RWA Commitments for Better Environment


Dr. VBJ Rao Chelikani

            Change or evolution is in the nature of our Nature. But changes in man and by man have become more voluntary, faster and are impacting upon this entire planet. At present, we have not yet to be concerned about other planets and other galaxies. While the universe seems to be operating and evolving on an immutable logic of its own, the human being, however is able to gradually grasp the process of the Universe and understand the mechanisms of operation of the planet and is able to make changes to suit not only his survival but also his aspirations. Since the first one in the Nineteen century, we are in the 4th Industrial Revolution today, and all of them have been certainly adding to the quality of life of the human being. And for all the human beings. But now, the intensity of the multiplying pollutions generated is such that it is causing disequilibrium in Nature among the natural elements, and further seriously damaging the harmony that is very much needed between man and nature.  Catastrophes that were predicted by the Club of Rome in the late sixties happily did not come true. But the imminent danger is very much present.

I.   Commitment by India in Global Management:

            Since, now it came to a stage of global crisis, a global partnership is an absolute necessity among all the nations for Sustainable Development Goals for the good of all the people on this planet and for Peace and Prosperity among them. Such partnership is possible only when all the United Nations member states affirm their commitment to the principles of the UN charter for freedom, security and peace, to international law and human rights declarations and to sincerely create the conditions for their expression. As it was stated decades ago in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the member states should consider poverty and hunger wherever it exists as the most critical world challenge and should help to create a just, equitable and inclusive development model for every individual, wherever he resides. They should promote sustainable usage, protection, production and management of the natural resources. They should show commitment to international conventions regarding the climate change and global warming. They should improve governance and the rule of law at the national and international levels for a sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth. They should mobilise resources for countries with limited resources by employing their efforts and financing to reach sustainable development. Taking more effective measures to assure the right of self-determination and to end foreign occupations. Provide special aid and attention to areas affected by emergency or terrorism. It implies that the states should not claim that they would act only in their national interest and that outsiders should not interfere in their internal affairs. Never-ending disputes between states regarding water, land, etc. should be subjected to international arbitration to settle them once for all.

Following the negotiations and commitments at the UN Framework of International Convention for Climate Change - COP26, probably not by 2030 but  by 2050 we would be able to reduce to some extent the ill-effects of green-house gas concentrations, rise in sea levels, ocean heat and ocean acidification. Our Prime Minister estimated that we have to wait till 2070. In any case, these global imperatives cannot be completely met until we design and implement mega projects of planetary scale under the UN initiative.

II.        Individual Commitment by the Residents:

Above goals, milestones and commitments cannot be fulfilled by diplomats and politicians, unless the people, the scientists, academicians, the health care professionals, engineers, home-makers, civil society organizations, institutions and private sector commit themselves to take robust action, accepting some inconvenience and sacrifices. Especially the commitment by the urban residents living in Resident Welfare Associations can go a long way to improve the environment.

Every monthly meeting of an RWA can devote some time to review their measures to reduce the pollutions.  Collectively we can resolve that one’s house or flat, one’s area of the Resident Welfare Association and one’s town or city should, in that order be made carbon neutral by keeping them clean and green.

Educated and young middle-class professionals can innovate in many day to day chores.

 But above all, commitment by each individual to micro-manage changes to bring in and those to be mitigated or to be transformed, so as to remain in harmony with the environment in its evolution is very important for one’s physical and mental welfare.  At the core, every person should have respect for life in all its diversity. One should care for the community life with understanding, compassion and love for the neighbour. One should strive to build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable and peaceful. One should re-learn to love Nature for its bounty and beauty in the river-bodies and parks in the locality.  Prof. Gretchen Cara Daily of Stanford University in the USA affirms that the prefrontal cortex in the human brain responds to nature and plays a major role in our cognitive functions, attention, memory, impulses, decision-making and planning. Experiencing nature for a while is a sure answer to the stresses and strains of the urban life and it would inspire a sense of aesthetics too. Interiors of each house or flat and each room can be made greener with plants, with terrace-garden, hanging garden and compound walls covered with creepers.

Ultimately, promoting the development of human resources is more important as they alone would find the judicious utilization of natural resources.  An aspect of human behavior which is very often overlooked is that of being a discerning and intelligent consumer with knowledge of things.  It implies acquiring more and more scientific knowledge which helps us to understand the processes that are being undergone by all the things in evolution and to design appropriate and proportionate reaction. We should protect air, water, soil quality, forests, open spaces, urban diversity, and heritage structures from being polluted. The principle of Refuse, Re-use, Reduce, and Recycle could apply on the basis of collective wisdom for their sustainability.  We should end fossil-fuel pollution and accelerate renewable energy transition. 

Energy transition is our immediate biggest challenge: We have to electrify most of the things we use with the help of Internet of Things (IoT); we should bring more energy-efficiency by digitization and ensure zero-carbon energy.  The RWAs can install several  electrical vehicles charging points and solar panels.

At the level of the economy, one can control inflationary trends, which lead to many pollutions and wastage of material resources as in adulteration. The market behavior with cooperative spirit would be more rational and one can avoid panic buying, stocking and adulterated stuff and do shopping keeping in mind, affordability, accessibility, adaptability and sustainability of the goods and services.

Image courtesy: Microsoft Stock Library, Narinder Paul on Unsplash          

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