Greetings on World Earth Day 2014!
Many of you might have seen the movie #Gravity. In the final scenes, the heroine gasps and gasps and tries to breathe anxiously for some pints of oxygen, and finally when her parachute lands on Earth, she grabs the mud and feels thankful for finally being home to the mother Earth! I guess that’s the feeling that everyone of us should have for having the privilege in being here in this beautiful planet which supports us.
But, sadly, as with every sense of living, we have abandoned our gratitude in the search of individuality. My own home, my own TV, my own smartphone, my own space and my own everything. In the pursuit of this myness and iEverything, we have almost destroyed the planet. On one side, we keep building spaces for people to stay and industries to work, and on the other hand, we have destroyed green, which is the basis of our breath. How many minutes do you think you can live without breathing?
In the past 2 or 3 decades, while Earth’s population grew dramatically, we were trying to curb the symptoms of environmental destruction – like reducing the carbon levels and trying to plant more and more trees. All these are absolutely necessary, no question about it, but it’s just that we have crossed a threshold point where the no. of human beings in this planet have exceeded certain limit, and their demands for living are anyway going to have an impact on the environment.
I am not a lamentor, but you would be already aware of the fact that the projection of Earth’s population is 11 billion by 2100. We are seeing the ill-effects of over-population in many countries in Asia and Africa, where the population continues to be growing. Do you think Earth can handle 4 billion more?
So how many of these human beings are we going to tell – Conserve water, eat environmental friendly food, don’t kill animals, don’t do industry, live ecologically friendly, etc. First of all, it’s not scalable, and next, you can’t force such things as we have become a democratic world mostly living on individual choices.
While continuing to carry out the environmentally friendly actions that are necessary, we should also look at how to contain the population.
I will specifically talk about India – as I live here, and know the context. India is 70% rural and 30% urban. That 70% rural is mostly having livelihood issues, insufficient education, malnourishment, sanitation and health issues. They reproduce to get more family members so that they all can go do labour work and support the family. This is the reality. The only way to reach out to them and ask them not to have more and more babies to provide economic development opportunities along with economic reward for not having babies.
In the urban India, there are opportunities to adopt. India has a good network for adoption homes. People in urban areas have access to social networking and hence awareness can be created asking them to adopt instead of reproduce. The change is slowly happening, and people are making personal choices in their lives.
On top of these, the policy support from the Government is very much required, in terms of awareness creation, economic rewards, tax breaks, etc. It has been a long time since the Indian Government has done anything with regards to population awareness, and it need to start again.
India holds 17% of the world’s population in 2% of the world’s land. That’s tragic. Every human being need 0.5 hectare of space of living self-sufficiently as per global statistics. Based on these, the living in India looks like is not the way to live. Statistically, India does not need another baby for the next 20 years.
All these boil down to how we manage Earth and its resources while we strive for the livelihood and well-being of the existing and future generations. So, if we want to protect Earth, containing population holds a major chunk of action. It needs be done, so that we can all live well, and leave a wonderful Earth for the future generations to come.
Happy World Earth Day!