Written in collaboration with a fellow batchmate, a good friend, and an amazing co-writer – Varun V, who devised not only the basic premise, but also wrote the first draft, and encouraged publication of the following article here. Hope you enjoy!

“If we don’t want to live on this trashy planet, we better send back a robot like Doraemon to correct our ancestors’ mistakes.”

“No, we better just leave this planet on a starship like Axiom from WALL-E. This planet is just hot, insufferable, and beyond repair.”

These are the thoughts that will course through the heads of our future generations if we don’t give them the greatest gift we can – the gift of life – a life free of garbage, smoke-ridden air, polluted water, and polluted soil.

We just celebrated World Environment Day on June 5th, and saw our social media inundated with posts and stories on the importance of recycling, reforestation, and going green. However, is this lip service and ‘generation of awareness’ enough? Ironically, these posts, including the article you are currently reading are made using smartphones, which themselves don’t have a life of more than two years, ending up as e-waste later in landfills – their chemicals leaching into the soil and nearby water bodies.

Our perennial rivers are drying up, acute water shortages are leading to inter-state disputes, monsoons have become erratic – catching farmers unprepared and causing the agriculture industry to suffer. Water bodies are polluted, with so much sewage dumped into them that even certain lakes in Bangalore are catching fire.

The lungs of the planet, the Amazon Rainforest, is losing nearly 5 million acres of coverage every year to augment Brazil’s economic condition through forest products. Despite the devastation of the 2019 fires in Brazil, ones in 2020 were worse. A new report warns that the Amazon rainforest may be nearing a dangerous tipping point. Bush fires and forest fires ravage large tracts of land in the USA and Australia every year. The global temperatures are rising and the greenhouse effect will soon turn the planet into a toxic, cloud-laden, uninhabitable wasteland like Venus. Sure, Earth and Venus are sister planets, but we don’t really want Earth to be resembling Venus any time soon. 😂

Well, we have painted a grim enough picture and before we get accused of being UN climate activists/ambassadors whose only agenda is to complain, let’s get more optimistic here.

Perhaps this pandemic is a break for Mother Nature – a break from us insensitive human children, an opportunity to rejuvenate herself. Let us also use this quarantine time to introspect and bring about changes in our daily routine which will help our future generations thrive in liveable conditions.

Of course, reuse, reduce, repair, and recycle top the list. Composting, being resourceful with our already limited resources, practising safe waste segregation, maintaining hygiene, planting trees, using chemical cleaning supplies judiciously, etc. are all ways we can make a difference.

With increasing fuel prices and the pandemic completely thwarting the business of carpooling and taxi services like Ola and Uber, we can try to switch over to electric vehicles. and hey, they’re even Wi-Fi enabled. 😉 There are tax rebates offered on them and there is also no registration fee. Many of the Indian state governments are also offering cash discounts to people who are buying electric cars and scooters. if enough people switch over, our petrol pumps would soon be equipped with charging stations. It is a win-win, though I do agree it’s a long haul.

it would be unfair for us to blame all environmental issues on the government as the economy is also an important aspect to consider and it is what drives the government’s vote bank. While preserving the environment is of utmost priority, the economic aspect cannot be overlooked, for the economy is what gives people their livelihoods. Changes have to happen, in each and every industry. There must be strict government-enforced regulations and caps on many of the traditional industries and factories. I believe that our governments are becoming more environmentally conscious, though they can definitely be doing more.

So let’s try to become forward-thinking and optimistic. Let’s stop playing blame games on the government and expecting everything to change to overnight. let’s stop being social justice warriors on social media and instead use that energy to learnabout technology, and embrace the technology which can not only add value to our life, but help us make a positive impact on the environment. This will broaden our mindset and will keep us aware. Such research will also prevent any large consumerist company from exploiting us, the general public, for their monopolistic purposes. Digital is the future, and rightfully so.

Let’s use this pandemic quarantine time to do what we could not do earlier with our hectic lifestyles – to introspect.

Do we want to hand our future generations a utopian paradise or a dystopian wasteland?

Image Source – Google Images – DreamsTime

2 thoughts on “Utopia or Dystopia?

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