Friday, December 17, 2010

The Green Game!

My Photograph
“Our World is in Peril!” – This was the famous opening line from the environmental cartoon – Captain Planet! Our World today is indeed in a state of peril and experiencing an environmental crisis on scale that is unprecedented.  For example the alarming melting rate of the polar ice caps, climatic changes, accelerated deforestation etc.  The list is long.  However, parallel to this, one can also see the growing eco-conscious of people, which is evident in the number of environmental campaigns, international summits and documentaries such as “An Inconvenient Truth!”  This clearly shows the ever expanding awareness amongst all nations across the globe that something needs to be done before time runs out.  This is what I’d like to call as “The Green Game.”  A chess game, if you will, where on one side sits Extinction and on the other Humanity. 

There are many things that need to be addressed and done to prevent a global ecological disaster or a stoppage to nature’s life support systems that could spell doom for all species including human beings on Earth. 

But I’d like to digress here and follow a different train of thought and elaborate instead on a different angle.  It seems that day in and day out every environmentalist or doomsday prophet keeps on harping about things only getting worse.  True, in many cases they are but what about the campaigns, initiatives and efforts that have made a difference to change things.  Again, I understand that their numbers may be less or marginal when compared to the number of planetary problems.  But made a difference, they have.   For instance, the United Nations under its United Nations Environment Program launched the Billion Tree Campaign a few years ago with the aim to promote biodiversity across the globe and to counter deforestation.  The target figure for 2009 was the planting and care of 7 billion tree saplings.  This target was surpassed and where the total record stood at 7.4 billion.  The key importance of this campaign was involving communities from across the globe to help make a difference towards safeguarding its flora populations and preventing their further dwindle.  They engaged with ordinary citizens in a 170 countries, who through their own capacity, contributed to turn this goal into a reality.    

The crux of my argument, therefore, is that I find that most environmental outcries never speak of the success stories or the campaigns or people that have made a difference in spite of the odds.  The importance of showing an audience that a difference can be made through careful planning, working together and the ensuing benefits for all concerned will go long way in helping to boost campaigns across the entire environmental spectrum.  However, cynics and the know-it-all class would more than gladly like to point out here that one can’t talk about campaigns that have no relevance to the problem(s) being spoken about at the moment.  But what I’m really getting at is two points. The first is showcasing best practices that may be followed to ensure a successful campaign and the second is giving an audience hope or a positive feeling that they can make a difference.  By all means highlight the dire environmental situations that are present and the negative impact they are having but don’t miss out on what we can do to change things. 

Often, I find that the reason why most people continue to be “Sofa Activists” (*By this I mean, people just sit in their homes  and say to themselves or others that something needs to be done but who end up never do anything concrete) is that they often feel that their attempts would be in vain.  The situation or people causing those environmental problems are far too powerful to overcome and win over.   

What we really need is an Environmental Group or Environmental CEO / Celebrity to articulate a strong vision, message and road map and also provide their audience with a feeling of hope that they can actually make a difference either through physical efforts, financial donations, ideation and engagement with the youth.  This way, no matter how small their contribution may be, it will go a long way towards moving our planet away from the brink of disaster and slowly but surely towards helping Humanity win The Green Game! Next Take please!

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, interesting, but I would like to start my argument with one line, "Lead by example".

    The people who are changing things need to change. Otherwise the efforts of those who are trying to change will not be enough.

    Take for example the planting of 7 billion trees. While it is very good initiative, and really hats of to them for exceeding their objective, is it enough? More than 5 million trees are cut each year just for paper!! Imagine how much more are being cut for furniture, real estate, etc! Companies need to reduce their consumption of paper drastically! Real estate developers should plant either the same amount or double the amount of trees they cut when they build. It is then that we will truly start seeing a difference! :-)

    Another example I can give is not wasting electricity. Sure, if people start switching off appliances at home when not in use, it will save energy, but is this enough? What about the offices, libraries, showrooms, etc who waste colossal amounts of energy on a day to day basis? Imagine the energy saving if they switch off!