World Environment Day: Embracing A Modern, Holistic Approach To Save Our Planet

World Environment Day: Embracing A Modern, Holistic Approach To Save Our Planet

Our efforts to save the environment need a holistic approach that is in sync with modern times

Anjali KochharUpdated: Sunday, June 02, 2024, 12:19 AM IST
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Pic: Freepik

This World Environment Day, to be celebrated on June 5 focuses on land restoration, desertification and drought resilience. While planting trees is crucial for environmental health, this year’s theme compels us to look beyond adding more foliage. It requires a more multifaceted approach that addresses the root causes of land degradation and fosters a more harmonious relationship with nature. To understand what can be done in this regard, we spoke with several experts in this domain and here is what they had to share.

Restoring balance

Ma Dhyan Prachi, a spiritual leader at OSHO Dham, emphasises the need for a shift in perspective. She believes that the ecological balance has been disrupted by deforestation, unsustainable agriculture, and overpopulation, largely driven by misguided religious doctrines that place man at the centre of existence.

“Restoring land involves rethinking our relationship with nature, acknowledging trees as vital partners in our survival. Sustainable agricultural practices, reducing population growth, and protecting existing forests are essential steps.” 

Soil healthy

Universities like Lovely Professional University (LPU) advocate for a holistic approach. "We must embrace soil conservation, sustainable agricultural practices, native species reforestation, and advanced water management strategies," says Aman Mittal, Vice President of LPU. At LPU, they educate and inspire their community to engage in comprehensive land restoration efforts. By doing so, they foster a sustainable and harmonious relationship between humanity and the environment, paving the way for a greener, healthier planet.

According to Hardeep Desai, Global Head- Farm Programmes, CottonConnect, at the heart of regenerative agriculture is giving back to nature as much as it takes, offering a holistic farming system that addresses our soil, climate, and biodiversity challenges. “It promotes soil microorganisms and improves and protects soil health.”

There is no doubt that regenerative agriculture promotes practices that increase soil organic carbon, such as no-till or reduced tillage, cover cropping, composting, and agroforestry. It also helps empower communities. It fosters local solutions designed by and with the people who know the land best.

“By working together, farmers, the environment, and soil can all thrive. This is the future of agriculture and land restoration, and we at CottonConnect are committed to leading this transformative movement – for the land and its people,” Desai added.

Assisted regeneration

Shailendra Singh Rao, Founder of Creduce, highlights Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) as a powerful tool. “ANR involves getting rid of invasive species, stopping grazing, and making conditions that are good for seeds to grow. It helps biodiversity and doesn't cost much.”

Other techniques like biochar application, sheet mulching, and companion planting work towards improving soil fertility, water retention, and plant diversity. Additionally, reintroducing keystone herbivores can help maintain healthy grasslands.

The 3Rs

Abhishek Agashe, cofounder and CEO of Elima, emphasizes the importance of waste management. "By focusing on reducing landfill waste, this strategy helps mitigate land degradation and promotes ecosystem recovery in several ways. Furthermore, the restoration of ecosystems and improvement of soil health is facilitated by the preservation of resources and the avoidance of pollution through these methods including the following 3 R methods–Reusing, refurbishing and recycling.”

Reusing: Reusing materials conserves natural resources by reducing the demand for new products. For instance, using reclaimed wood in construction spares forests and reduces deforestation, which is often a precursor to land degradation. This practice conserves natural resources and lessens the environmental impact of new material production, aiding in the preservation and restoration of land.

Refurbishing: Refurbishing items such as electronics or furniture extends their life cycle, which also reduces landfill waste. This is particularly important for electronic waste, which contains hazardous materials that can contaminate land and water sources. Refurbishing also helps conserve resources like metals and plastics by minimizing the need for new materials. This reduces the environmental impact associated with mining and manufacturing processes. This, in turn, lowers the environmental impact associated with mining and manufacturing processes, contributing to land restoration efforts by minimizing land disruption and pollution.

Recycling: Recycling converts waste into new materials, significantly reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfills. For instance, recycling plastics, metals, and glass reduces the need for new raw materials, decreasing the environmental impact of extraction and processing. Recycling recovers raw materials from waste products, which can then be used to manufacture new products. This process conserves resources like water, minerals, and timber, preserving ecosystems and preventing further land degradation.

Collective effort

The road to land restoration is paved with collective action. By adopting these diverse solutions, from responsible tree planting to managing waste effectively, we can create a healthier planet for generations to come. Well, every day should be environment day! But, World Environment Day serves as a springboard, inspiring individuals and communities to explore ways they can contribute to land restoration in their spheres. Let's move beyond simply planting trees and embrace a holistic approach that heals the Earth and fosters a sustainable future.

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