Activism in any form can make an impact. These environmentalists believe that saving the planet is what you can do along with a 9-5, but it is impertinent to do your bit. The IPCC report on climate change sent shock waves through the world with many getting the jitters to simply imagine the state of the world in the next couple of decades. Environment and global warming are no longer solely meant for the EVS books, but rather real-time issues that require prompt and speedy action to save a planet that is sitting on a time bomb. Just do your bit, say these environmentalists we spoke to.
What is climate change in a simple definition?
A 4,000-page report was released by the Intergovernment Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) to detail the impact of human activities on the Erath and how these were leading to the slow death of the planet. The report highlighted what Earth scientists and researchers and climate experts have been speaking of for years - Climate change is real!
While it would be advisable to go through the IPCC report and get an understanding of why we as a people stand on the brink of a precipice, the crux of the report can be explained by focusing on the issue at hand.
According to the Oxford dictionary, climate change is defined as “a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular, a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.” Simple to understand, tough to solve.
But, all is not lost, say environmentalists who have spent their time trying to decipher the solutions to this change and how we can halt if not reverse the situation. Hear what they have to say.
Why is the conservation of water crucial?
Pooja Tendulkar, Co-founder and Director, Lemnion Green Solutions Pvt. Ltd. has always had a fascination for the environment and ways in which she could contribute to its conservation. With a core interest in wastewater treatment using biological methods, she has been associated with WWF-India, Waste Warriors, Corbett chapter in Uttarakhand.
“Using plants and microbial cultures to treat wastewater has always fascinated me. My work majorly involves the use of specifically cultured aquatic and semi-aquatic plants along with specially designed microbial cultures to treat and upcycle wastewater. The plant biomass is reused as protein-rich animal feed and bio-fertilizers while the treated water is upcycled for irrigation, gardening, or flushing. This benefits the environment in several ways.”
“There might be a day where finding a clean glass of water for drinking or some fresh water in a bucket for bathing will be a pain.” - Pooja Tendulkar
The benefits of the treatment are:
- Improved quality of water
- Safe to discharge in water bodies like rivers, lakes, and ponds
- More than 50% of wastewater can be reused
- Minimal use of resources as there is a direct cut down on the usage of fresh water for various activities
- Improved ecological diversity
- Improved aesthetics and area beautification
- Better land-use planning
- Low-cost system
- Low maintenance system
- Added benefits under IGBC and GRIHA green certifications as residential space, commercial complex, village, etc.
Freshwater is a crucial resource, says Pooja. “Looking at the population rise and therefore utilization of the resources, we are on the verge of exhausting it.”
At Lemnion, the team provide solutions to wastewater problems, as well as spreads awareness about the dire need to conserve water. “I have a plan of treating water bodies in India by looking at a bigger picture and holistic perspective and work has already begun in various regions of Maharastra for the same,” says Pooja.
The interconnection between wastewater, mosquito breeding, foul odour, health issues, flash floods, river pollution, loss of biodiversity, and much more is difficult to be understood by a layperson. “Seeking expert advice for the same becomes pivotal. Thus, designing courses for schools, colleges, and other academic institutions on wastewater using the biological treatment and ecological restoration is important.”
This young entrepreneur says the positive change she wishes to bring is by making most of the water in the waterbodies usable and a better place for the aquatic flora and fauna. “It is definitely a long way to go. But, I am positive about it. One step at a time and we will reach there.”
What are the effects of plastic pollution?
In online packages ordered through eCommerce platforms, food deliveries, gifts, household items and so many other day-to-day activities, we contribute to the plastic load on the Earth. National Geographic released an article on how from the time we wake up, we contribute to the plastic mess on the planet. Yes. Unknowingly though, we do. The toothbrush we use is made of plastic and then tracing the entire day, the items we use and buy all have some element of the material in them thus worsening the situation.
One may complain that when it comes to biodiversity, one cannot physically do anything from the home to conserve it and it is up to Government bodies to follow a strategy. So also with the polar ice caps. But, when it comes to plastic waste, each one can consciously reduce their load so as to cause a chain reaction.
“I take small efforts toward environmental healing because I think that every single hand may play a significant role in saving the world, and we already have two.” - Niharika Sharma
Niharika Sharma does not have a platform to raise a voice. So, she continues to raise it alone. Coming from a lower-middle-class household, Niharika says when she began living a plastic-free lifestyle, it had a negative impact on her financial situation. People would tell her to stop this environmentalist attitude but she persevered. “After explaining, breaking down the harm caused to the planet, detailing what I wished to do and how it would help the Earth, they understand now.”
Working a 9-5 in the finance sector, she is an active supporter of GoingZero - a startup where one can get all of the plastic-free items as well as packaging. Founded to offer an eco-friendly option to those who want a zero-waste lifestyle, they are a group of environmentally aware youngsters from various parts of the country who promote the concept of reducing resource waste.“People say they want to but do not know how to contribute towards a good cause. I say, just do your bit. Spread the word. It is after all our moral duty to save the environment.”
Why is climate education more important than ever?
“We began with the goal to make issues of climate justice accessible and comprehensible to people,” says Sanchi Singh, founder of Amplify Media an intersectional climate education platform. “The platform is driven by the goal to reclaim sustainability from its trendy status as ancestral knowledge rooted in BIPOC communities of the Global South. Our hope is that by creating awareness and educating people we can empower them to be a part of the solution and not be overwhelmed by the problem.”
“Even the most successful person wouldn’t have made it to where they are without a community to support, nurture and help them get there.” - Sanchi Singh
The platform highlights the voices working for an environmentally just and equitable world in the Global South. Speaking of the challenges she faces, Sanchi says the most prominent one is eco-anxiety. “There are days I feel utterly exhausted and not motivated to continue with my activism. Other times I am just overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work required to create content of value whilst balancing a full-time degree and work.”
Some of the ways in which organisations can help people in this space are by investing in the platform. “Access to debt-free funds, mentorship, partnerships is very important to further this work and make sure that conversations are not occurring in silos. If we want change to happen we have to get uncomfortable to a degree.”