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From Awareness To Activism: Answering Mother Earth’s Cry

The theme for Earth Day 2024 is ‘Planet vs. Plastic,’ emphasising the commitment to environmental protection and restoring the planet’s balance

Earth is like a mother, caring for and giving life to countless species on the planet. Sadly, mankind has forgotten to appreciate all it provides and has begun to exploit it for human gain, both logical and illogical. As the years passed, the consequences of human actions became increasingly clear. Earth Day is celebrated annually on 22 April. Since the inaugural Earth Day in 1970, the global temperature has risen by 2.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roots Of Change: 

It was a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, in 1969 that jolted the world into action. The event served as a catalyst, igniting a flame of environmental consciousness within Gaylord Nelson, a visionary US governor and senator. Driven by a profound commitment to safeguarding the planet, he embarked on an extraordinary journey, inspiring over 2 million Americans to take to the streets in a huge protest against the destructive impact of unchecked industrial development. 

 A Green Awakening  

What began as a localised movement soon transcended borders, capturing the hearts and minds of environmentalists worldwide. This collective voice gained momentum, ultimately leading to the designation of Earth Day as an international observance in 2009, known as International Mother Earth Day. 

The success of Earth Day paved the way for the historic Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, igniting a wave of landmark environmental legislation across nations. Biodiversity acts, conservation initiatives, the establishment of earth environment protection agencies and clean air and water programmes became beacons of hope in the fight against environmental degradation. However, the challenge remains daunting as reckless industrial progress continues to reshape the earth in a degrading manner. 

Role Of Education: 

Education plays a vital role in building a sustainable future for our planet. By teaching people about environmental issues, conservation practices, and the importance of living in harmony with nature, education empowers individuals to make informed choices and take responsible actions. Education equips us with the knowledge and skills needed to create a greener, healthier world for current and future generations. 

Anirban Ghosh, Head of the Centre for Sustainability at Mahindra University, underscored the gravity of today’s environmental challenges. These include climate change, marked by extreme weather events and rising sea levels, as well as pollution affecting air, water, and soil. Additionally, the looming threat of water scarcity demands immediate global attention. 

Ghosh emphasised the urgency of tackling these challenges by raising environmental awareness and fostering a sense of responsibility among individuals. This can be accomplished through the creation of strong infrastructure, accessible technologies and economically feasible alternatives. By combining awareness with practical solutions, we can pave the way for a greener, more sustainable future for generations to come. 

Corporate Leadership In Sustainability: 

Corporations play a crucial role in ensuring the sustainability of our planet. As major drivers of economic activity, they possess significant influence over environmental practices and resource consumption. They have the resources and innovation capabilities to develop and implement green technologies, leading the way towards a more sustainable future. 

Manav Subodh, founder of 1M1B (One Million for One Billion), calls for action this Earth Day, focusing on the crucial theme of “Planet vs. Plastics.” He urges us to commit to ‘de-plastify’ our planet, emphasising the necessity of nurturing a green innovation ecosystem. He emphasised the importance of integrating green skills and artificial intelligence into these efforts to accelerate progress and increase impact. He underscored the need to engage young leaders, mobilise investments, and drive policy reforms to reshape our planet’s future for generations to come. 

Savio D’Souza, Director of Product Communications at OPPO India, talked about the introduction of the Battery Health Engine (BHE), which addresses battery degradation in smartphones. With BHE, smartphones maintain up to 80 per cent battery capacity after 1,600 charge cycles—twice the industry standard. This innovation can maintain up to 80 per cent of the original battery capacity after 1600 charge cycles and aims to reduce electronic waste and lower the carbon footprint by extending product lifespans. 

Rajesh Gupta, Founder and Director of Recyclekaro, emphasised India’s reliance on foreign sources for lithium, essential for batteries. With EV demand rising, India needs to focus on recycling batteries domestically to avoid exporting raw materials and importing them back. This is crucial due to the limited access to raw lithium minerals in India.

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