Earth, a Patient
By Mithilesh Kumar Sinha
Yesterday night, I heard a sound of someone’s moaning. I asked who is moaning. Then sound came “O son! I am the Earth”. Wailing mother earth started narrating, “Now I am patient. My condition is serious. Symptoms are multiple. My breath is noxious. I have a fever, higher than ever before. Efforts to bring it down are not working. Poison has been found in my body fluids. When symptoms are treated in one area, more pop up in other body parts. Fossil fuel has been poured over my skin, filled my airways with pollution and poisoned my water with everything from oil to agrichemicals to pharmaceutical drugs.”
If this were a usual patient, doctors would be inclined to declare the multiple sicknesses as chronic and terminal. Not knowing what else to do, they would just take steps to make the patient as comfortable as possible until the end came. An impending ecological catastrophe and it is already becoming less clear where to find food without poison if all the water and soil is poisoned too. In some countries, people even have to walk in protective masks just to breathe.
According to a research Humans are “eating away at our own life support systems” at a rate unseen in the past 10,000 years by degrading land and freshwater systems, emitting greenhouse gases and releasing vast amounts of agricultural chemicals into the environment. The world has already lost 80% of its forests and we’re continually losing them at a rate of 375 km2 per day. UN report says that Earth is sick with multiple and worsening environmental ills killing millions of people yearly
In 2016-17 too, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India received these figures from only 25 regional pollution boards. The total plastic waste generation figure for that year was estimated at 1.6 million tonnes, or 160,000 truckfulls. CPCB of India, the CPCB estimate of plastic waste generated in India in 2017-18–660,787.85 tonnes, enough to fill 66,079 trucks at 10 tonnes a truck–does not reflect the situation in more than 60% of India’s states and union territories.
India at bottom of 2018 global environment performance index. Unable to improve its air quality, protect its biodiversity and cut its greenhouse gas emissions, India – say all available data — stands today at the bottom of Performance Index (EPI) rankings. In 2016, the country the country had ranked 141 out of 180 countries. In 2018, according to the just released State of India’s Environment (SoE) 2018, in Figures, it has slipped to the 177th position
We all are responsible every day. For example, you can buy a drink in a plastic bottle and then throw it away. We humans need to constantly examine the facts and question our own behaviour, but look at things rationally. We need to be more cautious than ever and restrain ourselves from selfish, no-tomorrow exploitation of earthly resources. Earth will not always ‘heal’ itself,
We must implement habitat protections and work within the limits of nature to preserve and restore what nature remains for the health of our Earth.
We must protect both individual species that are under threat and the critical habitat of these species.
Global agriculture will require a transition to ecological and organic farming such as biodynamic and permaculture farming that respect nature’s limits and naturally build soil fertility.
For a healthy planet and human population, we simply must stop the production of toxic substances and return to the use of natural substances that are safe and do not compromise our own health and our global environment.
From our end, we can make a contribution too
• We must buy products that are environment friendly.
• We must stop our habit of wastage.
• We should share our views on the degradation that’s happening and raise awareness. Every person we should enlighten, counts.
• We should report any kind of activity that degrades our environment such as dumping waste in water bodies, burning of plastic, improper disposal of garbage and the like.
• We should plant trees wherever we can. More plants will mean more allies to absorb and deter the greenhouse effect.
Let’s follow the slogan
“Environment is precious to life, secure it for life.”
Mithilesh Kumar Sinha is a Finance Officer at Nagaland University, Lumami