Today, we observe the 50th anniversary of ‘Earth Day Celebration’ in a subdued mood due to the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic. The world is sick; millions of people are under quarantine, and billions more are confined to their dwellings. So instead of going outdoors to plant trees, we are left to do what we can for Mother Earth from our homes.
Over the past century, unconstrained desires have driven humans to exploit Earth to extreme measures. The planet’s bounties have become its scarcities. And that includes very basic elements that support life such as clean air and water. Our immodest lifestyles and sometimes immoral greed have ravaged the natural environment and pushed many plant and animal species to extinction.
Ironically, due to the global Covid-19 epidemic, factories, travels and businesses are forced to shut down. These few weeks, the planet is quieter without the humming of machineries, vehicles, and airplanes flying overhead. We can see clear azure skies again in Kuala Lumpur, Delhi and Istanbul. People in northern Indian cities can once again see the Himalayan range from 160 kilometres away – a majestic sight hidden from their view for decades. All of us, all beings, can breathe fresher air without heavy pollution. What a refreshing change!
After this pandemic, let us not go back to the mistaken ways of unbridled consumption and planet abuse. We should live in simplicity, modesty and moderation to check our cravings and self-indulgences. Do not pollute nature with heedless rubbish-creation. Do not misuse clean water. Eat just enough food to remain healthy. Do not shop excessively for anything. Be more contented and frugal. Use only what you need to survive – and do so carefully and consciously. Waste nothing.
For humans, Earth is our only home. There is no other place to move into. Thus taking positive climate action is our individual and collective responsibility. Let us act in concerted ways to protect the environment and ensure that it is habitable for future generations, and for all other earthlings, too.