Only One Earth

The world commemorates 5thjune as “World Environment Day” to cherish the contribution of environment in human’s life.

It was in the year 1972 UN conference in Stockholm where it was decided that the above date every year will be marked as the Environment Day along with year specific theme to highlight upon various issues related to Mother Earth.

The theme selected in the first year to celebrate the occasion was “Only One Earth”, got identical with 50th year of Environment Day celebration in the year 2022.

Even though the threads are alike in phonetic, the purpose of designing such similar theme diverges from each other in two different directions.

The focal point of the opening year celebration “Only One Earth”, called attention to the rarity aspect of earth’s endowment in the whole solar planetary system to behold life with so much of diversification and grandness.

Rich variations of land forms with diverse greenery, miscellaneous water bodies within and outside the land mass, multiple terrestrial, aquatic and amphibian species forming integral part of multiplex ecosystem were the laudable attributes of the globe that got the spotlight in the introductory marking of the environment day.

It underlined the roles and responsibilities of human beings in preserving and conserving these vital components of earth.

However, within a span of fifty years things have changed in different directions.

The nourishing and caring forces of Mother Nature that holds life on this planet is now becoming frightful and horrendous, sending shivering sensation in humans.

The Anthropocene behavior resulting in the changes in the composition of earth’s atmosphere is piling up the Green House Gases and increasing the temperature of earth leading to disequilibrium in every aspect of life.

“Climate Change” that the scientists were predicting in the previous century to happen due to accumulation of greenhouse gases has turned out to be real in the present day.

The rise in earth’s temperature and the rippling effects are having colossal impact on the people living at the bottom layer of the economic pyramid even though they have negligible carbon foot print.

The disturbances in the natural forces are conducing certain environmental changes that leads to silent extinction of many species from this earth.

Many reports are showing their concerns that we are living in the 6th mass extinction era enumerating the elimination of many flora, fauna and animal species from the biodiversity.

Unpredictability of seasonality, increasing repetition of wild fire with higher magnitude across the globe, escalated extreme temperature throughout the year, swelling up of ocean world due to melting of glaciers and polar icecaps along with infestation of various kinds of previously unknown virus and germs indicates towards a future where earth might turn to a hostile environment to support life.

The rise in earth’s temperature has stupendous impact on the hydrological cycle whose aftermath is the instability of life and livelihood. Frequent floods, prolonged dry spell and drought, torrential rain within short span of time leading to flash floods, frequent formation of cyclones and low pressures over sea surface creating disturbances in the sea to mention are few hydrological hazardous events that the scientists are attributing to a hotter world.

These climatological changes have huge impact on the poor and resourceless people having negligible carbon foot print, living in an ecologically fragile zone.

Health, education and food security is at risk for these people due to variations in the climate forces.

Odisha, a coastal and economically developing state with rising industrial base and its people living at the subsistence level with minimal carbon foot print, is experiencing all most all kind of climate related disasters in multifaceted formats.

Inward sea ingression is one of its kind, is experienced in the state near Satabhaya, where the sea is encroaching the land area leaving the people helpless to relocate to survive.

During a field visit to the village of Satabhaya we find that the sufferings of the villagers are enormous with loss of livelihoods, land, hope and dignity.

Satabhaya, once a boasting fertile agricultural area providing all the requirements of life is a deserted area now.

The place teeming with life rarely gave any chance for the locals to think of any other place to go is now deserted as the sea has taken more than half of the land area under its control.

The rehabilitation of these climate induced displaced communities is not generating sufficient income for the families to lead a dignified life.

Most of the working age population are migrating to different states in search of jobs and leaves the area bereft of young male members of the community. Most of them have migrated leaving behind the women, children and elderly population.

While having a group discussion with the affected community one person said, “Why we are facing the wrath of the sea, even though we have not done anything wrong with the nature.

We neither cut the trees nor pollute the atmosphere, so also our forefathers didn’t have any misdeed.

So why it is that we are facing inhuman treatment from Mother Earth, despite us being obedient children?” The answer to the above poised question is “One Earth” sharing one atmosphere by all.

The atmospheric imbalance component has reached to such a tipping point that now it doesn’t count on who have contributed to these disturbances.

Mother Nature is now giving back the ill treatments that she had received from human beings in terms of irregularities in the climate and frequent disasters of higher magnitude.

The resource poor of the present generation living in those fragile ecological environments are unable to adapt to the new emerging situation of hostile climatic conditions.

They are getting trapped and crushed in the grinding reality of poverty, food insecurity, ill health, lack of education and increasing incongruity in the community (social harmony is the buffer stock that the low asset people use to overcome the deficiency of reduced supplies).

If this reality remains unattended, it may happen that entire generation irrespective resource base will be vulnerable to the climate change forces.

The 50th anniversary of environment day being celebrated in this year 2022 gives a clarion call that there is only one earth.

Hence, we should be respectful to Mother Nature and be responsible in using the exhaustible resources in a sustainable manner keeping in mind the carbon foot print and waste generation. Mahatma Gandhi had once said, “the world has enough resources for everyone’s need, but not enough for anyone’s greed”.

Taking note from this we need to be cautious and accountable for our deeds focusing on preservation and conservation of the exhaustible natural resources and work towards healing the agitated mother nature as we have Only One Earth.

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