Almost all environmental problems – be it water and air pollution, global warming, deforestation and loss of biodiversity – are created by human conduct on this Earth. While our individual actions are the root cause of all unsustainable things, the focus and responsibility for bringing about change towards a sustainable way of life and building a sustainable world falls increasingly on governments and citizens. companies, rather than also falling on our very basic human behaviors of over-consuming everything. that mother nature offers us. After more than a decade of working with sustainability-focused, non-sustainability-focused brands, I have come to believe that sustainability is not just a government’s responsibility, a decision-maker’s regulation. , the business ethics of a company or even the responsibility of an investor. criteria for selecting companies concerned with ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) or SGD (Sustainable Development Goals) in which to invest.
Sustainability is a “message” that must reach everyone in the most remote parts of the country and the planet. Even when conversations about sustainability are often limited to the corporate community and policy makers with business interests and tech jargons, they still need to be communicated in the simplest language in the most accessible and concrete way possible. so that the general public can understand the meaning of this “message” and take action to build a more sustainable world.
When everyone understands and appreciates the message and idea of sustainability in the simplest and most concrete sense, it can influence an individual’s behavior, whether acting alone or as a member of a community. . This singular focus on one individual at a time or one action at a time may seem like a long journey towards a more sustainable future, but let us not forget that only individual changes at the local level have led to greater policy changes all over the world. the world. So, the question is how to make the message of sustainability more common and more understandable to the comprehension of an ordinary man? How do you make sustainability a social fault rather than a corporate fault?
How to make sustainability a common standard?
For starters, small changes can add up. We have seen that the cumulative effect of our individual actions can be disastrous for the ecosystem and the climate. It was our individual actions that paved the way for global warming and got us to the point where everything seems unsustainable, and it started centuries ago, and even more so in recent decades. Again, our individual actions may be our only hope to move us out of the current state of “all things unsustainable” into a truly greener and more sustainable future. To make a point, I would like to refer to the case of the extremely dangerous air pollution situation in Delhi. Do we really think that by removing industries from Delhi, limiting trucks from city limits and promoting battery-powered cars could solve the pollution, unless government and citizens take an active role in dealing with it? to the crisis in a 360-degree approach, such as the introduction of automotive regulations, the implementation of building regulations, environmental rejuvenation initiatives and, most importantly, the awakening of our conscience to not pollute unless we literally have to? Likewise, we also know that our actions have the potential to heal nature, as evidenced by the fact that the people of Delhi and Chandigarh were able to see the Himalayan mountain range from the roofs of their homes during the closures. from last year. Of course, we don’t want this shutdown to happen again, but if we slow down a bit and stop extracting nature too much, it can at least heal itself and rejuvenate itself.
Can we amplify the story of significance like the story of Padma Shri Tulsi Gowda?
Do we remember the late Kenyan Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who saw that deforestation could only be reversed if the villagers in her country became tree planters themselves, and so on. started the green belt movement? Most recently, Tulsi Gowda from Karnataka, a member of the Halakki Vokkalu tribal clan, received the Padma Shri Award for decades of hard work protecting the forest canopy by planting native plants even after retiring from his forest service job.
I think we could have done a lot more with the Tulsi Gowda story. We could have used its story to educate the rest of the country on how local efforts can lead to the restoration of the local environment, which, when replicated on a global scale, can effectively heal the entire planet. We had to go there and tell its story as a society and as the country most vulnerable to rising temperatures and climate change, so that could serve as a common reminder and message for everyone to work on. sustainability as a common goal.
Can we make sustainability a mass campaign like the Covid-19 Vaccination and Population Control Program?
Governments and their programs, in my opinion, cannot be successful on their own. They only prosper when citizens and communities resist them. Therefore, we can only achieve the country’s net zero emissions goals if we teach everyone how to adapt to sustainable behaviors and actions. One of the ways to make sustainability understandable and actionable is to talk more about it and have community-level commitments using platforms and languages that the community understands. These types of conversations are currently exclusive to business communities and forums. We need to expand their reach and scale to larger communities; in languages they can understand and on platforms in which they can participate. Sustainability needs to be a nationwide mass campaign, not just branded stories. Finding effective ways to talk about issues, for example focusing on economic factors rather than environmental factors, is likely to get more stakeholders to support it.
An increasing number of people will start to understand the importance of sustainability and adopt sustainable practices due to the mass awareness on the subject and we know that people are more likely to vote and advocate for legislation. that supports their current activities. Take the Cryptocurrency Bill 2021 for example. The more people see other people living and speaking in a specific way, the more they accept it as a normal way of being and living and this is how we would build a sustainable world.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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