The start of a new year often brings a surge of resolutions, many of which may revolve around environmental concerns. However, these resolutions tend to fade into laziness and indifference as time passes. The problem is not with the resolutions but our attitude towards the environment.
“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”–Captain Jack Sparrow
We, eventually, lack involvement in environmental issues as if they were someone else’s responsibility or a problem that can be solved with a few minor tweaks to our lifestyle. We pat ourselves on the back while buying a reusable water bottle or a few energy-efficient light bulbs. But had we remembered to carry the water bottle wherever we went or turn off the main switch while going out, we would have contributed to something. But is that really the case here? Think Again…. Feeling proud that such small gestures are enough to save the world, we continue to drive gas-guzzling cars and buy cheap, disposable products that end up in landfills or, rather, on the roads.
The problem with this attitude is that it enables the very problem we are trying to solve. It allows exploiting the planet for profit, polluting the air and water, and ignoring the voices of those most affected by environmental degradation. It perpetuates a culture of individualism, and short-term thinking, in which the long-term consequences of our actions are either ignored or dismissed.
We must recognize that environmental issues are interconnected and interdependent on social, economic, and political issues. We must acknowledge that our lifestyles and consumption patterns are not neutral or acquitted but implicated in the systemic problems of inequality, exploitation, and environmental degradation. We need to be willing to challenge the dominant narratives and power structures that prioritize profits over people and the planet.
We must take environmental issues seriously, not as a trend, but as a matter of survival, justice, and dignity. We must be willing to change our attitudes, behaviors, and priorities and demand that our concerned parties do the same. We must be willing to embrace discomfort, inconvenience, and sacrifice and recognize that the planet’s fate depends on our collective action and courage. Let us not make New Year’s resolutions on the environment that we cannot keep or that we do not honestly believe in. Let us not pretend that the problem is out there, somewhere, and not within us. Let us thrive with small gestures and aim for systemic change and radical transformation.
–Diwakar Adhikari, is a student pursuing Master’s Degree from Central Department of Environmental Science, Tribhuvan University. He has focus on waste management and hydro-geochemistry in Nepal.
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