Towards A Sustainable World: The Importance of Local Efforts

Cycle Renting at DU Metro Station

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

I begin with this quotation as I firmly believe that we can achieve sustainable development through simple steps taken at the local and individual level.

Many people overemphasize the importance of global community effort and measures at the macro level; however, I strongly feel that efforts at the micro level have a more intense impact on the environment. In my opinion, educational institutions, corporate houses, RWAs, students, in fact every human being can contribute towards sustainable development.

One can interpret the term “local efforts” as those steps which can be taken up by every micro-level unit of the society, with minimal investment. To repay our debt towards the environment, we just need to adopt certain techniques and modify our lifestyles. No one needs external force or incentives to incorporate these efforts within our lives. We Indians surely need not go too far to validate this: since time immemorial, environment conservation has been an integral part of our cultural heritage – whether it be the conservation of ‘baolis’ (step-wells) to harvest water, the reverence of sacred mangroves, or simply the practice of worshiping the elements of nature, community efforts have always played an important role in the lives of Indians.

More recently, many villages, for instance, Binola near Gurgaon, have adopted water harvesting, solar cooking and efficient lighting equipment and are contributing in a small albeit significant manner towards environment protection. These are the micro level measures that greatly impact the macro level. One doesn’t need laws, government funds or support to adopt a greener lifestyle. I corroborate this idea with the following facts:

  • Shutting down the computer instead of using sleep mode can save upto 15 KW hrs in a week.
  • One bus carries as many people as almost 20 cars, but causes half the amount of pollution.
  • Using a tumbler instead of letting the tap run during brushing can save about 30 litres of water every month!

…The above list can go on. We can understand the effectiveness of local efforts by simply envisioning the amount of paper that can be saved if each one of us starts accepting online bills! We surely don’t need an amendment in the Constitution to start practising it, do we?

It is time to take control of the situation ourselves. We can’t rely on external sources to provide us with ideas or resources to handle the impending crisis. I would reiterate that if proactive local efforts are replicated throughout the country and across the world, a lot can be achieved in terms of fighting the global menace of climate change. The time has come to start living by the adage: Think globally, act locally!

Parul Gupta

Parul Gupta completed her graduation in Economics from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi and takes a keen interest in balancing environment and development concerns.

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