Individual Efforts for Environmental Sustenance


Dr. Ravi P. Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

It is well known that fossil fuels like coal and oil (diesel and petrol) lead to environmental pollution, climate change — coal more so than oil. India’s dependence on coal for energy production is huge — about 60 percent. To reduce pollution the world is investing increasingly on clean energy — renewable and other forms of energy that reduce emission of polluting gases and help sustain the environment. Like several other countries, India is increasingly promoting utilisation of renewable sources like solar, wind and hydro energies and reducing its dependence on coal and oil.

This is a welcome move all over the world. Germany even with its limited amount of sunlight is pressing hard for solar energy panels and gradually stopping nuclear energy power plants that are considered dangerous. France and India are co chairs of the agency of solar energy — International Solar Alliance (ISA) which now has more than 100 members with even small countries like Greece, Israel, Nepal also joining ISA.

France with a large coastline experiences countless tides both large and shallow. These tides are being utilised for energy production also; the country has a large program of tidal energy production and offers expertise to other countries which want to tap this source. Both solar energy and tidal energy are renewable and are non polluting sources of energy, although solar panels are expensive and setting up machinery for tapping tidal energy is technically an elaborate task.

Experts in California and other states of USA are working on battery driven rather than petrol driven cars. In Delhi and some other large cities of India, we see people driving many e-rickshaws that are powered by batteries and are much less polluting than diesel or petrol automobiles. As the name suggests e-rickshaw means a small vehicle driven electrically.

We should welcome these efforts and on a personal level help in conserving and protecting the environment. What are the personal efforts that can help in preservation and protection of environment?

There are several efforts — some may appear trivial or insignificant but do help in our objective. We see many houses that have lights — tube lights or bulbs or electrical fans many of which are unnecessarily switched on. Turning off some of these will reduce electric consumption. Similarly we see water leakages in bathrooms, kitchens etc. These should be attended to for obvious reasons. Sometimes, in poor households, people don’t get enough water for essential needs — for drinking, for washing clothes, for animals, etc. A drop of water is precious for these people.

Another habit of many people especially the younger generation is smoking. Earlier only young men used to be seen smoking outside in public places. Now one sees some young women also smoking. Now smoking is injurious to the environment as well as bad for one’s health. If one tries to ask these youngsters not to smoke, they either ignore the advice or give a cavalier answer that they will try to give up the habit after some time. The sign that smoking is injurious to health on cigarette packs is totally ignored. That it is also injurious to the air that we breathe is also forgotten.

The above are obvious efforts at reducing pollution and climate change. But some are not so obvious, but are equally important for protection of our environment. We waste so many items of daily needs, use them once and throw them away in dustbins. Examples are paper cups, plastics in different shapes and sizes, even clothes and shoes etc. Where we can reuse them, we are often governed by fashion that has catchwords of some corporate companies that talk of summer wear, winter wear, etc. For poor people these categories are irrelevant but many rich people are prone to cultivate these fashion tips.

It may be mentioned that Mahatma Gandhi promoted reuse of items and not wasting anything — paper, clothing, shoes or food, etc. In fact the simple dress that he wore was demonstrably aimed at simplicity and non wastage. He was assassinated in 1948 when the environment was not so degraded. Today it is much worse and there is a far greater need for simplicity, failing which the Earth’s temperature would rise faster causing irreparable havoc to mankind and all living species. As temperatures rise glaciers melt resulting in rise of sea or ocean levels. The rising water levels and climate change cause harm to coastline and agriculture — however we will not discuss the harm this causes in this short essay.

Let us follow a simple, sustainable approach for ourselves, for agriculture and for our future generations.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 13 Jun 2022.

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One Response to “Individual Efforts for Environmental Sustenance”

  1. Deep Mathur says:

    An extremely thought provoking article with penetrating but realistic observations. One is swayed by lucid and simple flow of thoughts. We cannot but agree with Dr Bhatia on all the points of his viewpoint.