World Environment Day 2016

The half-full glass of World Environment Day

It’s easy to have ulcers and nightmares about Climate Change and days like June 5th (World Environment Day) give it a ceremonious excuse too. But what if we looked at it the other way? Are good things happening around serving as indicators of wisps of good change for the environment? Be the jury. Look at these signs.

1. Energy security promises and extraction of tar sands expansion aside, the Keystone pipeline debate reached aWorld Environment Day 2016 crescendo from an environmental activism perspective. A rail for transporting tar sands was derailed successfully with a crusade that marked a success story for environmentally-aware groups. The campaign was all the more
noteworthy in the way it made a logical dent on the arguments of better competition with Middle East oil producers or enlarging employment opportunities or lowering gas prices, as well as fuelled the protest on areas of public health and water. Yes, a new face of activism can make President Obama reject the fourth phase of the pipeline, known as Keystone XL.

2. People are indeed lining up for pre-orders of an electric car. Model 3 from Tesla is hitting the 400,000 mark. But what’s more encouraging is the Domino effect it is causing in the industry with Nissan, Chevy taking a leaf out of Tesla’s roadmaps.

World Environment Day 20163. A report of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Global Tiger Forum (GTF) hints that the world’s wild tiger population will double in the next decade. Now the basis and approach of such calculations are already being questioned by some scientists but there is at least some reassuring sign of recovery and good glimpses of tiger habitats with conservation efforts paying off in small ways. Recent press conventions on the subject saw PM Modi applauding success of “Project Tiger” that started in 1973 for having the coverage rise considerably from the initial 9 tiger reserves to 49 and increasing the numbers significantly from a mere 1706 back in 2010.

4. The Paris Climate Change accord was finally signed by 196 parties after six years of dissent. Even if it’s on paper, there is clear and unambiguous intent to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

5. People are taking up organic food, riding bicycles, using public transport, wearing helmets and shopping for World Environment Day 2016environmentally-friendly stuff as a cool part of their lifestyles.

6. New and big bets are being made on seemingly bizarre ideas like solar-powered planes, green-technology transport, and alternative fuels.

7. Smart cities and new infrastructures are fundamentally absorbing and building up on the blueprint of climate-friendly designs and outcomes.

8. But a more impressive sign is that of the Uncle in our neighbourhood who now does not hesitate in splitting dry garbage from wet ones before dumping into the garbage-collector’s bin (which by the way, is now also partitioned). What’s more, he even picks up the chocolate wrappers left by kids on his parking side.

9. And the shopkeeper who squeezes out an extra ten-minutes in the morning to fill and leave water pitchers free and available for thirsty strangers on the street.

Not all is so gloomy and hopeless around us after all. There’s a lot of green grass, if we see closely and with new lenses.

Keep looking, keep adding.

Pratima H


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