29-Apr-2019: Pavitra Sriprakash, Director and Chief Designer at Shilpa Architects Planners Designers writes a weekly column on Sustainability for The New Indian Express titled “ECOLOGIC”. This week she writes about making an Earth Day pledge to look after all animal species.
Full article below: (Also available at The New Indian Express Website)
This year, let’s promise to look after all the animal species
Earth day was celebrated around the globe on April 22. People marched, ran marathons and cycled, planted trees, cleaned up their cities, beaches and waterways, politicians announced policies, and corporations pledged to work toward sustainability — all in honor of our home and planet.
According to the Earth Day Network — the organisation that leads Earth Day observances worldwide has declared the year to ‘protect our species.’ Last year was the year to ‘end plastic pollution’ and we saw many policies implemented in order to reduce our dependency on plastics. Right from plastic bans to awareness regarding litter and single use plastics, there has been a lot of noise regarding this environmental issue.
A recent survey was completed by the Pew Research Center, a non-partisan fact tank based in the US, to understand the perceived threat level of Global climate change by countries across the world. The report found that climate change was the top concern in over 50% of the total 26 it surveyed — making climate change a definite world — wide priority (India and China are not featured on the list of countries surveyed as per this report).
The attempt this year is to focus on the extinction of species from the planet. Nature has gifted us with millions of species around us that we co-exist with daily. While we recognise and love many of these, there are still new species constantly being discovered; whilst others that we love keep slipping onto the endangered lists. It is unfortunate that humans may be responsible for upsetting the balance irrevocably. The world is facing the greatest rate of extinction today since the age of the dinosaurs — nearly 60 million years ago. But unlike the case of the dinosaurs, extinction today is a result of human activity.
“The global destruction of plant and wildlife populations can be directly linked to causes driven by human activity: climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution and pesticides”— according to the Earth Day Network. “We need to act to save further extinction of species and move towards preserving them. All living things have an intrinsic value, and each plays a unique role in the complex web of life. We must work together to protect endangered and threatened species: bees, coral reefs, elephants, giraffes, insects, whales and more.”
In a bid to protect our species Earth Day Network is encouraging people to join the campaign to “Protect our Species”. Toolkits and easy to adopt best practices along with website links can be found on their website www.earthday.org for education and easy to implement steps for our communities, schools and citizens to learn from. Through education and awareness, it is possible to spread the word about the accelerating rate of the extinction of millions of species — their causes and consequences. The awareness then helps build and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values.
At an individual level it is possible to action changes such as adopting plant based diets and stopping pesticide and herbicide use. Let’s 2019 be the year to protect our species — be involved, make a difference!