We have always had the world, and we have always had the environment. We have had them every single day of our existence on this planet. So, then, why have a World Environment Day? Because we may not have the world, and the environment one day, if we do not pay attention now. Now!
It has become a complex world, and our actions, or lack of them, are changing our world. The devastation is so vast that it needs all hands on the deck to stop it. We need a billion acts of green, a billion actions, to even stay where we are. It can start from changing our light bulbs or planting a tree, making substantial commitments, weatherizing our houses and signing petitions. We need the power of the collective to impress upon our governments everywhere to act, and act fast. The governments the world over should be talking to people about environmental degradation, about fast forwarding green economics, green jobs, and industrial infrastructure.
We need to talk about "Limited Mandate” and "Larger Mandate” on the environment front with the same passion as we do in some other areas. The damage to our Mother Earth is the Gravest Internal Security Threat that the world faces today. If the Martians are out there, bet your good money that they are laughing at us.
These days if you hang something out of your window, you can figure out the pollution impact in any city. But our politicians are either skeptic, or afflicted with notions of development that are divorced from reality and our world that was once green. How one wishes that Operation Greenhunt were the name of a government plan to retrieve our valleys and hills and forests and rivers and minerals from the ogres of corporate profiteers.
The plunging ground water table in Punjab, the cancer trains running from Bathinda, the threat of soot deposits on the Golden Temple, the poison in our fruits and vegetables, the haze that hangs over our cities are all reminders that one World Environment Day is just not enough. We need to be environmentalists every single day of our life.
The fact that each child always picks up the blue pencil to color the sky has been long taken for granted. Some are now trying a dirty shade of grey. And you can’t blame them. Look up and see. There are none so blind as those who won’t see. For a land whose name means Five Waters, it is a shame what we have done to our waters. If we do not wake up now, someone will offer us a bit, with a suggestion – Chappni vich nakk dubo ke dub maro !