Small Giant steps towards a greener, more sustainable life

Small Giant steps towards a greener, more sustainable life

Environmental resources are limited and sensitive to everything that we do. Over the past couple of decades, we’ve seen extensive developments across the globe. We are starting to experience the effects of the actions of generation that preceded us. To make sure that future generations will not experience any worse, we not only need to be aware of the ideals and requirements of sustainability but also contribute in our own way to make the world a better place to live in.

Continuous exploitation of natural resources and unprecedented growth has impacted the climate tremendously. Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal[1]. Antarctica is one of the biggest examples of how human actions affect the environment. The pace of climate change in Antarctica is rapidly increasing per year. Several massive glaciers in the southern Antarctic Peninsula suddenly started to crumble in 2009. This has become the second most important contributor to rise in sea level in Antarctica. Data from NASA’s Grace Satellites show that the land ice sheets in Antarctica are losing mass. The continent of Antarctica has been losing about 134 billion tons of ice per year since 2002. One doesn’t realize the impact of these drastic changes, unless they begin to stare us in the face.

The situation in Antarctica is being assessed constantly and I was lucky to be a part of one such expedition, the International Antarctic Expedition 2015 which was organised recently. The Expedition was organized by the founder of 2041, Sir Robert Swan, who is the first person in history to walk to both the North and the South Pole. Through this expedition, he aims to spread awareness and build leaders who will be in a position to make informed and sustainable decisions for its future, thus protecting this last great wilderness.

The Polar Regions are particularly sensitive to small rises in the annual average temperature. The mean annual air temperature of the Antarctic Peninsula has increased by nearly 3°C in the region in the last 50 years, the only comparable regions are in the Arctic.[2]  Antarctica, more than 4 times the size of India, is a frozen desert, accounting for 70% of the world’s fresh water. The continent has no permanent human residents and just the ordeal of getting there has deterred the most heroic of explorers in the past.

 

The 13 days of the expedition at Antarctica gave us insights into how human actions in the past have had a negative impact on the native flora and fauna. There was a time when the natural fauna consisting of varieties of whales, penguins, seals etc. had completely diminished from the continent but they are now growing back in numbers. However, with the temperatures across the globe rising as they are, conservationists are concerned that all the good work could soon be undone. As the NASA studies indicate and what we witnessed as well, huge ice shelves are breaking away from the main land.

2041 is the year in which the treaty that bans commercial exploitation of Antarctica will come up for renewal. By that year, the expedition hopes to have spread the message and started enough conversations across the globe to make a movement out of this one man’s quest to save the Antarctica. It has given me a deep understanding of the fragile environment we live in and an everlasting inspiration to preserve it.

I have returned with an invigorated passion to spark a positive change in society. I feel a much larger sense of responsibility now that I am amongst the 0.0001% population in this world to ever have set foot in Antarctica. I want to fuel the change in our society now – by raising awareness about these issues amongst the youth. As a true environmentalist, I have taken a pledge to make a difference. Also, my zeal is emboldened by the fact that I belong to Tata Teleservices, where Sustainability and Social responsibility are core considerations, in keeping with the ethos of Tata Group , of responsible business growth and they have supported and encouraged me all along in this journey.  

I not only intend to fulfill the purpose of Mission 2041 and in that regard, I am going to build a team of ambassadors who want to take responsibility for a greener and cleaner environment.

·         Spreading awareness: My first priority is to spread awareness about this issue and reach out to more and more people in schools, colleges and work places through personal meetings, videos, blogs etc.

 

·         Participating in more such expeditions: I plan to participate in more such expeditions. I feel extremely fortunate to have been nominated by Robert Swan for another such expedition to South Pole which will be organized utilizing renewable energy

 

·         Building more ambassadors of change:  I hope to build more ambassadors of change like myself who will drive the message of sustainability across every nook and corner of the world

 

To sum it all up, I believe all we need to do is just start being a little more conscious and sensitive towards our environment! It is very simple: refuse – reduce – reuse – recycle. Our little efforts will go a long way in making our planet a better, cleaner and greener place to live in.

 

The author, Anjali Birla is TAS Manager, Tata Teleservices.

 

 

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