Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009 - What WE can do


Blog Action Day 09
is finally here. If you don't know about it yet, I really think you should check out their website. It's a fantastic event that is clearly organized by fantastic people- and I think they all deserve a big thumbs up, a massive round of applause, and whatever else you can give them. But what they really want is a world-wide conversation, one that brings about change better than superman, and one that finally makes our planet a better place to live in.

How amazingly selfless is that? These guys want us to do something that will hopefully create awareness and ultimately benefit us all. Although I have no clue what I should write about, I'm definitely going to give it a shot- for it's the LEAST I can do, don't you think?

I've been trying to read up on a lot of things for this post, and the only conclusion is that there's WAY too much about the environment that I don't know yet. There's SO much that will be affected by it, and I'm learning a lot. But I'm going to leave the advice and the well-crafted posts to the experts, because they truly know their stuff. But here's my take on things people like YOU and ME can do. We don't know all that much about what works, what doesn't, and we don't have the resources or the finances to truly bring about world-wide change. But we can do our part, and hopefully, influence others to do theirs, too.

Over the years, I've come to understand that there are millions and millions of people on this planet, and that's a force to reckon with. I mean, come on, peeps! We can fix space stations and make amazing discoveries and build supercomputers, but we can't do enough house-keeping for this planet we've been given?! It's time to pull up or socks, grow up and behave like we actually HAVE the brains we're famed for, don't you think?

There are some basic, simple things we can all do to make things better for the people who are actually trying to make GREAT things happen. These things don't involve money or resources or even too much time. They're all common sense, and most of them come under good old decent behaviour. Here's what WE can do, starting RIGHT NOW:

1) NOT LITTER.
And, not argue about it.
I've spent hours arguing with people about how it doesn't really create jobs, how some street corners and gutters are meant for garbage, and how there aren't dustbins everywhere. I think people should save their breath and just not litter, instead. It's just plain decency. Here's what some people think- "I don't own the street corner or the gutter, so why can't I throw it there?". Public ownership should matter to you just as much as private ownership. People don't litter in their own houses, do they? Eventually, they clean it up. Save yourself that time, and look for a dustbin next time. Until then, roll it up neatly and keep it with you till you can throw it. It won't kill you, places will look cleaner, smell bettter and fewer germs will breed. This goes DOUBLE for many Indians- you litter, and then talk about how amazing singapore looks. Hypocrisy isn't smart.
And there are a million things to be done- if there is no litter, people who clean it up can be utilised for more important civic work.

2) TURN OFF APPLIANCES AND SWITCHES and TAPS that YOU DON'T USE.
This is simple enough. Use power save. Does it bother you when other people clog up your LAN? Well, think of using power you don't need as clogging up the earth's limited internet. It's plain decency to switch off things- and it takes no time. Close taps you don't use.

3) FANCY SHMANCY, simple is good.
I love fancy workplaces and malls as much as the next guy, but do you really need a conveyor belt for used plates in a food court? If you're a manager with the power to affect these decisions, you should think about this. Why use the elevator or the escalator for one single floor? You have legs so you can move them. Do you really need a flat escalator when you can walk?

4) TRAVEL IN PACKS
Carpool, PLEASE! I've seen enoug roads clogged up with hundreds of cars all going to the same Tech park, each loaded up with one driver ONLY. It wouldn't hurt to carpool, it'd save you money, it'd save the environment, you wouldn't have to drive in traffic and everything would get better. While we're on this, road rage does NOTHING besides popping your veins out. Check out this amazingly simple initiative to see what I mean- Smiling Drivers. (Thank you, Shob, for that.)

5) DON'T IGNORE FREE LIGHTING
I've seen SO many offices that block out all natural light and air for complete air-conditioning and artificial lighting, throughout the day. Why? Architects, designers, managers and CEOs should sit up and take notice. It's really lame to have to use so much lighting when there's SO much of it available, for free! Even in the tropics, even in India, people want to run away from natural light and air. A little air-conditioning is necessary, but it doesn't have to be all that cold. Attempt to use natural things as much as possible. I really don't get why companies would spend a fortune on electricity when they can just get away with using natural light for most of the day for FREE. You don't need ANY finance degree to get that point. People have LOST THEIR MINDS while they've gained degrees, truly.

6) SPREAD THE WORD.
It isn't uncool to care about the environment or talk about it or discuss it when you're with your friends. It isn't uncool to spend your weekends being involved in projects like a sapling plantation drive- some of the coolest people I know are involved in stuff like this. A lot of teenagers think that doing this sort of stuff is uncool- and it's time to change that perception. Going green should be looked at in a whole new light. You should do whatever little you can to spread awareness- whether it's writing about it, singing about it, doing a play about it, drawing about it, talking about it, or being an example to others. Awareness is what's going to get us anywhere. And people should stop being cynical, in my opinion. You don't have to worry about which gas is categorized as a pollutant of not- it isn't in your hands, anyway. Sure, voice your opinion. But don't stop using your common sense to use this planet in a way that DOESN'T imply that it's a big round ball of trash.

So, there you go. If you've read till here, I'm glad and honoured that you gave up on doing something *far more precious*, I'm sure, than reading my views on how we can help do something as drastic as treat our giant home with respect. And no, I'm not trying to be captain planet or the planeteers. I just think that humans have it in them to be decent to their surroundings, and that such behaviour needs to be encouraged, applauded and expected in order for it to become commonplace. Fines are one thing- but if everyone n a street sticks up their nose at someone who litters, I can guarantee that it won't continue for long.

Here's to Blog Action Day, and more importantly, here's to the human race- and our ultimate test- Can we undo all the damage we've done for years? Can we get to the very bottom of that grimy stain and wipe it out? At the very least, can we stop that stain from getting bigger? We have to try, in our own small way. We're not just skulls with separate lives, we're people who jointly live in this one huge place. Here's to the hope that we all start acting like that's true.

1 comment:

pranavb said...

Very nice piece. Here's to Blog Action Day :)

 
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