From the Viewsroom

Let’s take a greener path

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on August 30, 2020 Published on August 30, 2020

We must rebuild spaces and alter our choices for sustainable living

It is a subdued celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai, the city known to celebrate this festival the longest and hardest. The city’s administrators had explained to residents that it would not be celebrations as usual, as the novel coronavirus had taken its highest toll on the city and State. Despite the caution, some markets saw crowds. And the night’s silence was broken by the sound of reworks.

In fact, across the world, people are raring to get back to their old ways in terms of lifestyle and choices, not realising that it’s precisely this behaviour that has got us here in the rst place. Just days ago , the World Health Organisation’s chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “…We will not — we cannot — go back to the way things were,” urging people to take responsibility for the way they live and use the opportunity to make a difference in our response to climate change. “The pandemic has given us a glimpse of our world as it could be: cleaner skies and rivers. Building back better means building back greener,” he said, a point that would resonate with many, having witnessed birds and wildlife reclaim their space, as the earth healed.

Some city planners are taking the opportunity and relooking at their urban infrastructure to dedicate a larger part of their roads to cycling lanes. Paris has committed to “15 minute cities”, where every service would be reached by foot or bike, reducing air pollution and climate change. Kenya was improving parks, adding urban forests, building more sidewalks, etc. India too can make a similar green and healthy recovery, by rebuilding our spaces and altering our choices. And a fresh start can be made with the way we celebrate the string of festivals coming up over the next few months. Consuming products made sustainably without having to massacre trees, pollute rivers or skies, for instance, would be the best celebration we can give ourselves. And the generations to come.

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Published on August 30, 2020
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