Is the Earth healing itself? It may be true or it may not be true. But what is true, is that the natural world has taken this time— to begin to soothe some of its wounds, to heal itself. And we humans (some and not all!) have slowly begun to learn as well. For this time on 22nd April or what is popularly known as Earth Day, we realized that our planet can be celebrated without the fanfare that causes more harm than good. There were no piles of PET bottles, posters, and banners strewn everywhere. Although, driven due to COVID 19 pandemic and consequent lockdowns that prevented the usual activities, this year Earth Day was celebrated in its true spirit, reverentially and in an environmentally conscious manner— something that our planet truly demands and deserves. Millions across the globe digitally united for the common cause of our planet and celebrated Mother Earth.
In our everyday routine lives, what we usually tend to forget is that nature does not depend on us for its survival, but it’s the other way around. The human world depends entirely on the natural world for its survival.
During this time of crisis, uncertainty, and anxiety that has resulted due to the COVID 19 Pandemic, we have— intentionally or unintentionally, given the most precious gift to the natural world. Due to the lockdowns that have been imposed across the globe, our planet and the natural world has finally received a much-awaited break. For the first time in many years, we recorded.
● Air Quality: As a result of the lockdown, many cities have reported persistently improved Air Quality Indexes, better visibility, clear skies, etc. throughout the lockdown. For instance, the city of New Delhi which usually has an AQI index of above 200 and crosses the much dreaded ‘severe-plus emergency’ category of above 500 during peak pollution period, has reported an AQI 65 on average since lockdown. Many cities have also reported waking up to mountain ranges that were earlier not seen, due to poor air quality. For instance, Singhawara, Bihar woke up to see Mt Everest, which is at a distance of 232 km after many years. Elsewhere, the city of Jalandhar, Punjab witnessed the Dhauladhar ranges (Himalayas) after more than 30 years.
● Water Quality: With restrictions on certain activities, the water quality of rivers and oceans have improved. For instance, the Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board declared the river Ganges water fit for drinking, the first time in decades.
● Carbon Emissions: Since the lockdown, transport industries, coal industries, etc. have considerably reduced their activities. This has led to a sharp decrease in carbon and other Green House Gas Emissions. In China, emissions have reduced by 25%. Additionally, Approximately 10% of the total global oil consumption has been reduced.
Today, as the world grapples with the COVID 19 outbreak, we learned a number of lessons on a variety of issues, such as public health systems, labour laws, productivity, and efficiency. But we think and sincerely believe, the most important lesson that we learned was about preserving nature. Understanding that we cannot keep taking from it unilaterally, but that we must give back to it as well. Just like we cannot work under pressure for too long and reach a breaking point, the same thing applies to nature as well. We must take immediate actions to release the pressure that we have transferred to nature over centuries, in the hope to revive some of its lost glories. We must transform ourselves, become more environmentally conscious, and sensitize ourselves to the not-so-subtle hints that the natural world gives us to give it a break and take care!
Let our Green Krama preserve nature and consequent actions.
-By Team Green Watch