By Aadil Fahim, Manager – Communications, Branding & Volunteer Development

A week back, I was interacting with a group of AFS volunteers who recently took up a project which focuses on saving the planet earth. Now, “saving the planet earth” sounds like a much bigger and harder task. It also sounds like, maybe I’m, or we as a group are bragging about what these AFS volunteers intend to do, but honestly, without a doubt, I feel like they, with their committed ideas, are going to do their bit in saving the world. The question that I want to ask you is – What are you doing to save the world? What is your role in protecting the mother Earth? Personally, I don’t think I have ever been asked this question earlier by anyone. Has anyone asked you this question before? If yes, what was your response? Did you say – yes? Or did you say – no? 

Earth is 4.543 billion years old. Since the existence of the planet earth, we haven’t given importance to the resources that are made available to us. Since very long time, we’ve been putting our needs before anything without even thinking about our planet and how it has changed drastically over the decades. We have to start thinking of our future generations and our role in preserving the Earth’s environment for a better tomorrow.

To save planet earth, we have to start thinking of how you, as an individual, can do something to create a greener and beautiful earth. Also, we have to start centering our thoughts on the concept of sustainability, or more on strategies related to implementation of the sustainable development. The Cambridge Dictionary defines sustainability as the ability to continue at a particular level for a period of time. Sustainable development is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” as per the Bruntland Commission Report, Our Common Future.  The Sustainable Development Goals or otherwise known as Global Goals, which was created in 2015 by members of United Nations are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The 17 goals have specific targets which requires a collaborative approach by all so that the goal can be achieved and measured. 

We’re living in the world where we have limited resources. With the increase in population, the consumer demand has also increased. We’re using our natural resources at a much faster rate, and because of the consumption, the stress has increased which is now leading to challenges like climate change, global warming etc. 

AFS India with the help of the hundreds of volunteers in various parts of India has worked on social-impact and community service projects to create awareness of building a better tomorrow. Many of our volunteers have already done and been doing a lot more in making their community greener like adopting a tree, joining environment protection movement, participating marathon to increase awareness about the cause and much more. 

I believe that we have to become active responsible global citizens who have to take the most important step of first accepting that the way we’re running out of the resources, we have to take necessary steps to make sure that we play our role in creating a better tomorrow that isn’t compromised because of what we’re doing today. 

How do we become active responsible global citizens? You can start with small things. Start by identifying things you can do to reduce energy use in operations, controlling the excess emissions and limiting the wastage. 

Think of joining an environmental club; take pledges to not use plastic materials; use products which are made sustainable in nature; plant more trees in your locality; think of reducing, reusing and recycling products; adopt a tree; carry a bag for shopping; install skylights, make better use of natural light; manage waste properly, unplug electrical machines if it’s not needed; buy energy efficient appliances; take public transport etc. 

With the upcoming commitment in the form of a project by this group of AFS volunteers, I’m reminded that we need to do our part in creating a better tomorrow. We need to create a movement within our family, in our own circle, giving it space to grow and create ripple effect in the longer run. Like these amazing AFS volunteers who are ready to save the planet earth, it’s your time to take a step towards reducing your carbon footprint. 

A simple idea that’s worth adopting is: Find 5 things you can do to save the planet earth. Plan and execute those. Choose 5 friends or relatives and ask them to do the same. Let the web of change evolve and grow. A small step can go a long way and if we can do our bit, the change will happen and we will have a planet where we can live peacefully and happily ever after.