Once I was driving along the highway when all of a sudden I thought that it was raining rambutans! My bewilderment soon turned to dismay when I discovered that the ‘fruit shower’ was actually coming from the car in front of me. The parents and children, who were enjoying the rambutans that they had probably just bought from the fruit stalls along the highway, were throwing the peel out of their car windows. They didn’t care that they were littering the highway; neither did the parents set a good example nor did they reprimand their children. To them it didn’t matter!
The famous Helen Keller once said, “We may have found a cure for most evils; but we have found no remedy for the worst of them all, the apathy of human beings.” In many ways this is true of our society today. There are many issues that we do not care about or concern ourselves with, probably because the consequences do not bear any weight on us. One such issue is the environment. Many of us do talk about and express concern for the environment but we do little or nothing at all to make things better. In our minds we are aware that environmental issues will affect the world but how do we change our lifestyles into making a difference?
The list of issues concerning the environment continues to grow everyday: global warming, climate change, deforestation, water and air pollution, land degradation, ozone depletion, nuclear waste, and ocean system collapse are only some of the issues confronting the human society every day. The environmental threats resulting from these issues have a direct effect on every person, animal, community, and nation on the planet.
In some ways, these environmental problems still do not affect us because we can always find an easy solution or a scapegoat to blame. When serving meals to a large crowd, we choose styrofoam to serve the food as plates will mean having to wash dishes; when there isn’t rain and the dams are running dry and there’s no water in our taps, we blame the authorities for poor management; when there are flash floods in the city, we blame the local council; if the weather is too hot, we bring the temperature down on the air conditioner; and herein lies the problem. We choose to blame someone else rather than choose to take responsibility collectively.
So how do we solve this problem? Perhaps apart from educating the young, we also need laws that are enforced strictly in order to inculcate good environmental practices. I am not one who promotes force as a way of education but for a start, this is what is probably required to get us started. If the government is serious about conserving the planet and not just giving lip service to look good, then those in authority must find ways to promote green living as a viable option. Choosing to go green is not a cheap option in this country. Environmental friendly products like cars, detergent, recycled paper, and others products cost a lot and therefore people are not inclined towards being environmental friendly.
However, if we are to wait for legislation to be imposed on us, it may be too late to turn the clock back to save our planet. There are many simple things that we can do to help make the world a better place. All it takes is for each one of us to make a conscious effort, and then change will take place. Let’s save the world and make it a better place for generations to come for this in the only home that we have.