5th June, World Environment Day. A day to buy green gadgets, use recycled paper, create conservation posters, have environment day contests, ditch the cars and pledge to love Mother Earth. Like a sudden burst of emotions for our planet, most of us treat this once-in-a-year occasion as a vain display of our undying love for the only liveable place in the galaxy and quite conveniently continue to ignore and trample upon it from the very next day. Sadly, our planet will not thrive on an annual 24 hours quota of pledges to save her. It needs a more consistent, planned and dedicated action plan from every individual resident of the Earth, all 365 days a year.

“What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”  said Henry David Thoreau. Everyday all across the globe there are incidents that push the tolerance level of the planet to such an extreme that the chances of it snapping up gets higher and higher each second.

Here is a mere snippet of what you and I are doing wrong every day,

1. As you read this today, the human population of the world will grow by over 93,000 adding to the humongous 7 billion plus population of the world. More mouths to feed will mean more food, more farming, more land requirement and more cutting of forests. In its first global study of forest genetic resources, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has found drastic shrinking of woodlands because of global warming and excessive farming. The ten countries that lost the most forest area between 1990 and 2010 were Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Bolivia, Venezuela and Australia, it said.

2. When you keep the hot water geyser on for a few minutes more or take a fossil fuel run vehicle out to travel short distances, it might not seem much, but the extra energy used or the extra carbon expelled into the atmosphere, makes the earth warmer. And because of that and other carelessness, in the next 60 years ecosystems like the extremely sensitive mangrove forests of Sunderbans might totally vanish. Home to the Bengal tiger, will be inundated by the rising sea and 60 years is not very far.

A general view of the polluted Lanzhou section of Huanghe River in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China's Gansu province. October 2006.

3. Inexhaustible display of attractive toys, colourful clothes on the store windows may tempt you to buy a couple of extra tops or trousers, but from the factories it is coming from, there is also an inexhaustible supply of fabric and chemical dyes that are disposed into the nearby rivers.  In China, rivers now flow rainbow colour and somehow, the clothes you are wearing might be responsible for that.

4. A tiger’s dying in the forest may not mean to you much right now because it is not directly affecting your daily life (or so it might seem). But there is another species that is dying very rapidly – the bee. And perhaps the biggest foreboding danger of all facing humans is the loss of the global honeybee population. Since no other single animal species plays a more significant role in producing the fruits and vegetables that we humans commonly take for granted the dying of bee pollinators, can lead to a crisis where we do not have any food to stay alive.  Albert Einstein once prophetically remarked, “Mankind will not survive the honeybees’ disappearance for more than five years.”

These examples are the tip of an iceberg. The dangers, callous acts against nature are sprouting in thousands. And while we might be doomed because of our own sins, those caught in the storm are in millions and for no fault of theirs.

Without causing any action that disrupts Mother Nature’s cycle and eternal balance, of the 1,740,330 described species on Earth, almost  17,315 species have been listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered and close to becoming extinct. Considering there are some 7 million more species that scientists are yet to discover and describe, the threat to die even before they are known to the world looms over 80 percent of the living forms. Humans as a single species are thus ensuring the mass wipe out of all known creatures of the planet whether in water or on land.

World Environment Day is not a single day of farce celebrations and vows. Instead, you can make it truly worthwhile by treating it as a day when you begin to spare a thought for the environment in everything you do. You can also treat it as a day when you recall the positive or negative impacts your actions had on the environment and resolve to amend what was not right.  You can simply treat it as a day to care more and learn a little more about living beings other than humans. Treat the day with respect. Treat every day with respect for the fellow creatures that live and contribute to making our lives better even if it is not directly visible.

We call our planet Mother Earth. And hence we do know that a mother’s love for her children does not cease no matter how she is treated by them. But showering your affection on her every single day will definitely be reciprocated a hundred times more than reserving it for a special day alone.

More Related Stories,

14 Species of Dancing Frogs Discovered in Western Ghats

Solar Lights to Keep Tigers at Bay in Sunderban Villages

Once Plenty Now Endangered, Plight of Grassland Birds

Image courtesy,

People Daily, India Today, Smallable (Image used for non-commercial representation purpose only)

About Atula Gupta

Atula Gupta is the Founder and Editor of indiasendangered.com. Her work has appeared in a number of international websites, dailies and magazines including The Wire, Deccan Herald, New Indian Express, Down to Earth and Heritage India on issues related to environment and its conservation. She is also the author of Environment Science Essentials, a set of books for school children. She hopes this website provides a platform for people to be aware about species in the verge of extinction and heighten their conservation efforts.

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