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Individual Action and Climate Change - by Himani

It seems safe to say that today, carbon emissions & positive action have taken the form of a blame game & everyone wants to leverage their action into a form of financial output. In a world that is dangling at the verge of not one, not two,.., but over nine climatic tipping points, they threaten to wipe out humanity from different corners of the world, piece by piece. Is it a game worth playing?

Walking the tightrope of balancing between dramatic yet pragmatic solutions, where do we draw the line for ourselves? For the scope of this article, let's focus on how we, as Individuals contribute to climate negative action and whether it is in our power to find alternate ways of living without hampering the little joys of life.

Social Action:

I am by no means, suggesting that one should do it all at once, but it is interesting to know that individual actions could cumulatively have an impact worth counting. Social movement towards greener choices comes to mind.

  • Food Choice:

  1. Veganism: The famously known agenda, methane extensive products can be avoided. A rare overlap of subjects, between climate enthusiasts & one-World campaign of the WHO

  2. Water-intensive crop &, when possible. Sugar & Rice are at top of the list.

  3. Researchers have also expressed concerns about the large-scale corn cultivations across the USA, as well. But in my opinion, the real culprit is unsustainable ways of modern farming, owing to the requirements of HVY seeds. As we speak, the new buzzword is GM crops, which have major economic implications, but the extensive use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, weedicides, etc., is bound to catch up to us in this race of civilizational growth.

  • Dress ‘Smart’: In an age of fast fashion, try to make mindful choices about the implications on waste generation & logistics of manufacturing & delivering the said product to you.

  • Transportation: Maybe take a cycle to university/school. Use of public transport, rather than aspiring for the fancy car. Perhaps take the stairs to the office.

  • Buy Local: Move away from exotic products being exported from continents away, may it be food, fashion, or other commodities, in general (Huge carbon footprint, accounting for logistics).

  • Stream Responsibly: Data suggest that adjusting streaming quality could collectively save a whopping 350 million kWh of energy every year – that's like powering over 20,000 Indian households for an entire year! A perfect example of how things that might seem small but are capable of making an impact.

  • Minimalist lifestyle: Focused on the sustainable patterns of consumption. The Basic economy of supply & demand suggests, that if we change our patterns of choices, industrialists ought to keep up with the requisite change. Referring to the award-winning Netflix documentary, “Minimalism” by The Minimalists. With the bigshot data analysts doing a wonderful job, the change can be quick to materialize.

Political Action:

Webber in his sociological analysis, mentioned how the nexus of Class-Status-Power runs the world. These words in the contemporary scenario represent Industrialists-Social Elites-Politicians, respectively. The analysis, though over 100 years old now, is as relevant today, as always. The policy design of every country, within the spectrum of democratic politics worldwide, is majorly driven by elitist social groups (pressure groups, or lobbies to be more precise). Individual action on this subject doesn’t have to be revolutionary. Like-minded & aware individuals can just decide to go have a meeting with their local representatives & discuss their concerns.

A little awareness will go a long way. The basic knowledge of where your sewer leads the wastewater, where is your drinking water sourced from, where is the waste collected from your society is being treated, what new infrastructural developments are being planned in your vicinity & their implications on the air, water, noise quality in your vicinity. Responsible citizens are the strongest pillar of a sustainable society.

Community initiatives for greening localities close to home, under the purview of community action can also help biodiversity restoration. Small steps like these can go a long way.

As I sit, by the window writing this piece, bits of nostalgia hit me like a splash of water. Have you also had that conversation with your parents as to how times have changed & the transformation of our environmental consequences have manifested variation within our experience? My family would often make it a point to show us the rural heartland of the country. Daddy & Ma would discuss, the biodiversity, they saw growing up & is nowhere to be found now, when they want to show it to us. “गोरैया”, ” तीतर”, ” बटेर ”, are only a few birds on the long list.

Although this sense of impending doom has become too familiar to us now & we’ve learned to live with it. But wouldn’t it be nice to believe that maybe, just maybe, there are still things that can be done to reverse this… Or at least there is some damage control that can be done. In order to still have a common thread running across generations, about biodiversity, food & lifestyle choices. In a drastically changing age like ours, there are far too many things that disconnect us from our ancestors & parents alike, and we struggle to deal with this generation gap. This doesn’t have to be yet another form of disconnect.

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