This is our fifth and final article, in this series on Values. It deals with Environmental Values.
The single biggest, most urgent problem facing humanity is the Climate crisis. It is an existential threat to the very survival of humans, wildlife and biodiversity. All of us are seeing on TV, social media, newspapers, magazines, etc increasingly frightening data and warnings. It is the collective, global human responsibility to save our planet. However, in our own enlightened self-interest, we should do everything in our power to protect India. Of course, we should pursue all legitimate financial, technological and other help from the rich countries, who have been polluting for centuries.
In order to mitigate past damage to our climate; build resilience for unpreventable disasters; conduct rescue and relief operations, etc. the following Environmental Values are essential.
- Climate Responsible Citizenship — Every Indian citizen, including each and every one of us, should be a responsible citizen. This has many dimensions — to vote; pay taxes; follow laws and rules, etc. In particular, in this context, it should include a deep sense of responsibility for our climate. You may have heard of two terms — Climate Hero and Climate Criminal. Let us be Heroes; and not Criminals! It is our pancha bhoota runam, debt to the five elements of Nature — akash, dharti; vayu; agni; and jalam — ether; soil; air; fire and water. Such a value can be demonstrated, continuously by the following kinds of actions — Reduce own consumption to the essentials. Eliminate waste. Dispose of the minimum unavoidable waste safely. Implement good slogans like “Reduce-Reuse-Recycle”.
- Climate Ethical Stakeholder — We are all stakeholders in different types of organisations — governmental; ngo; cooperative; business; RWA (Residents’ Welfare Association) etc. You may be an employee; official; manager; consumer; supplier; dealer; investor etc. In all such roles, be an ethical stakeholder, including, practising climate ethics; and helping others to follow the same. A very basic value is not to throw your waste in front of your neighbour’s house; or the next street; the neighbouring colony; the nearest lake or dumpyard etc! Buy only products with climate friendly ingredients; packaging; and transportation. Switch to a climate-friendly residential building with solar energy; rain water harvesting; waste water purification etc.
- Green Organisations — Suggest to your employer to move towards a “green” organisation. Keep reducing the scope for pollution in materials; processes; and logistics. Keep learning about the latest examples, methods, equipment; technology etc., and give your suggestions to your seniors. Implement all approved schemes, with your own team. Focus your jigyasa, curiosity to learn towards environmental solutions. We are no longer in a “business as usual” situation. We are already in the middle of a crisis. Help your organisation to transform fast.
- Green Economy — As you rise to senior levels in your organisation, in any type of organisation, help it to make its best contribution to making India a “Green” Economy. We need to become an economy moving in the direction of “Net Zero” carbon. Our government, as part of its international obligations, has declared its goal of Net Zero carbon by 2070. This can not be achieved by the government and agencies alone. It requires the involvement of businesses, citizens and others. China has taken an earlier target date, 2060. The US and EU are aiming to do so by 2050. Even these shared targets may not be enough to keep global warming from rising by another 2 degrees C.
- Climate Parivartak — Each of us has to be a parivartak, change agent. Climate parivartan is a vital goal, for all nations. It is even more so for us, in Bharat, with our particular geography. The Himalayan glaciers are melting. Sea levels are rising, along our very long coastline, from Porbandar in Gujarat, to Digha in West Bengal. Substantial populations are being displaced. We have a new category of refugees, namely “Climate Refugees”. We must hurry to prevent more such suffering. As a change agent, you will have to manage three different groups of people in your reach. First, there will be a relatively few, who will share your environmental values, and be for change. Make them your allies. Exchange and implement mutual learning. Second, there will be a few more, who will resist some or more of the proposed actions. Don’t condemn them. Listen to their points and suggestions. Take the good ones. Win them over. Make it a joint “Vatavarana Parivartan Abhiyan”. Third will be a huge mass of people, the tamasic, and not involved even in this grave issue. They are your biggest challenge. Communicate, motivate and energise them.
Like dharma, let us protect our Bhu Mata. माता भमू म प
mother; I am her child.”
ो अहं पथृ िव्या: – “Earth is my