EXCLUSIVE: Dia Mirza opines on how we can ALL be eco warriors during the pandemic

Updated on Jul 23, 2021 01:49 PM IST  |  172.8K
   
EXCLUSIVE: Dia Mirza opines on how we can ALL be eco warriors during the pandemic
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As a UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) advocate, I have watched in dismay how oblivious we have remained to the health of the planet even as we worry about our own during this time and grieve for the millions of lives lost to the virus, around the world. We have failed to see the connection between a balanced ecosystem and human survival. As a race, we are still not taking any tangible steps to reevaluate the reasons why we have come to a point where even stepping outdoors without a mask has become inconceivable.
 
This is not the new normal. This is the new abnormal and unavoidable reality that we now have to live with. The planet we live on in the meanwhile continues to show signs of distress. The frequency of natural disasters and climate irregularities has increased, zoonotic diseases are rampant and our access to clean rivers, air and healthy produce continues to be compromised.

Last year, when the virus curtailed human activity across the planet, we also saw  Mother Nature, reclaiming her health slowly but surely. She showed us that we are the biggest pollutants standing in the way of her wholeness and her healing. That is why it is so important for us to do everything in our power to not go back to the old normal and see the linkages between cause and effect when it comes to how we consume and waste the earth’s resources. Each one of us needs to be an eco-warrior during this time so that we can rise above our losses and prepare for a future that is healthier, safer and respectful of the balance between the earth and all those who inhabit it. We cannot go on believing that this pandemic is the last frontier that we need to conquer and must work towards preventing similar outbreaks by healing the relationship between humankind and nature.

I would also like to take a moment during this time to applaud all the COVID warriors who have fought for the lives of their patients while risking their own. I would also like to express my deep gratitude to organisations and activists who have continued to work to protect the earth and have consistently and against all odds disseminated critical information about the interconnectedness between the well-being of the environment and our actions. One way we can honour them and progress towards the path of recovery is by focusing on SDGs as they encompass all aspects of existence and address how our actions can impact social milieus and the natural and the physical world.  

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as you probably know were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015 and the 17 SDGs address issues that are critical to human survival including the alleviation of poverty and hunger, the right to sanitation and clean water, as well as to clean energy and health infrastructure. The goals also underscore the importance of gender and social parity and equal access to employment and economic growth. The larger purpose of these goals is to engage governments, institutions and communities in removing inequalities, achieving inclusive and sustainable development, addressing climate change, protecting nature and terrestrial as well as aquatic life. When there is equity at all levels, it will make the planet more liveable, is the simple message. The overarching meaning indicates that till we learn to treat each other with more compassion, we will not be able to heal the environment or ourselves.   

What we need is for governments, public-private partnerships, knowledge-sharing platforms, citizens, civil society groups and businesses to come together and treat the planet not as an inexhaustible goodie-bag but as the only home we all have. Sustainability is not a buzzword. It is our only chance of survival and requires governments, businesses and those in power to be accountable to all stakeholders. As individuals, we also must do all we can to be as sustainable as possible and to work towards a world where good health,  education, gender and economic equality are not privileges but rights. And a peaceful, green, just and equitable planet is not a dream but a reality.
 
The pandemic is an opportunity to do better, be better. What we protect or destroy right now will decide what becomes of us and of the planet. And whether the earth remains habitable in the near future or becomes a reflection of our own toxic tendencies and inadequacies as a race.

About the author: Dia Mirza is an award-winning Actor, Producer, UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador, Global IFAW Ambassador & United Nations Secretary-General Advocate for Sustainable Development Goals.

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Comments
Anonymous : I don't like people who preach what they don't practice... including Dia!
REPLY 2 2 months ago