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World Environment Day: Corporate world and common man

June 5, 2009

Well today is world environment day (hard to forget thanks to multi-national companies and other top of the order people going green and stuff like that). Of course, it dawned upon me a bit late.

In the morning, I saw the very same ad I have been seeing for a long time: the IBM ad about people working at IBM in order to save Planet Earth. But nothing significant struck me since I see this ad everyday.

I went to my old school; in order to pay my sister’s fees. On my way, I noticed a board, with the colony map, which said “Clean green colony” (The colony was built as a part of the KSHB, the official Kerala govt. housing board). I thought “Yeah right. I just saw things being burnt just a few metres before; that too by the waste collection dept. which works under the aegis of the Kerala govt.” But even then it didn’t strike me.

When I reached school, I noticed a very long queue. So I decided a walk along memory lane was called for. I went to meet my teachers (there’s only one and he was busy in a class; all other’s have left: that news shocked me) and also decided to roam around the campus (though not much; the new principal (who doesn’t know me) might have apprehended me; who knows). And I come across the various posters put up in the school as a part of the world environment day and that was when I dawned upon me that today was the world environment day.

I noticed that the queue was thinning; so decided to glance at the posters. As I was doing so, I noticed a pair of small kids (probably fifth grade) reading the poster too. I heard one say (in Malayalam; translated to English) “Look the poster says “Go green”. I am from now onwards going to buy only green things”. At first, I thought that it was a good sign: kids these days are developing a good thinking; until the next statement from the same girl shocked me “Yeah I am going to buy only green things: green rubber bands, green clips, green bangles etc.”

This made me stare at them quite intently and that’s when I understood that they had not understood the meaning of “Go green” conveyed by the poster. Then a thought struck me, “I agree that all the major economic figures and countries all across the world are pledging themselves to saving the Earth by cutting down on the power consumed in their offices and take initiatives in the direction of afforestation, environment friendly offices and buildings and organic alternatives in order to save the Earth. But how much of this do common people like these understand??”(I agree that the children were too small to understand; but that defeats the purpose of the poster if it is intended only for the higher grades in a place like school).

I agree as engineers, doctors, management people etc, we will have to deal with people with a level of thinking similar to ours – mostly corporate world clients, co-workers and media. But is that our true aim: create a corporate gimmick that you are doing something great?? Or is it about doing something actually good that is not aimed at profits??

So I am not going to run a big lecture on the various ways in which the Earth is being affected and ways to prevent them, with technical terms and calculations to prove them. Just a few things on how you can help save Planet Earth:

  1. Don’t use devices such as lights, fans, computers, heaters unnecessarily: you are just increasing your electricity bills.
  2. Replace all lighting equipments with CFL’s. They save electricity and your bills too.
  3. Try not to burn things especially wood and other such materials: you are poisoning what you breathe.
  4. Don’t throw waste plastic and other such things on the ground: they poison the Earth, in turn poison water and ultimately you have poison falling with rain.

Don’t take any big pledges or anything: if you can keep them up fine. Else take small promises that can help Earth and try to keep them.

Planet Earth needs you. Are you going to help Planet Earth??

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