world. Now that’s something, right? The problem however is, unlike Captain Planet, our meagrely paid kachrawalis are not super human. While they do their bit to clear our mess, they can’t do everything. So what is the solution? Practice being a superhero and a captain of your planet. Let us inspire to live and live to inspire, creating planeteers around us because after all, the planet is ours!