Sunday, April 22, 2012

One day for Earth [112/365]

Greenpeace Cycle rally, Bangalore
Two years ago, when I wrote about the World Earth day, that was because of a popular campaign to switch off all lights for 60 minutes.
Good intentioned supporters of the campaign believed this would be the way to go and hoped this would lead to better awareness of the movement and would encourage citizens across the world to use their resources wisely.

2012: Nothing has improved.
The earth is in the plonk middle of what can be termed a definitive climate shift. Earthquakes and natural calamities are getting ever more devastating and millions around the world are suffering its after-effects.

What's strange is how reluctant we still are.
I've seen how sea levels have increased across the coasts in India.
Bangalore, down south, used to be known as a 'pensioner's paradise' and a 'city of gardens' for it's incredible weather and green cover. But over the past decade and a half, I've seen how the climate has changed. Summers are harsher and longer. Winters are bitter and short. The monsoons have been erratic (if any) and getting more unpredictable. And the story is pretty much the same in any part of this country.
The reason: Successive governments with vested interests and headed by individuals with absolutely no intelligence or inspiration and suspect motives. Politicians who started out honest but were anything but. And people who voted them to power and kept them there.

But it doesn't necessarily have to be only politicians, but common people too.
Case in point: Our apartment block has been facing severe water shortage, much like any other part of this city.
So much so that we had to buy two water tankers every day for the past two months.
This inspite of the fact that half the block is empty since their occupants are vacationing. So, what you have here a disproportionate usage. Breaking down this phenomena further, out of the six apartments that do have people staying (incl mine), three have 15 people each and the three remaining have only 2 people each. Given that we still do not have individual meters to calculate water usage, we are all paying the same amount for the water that has been used. Which means, the apartment that has 15 people will pay the same as the apartment that has only two. Get the drift?
Now, the plot thickens. We were astounded at how six apartments could still consume 3000 ltrs of water in a day, even when 14 apartments are empty. We decided to check for any leaking pipes. And we found the cause of all that consumption. One vacationer left his bathroom taps running. We had to summon a locksmith to gain access to his house and close the taps. His nonchalant and unapologetic response was "I'll pay for the water".
Well, thanks Einstein.

Eventually, its not about the money. But of the sheer amount of water that was wasted. Over 2000 ltrs of water a day for the past 20 days that he's been on vacation. 
Many of us are culpable to gross negligence too.
Many apartment owners in my apartment block own more than one vehicle. And some of them insist that they bathe their vehicles with atleast four buckets of water. Per vehicle. Every day.
This is the usage that we can see. I can't say they would be more discrete with using something as scarce as water for their other domestic chores. We theorize that since we are paying for the water, we have the right to use it as much as we want to. We also theorize that we can't make a change just by ourselves. We all forget the power of one.

People proclaim 'We can't save the earth'. Not possible.
I can save the earth. I don't have to be a rebel but an example.
The earth is the only place we will get our water and every other resource that we use. And abuse.

Until we get to point in our daily lives when we are able to recycle every single resource, use it wisely. Not because you are paying for it, but because you have just taken off that much off the planet.
The need is now. Earth can't wait for our consensus. I need to act. You too.

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