By Fatima Sajid
There’s an undeniable logic behind the fact that we call our planet ‘Mother Earth’. From a pure scientific point of view, it is this ‘Mother Earth’ that is responsible for maintaining a viable environment where human life can exist, accepting the biological wastes and producing from it a nourishing for its dwellers. Since time immemorial, humans have been known to exploit the environment for their own causes. Not always has that been disastrous, but following the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century, the exploitation and the subsequent detritions of the ‘Mother Earth’ has been progressing at a breakneck speed, both due to material pollution and the change in people’s perspective of nature.
In 1969, John McConnell, a newspaper publisher and influential community activist, proposed the idea of a global holiday called Earth Day at a UNESCO Conference on the Environment. Since then, Earth day is celebrated annually on 20 March by 500 million people in 175 countries as an oath of their efforts in creating a cleaner environment, all the while asserting the fact that it is the people’s responsibility to act as environmental stewards of planet Earth. John chose 20 March, vernal equinox—the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere, the first day of autumn in the southern hemisphere—because it is a day of renewal.
Earth Day is a name used for 2 similar global observances. Some people celebrate Earth Day around the time of the March Equinox, while others observe the occasion on April 22 each year.
The main objective of the celebrating Earth Day is to emphasize the fact that we have only one Earth to support the ever growing human population. This day invokes our consciousness about human’s growing ecological footprints and resource consumption patterns that are going to be harmful for Earth’s natural resources. As a result of human interventions, our global climate has suffered greatly resulting in an increased occurrence of floods, droughts and reduced polar caps. Global warming due to industrial and vehicular pollution has been attributed as the major cause of environmental detrition. Reduced forest coverage and abundant animal hunting is also another concern in the long list of environmental concerns due human exploitation.
In Pakistan, on Earth Day seminars are held across the country as educational institutions and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are actively involved in creating awareness about the Earth Day through various activities. Schools hold tree plantation and street cleaning activities at local level. Media channels promote Earth Day awareness by airing special reports and shows regarding environmental responsibility of each citizen.
Pakistan Science club also will organize Earth Day event in registered schools of PSC. In this events students of different schools will display their projects and model to aware people about Earth and our responsibilities
But Earth Day is not just a celebration; it is a call for action! The celebrations jolt human consciousness about the ever increasing environmental risks and motivate them to do be a part of an international campaign to save our Mother Earth. So what can we do to be our own personalized versions of ‘Captain Planet’? Well, all great changes start at home. We can individually change our lifestyles and actions by using energy efficient bulbs, using less water, reducing the use of paper and trying to use recycled paper. We can be a part of the struggle to increase awareness and promoting environmental causes by planting trees, using alternate sources of energy like wind or solar and introducing better practices in agriculture production. We as Pakistani citizens should also be aware of our basic civic rights to clean air and clean water. As a collective effort by all society, environment can be made a part of Pakistani politics too, starting at the local council level.
National Academy of Young Scientists Pakistan, The Emerging Nations Science Foundation and Pakistan Science Foundation are trying to raise their voices on these sorts of central issues. These baby steps would lead to something bigger, efforts at individual and society level would culminate to bring global environment betterment. The significance of Earth Day lies in its global celebration because people from all nations, backgrounds, races, colors, religions, and all other human-made barriers come together to celebrate Earth as our common planetary home and pledge to repay our debt to the Mother Earth by giving back what she has given us: Care and protection.
Article: Fatima Sajid
Poster: M. Adeel Ansari