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Despite our tall claims around development, we have far to go in terms of reusing and recycling.
Human beings have come a long way in terms of development. Considering thematically, the journey began with the era of survival-linked development, times when the basic tools were invented and society was engaged in building basic resources to make life secure and cover bare necessities. Thereafter came needs-based development, when gradually machines came into picture to cater to the needs of an ever-growing population across cultures. The famous industrial revolution changed the dynamics of society and human lives in general, and then came the consumerism driven development of today, when despite the markets being flooded with goods, ‘more’ still remains inadequate. And since the manifestation has now imbibed innumerable flaws, development as a concept needs a serious change of attitude before it is late, and before it has sunken the entire civilization into an irrecoverable abyss. The realisation that near extinction is looming has made countries across the world make a gradual turn towards sustainable development, aiming to preserve the spirit of the earth for the future while taking care of the present.
A lot of the blame is directed towards science being responsible for the current state of affairs. However, there is a conscious shift in the role of scientific research and inventions in the direction of sustainable development. Research in the direction of green energy and green transportation, urban designing that incorporates modern living without damaging the ecosystem, organic farming, technological reforms in the manufacturing sectors, and conservation efforts to restore biological life are some of the remarkable measures taken up by major countries to combat the damages done through centuries of abuse under the garb of development. Several multinational companies having recognised this are re-engineering their processes and re-designing products that are sourced and manufactured responsibly while recycling is slowly but surely becoming a formidable industry for better.
Along with this shift in focus, we also have to make a complete change in our outlook towards our ways of life and embrace a more nurturing attitude to our environment at the individual level. Simple steps such as reducing our consumption levels, reducing wastes, and reusing goods as much as possible can go a long way. There must be far greater awareness regarding recycling and waste management at all levels and practical solutions should be adapted across homes, schools and colleges, and offices to make long term impact.
There are global forums and clusters of nations meeting on climate talks, energy meets, ocean dumping issues etc and several treaties get signed regularly. But for conspicuous change to happen on the ground, people, nations and technology have to come together and practically implement measures rather than sit through paper deals. Actionable measures could include policy shifts at a government level, to offering financial benefits to industries and consumers of ecologically responsible products, to banning harmful production and waste disposal methods to name a few. The volume of waste generated by the world even today that are disposed untreated are a glaring testimony of human failure that endangers all forms of life and disrupts ecological balance. And the deadline has already passed.
Coherence and Cohesion