Life Style for Environment (LiFE)
Dr. Parveen Kumar
Environment refers to all the biotic (living) that is plants, animals and micro-organisms as well as abiotic (non-living) factors like temperature, rainfall, floods, humidity, water etc. An intricate relationship exists between environment and human health. A good environment ensures healthy living beings and healthy individuals. A healthy environment is the foundation for a stable and productive society and to ensure the well being of present and future generations. All of us depend upon natural resources like water, air, soil, minerals, animals, trees and gases to live on this planet and we all must participate to protect, conserve and sustainably manage our natural resources. The lesser the human interference; the better the environment is. Unfortunately, over the last few decades, the human interference has increased and this has adversely affected our environment.
Human beings impact the environment in many ways like overpopulation, pollution, burning fossil fuels, and deforestation. Changes like these have triggered climate change, soil erosion, poor air quality, and undrinkable water. According to World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 12.6 million peoples died in 2012 on account of working in unhealthy environment and nearly 1 in 4 of global deaths occurs due to the poor environmental conditions. An estimated 50,000 species which inhabit tropical forests are annually extinct. This is 137 species a day on average. The rainforests are cut at 100 acres per minute. Worldwide wildlife habitat is being destroyed at about 5,760 acres every day or 240 acres every hour. Most of the countries including India are facing the problems of rising temperature, melting of glaciers, rising of sea-level leading to inundation of the coastal areas, changes in precipitation patterns leading to increased risk of recurrent droughts and devastating floods, threats to biodiversity, an expansion of pest and a number of potential challenges for public health (IPCC, 2007). The global sea level has risen at the average rate of 1.8mm/year during 1961-2003; the rate has been faster during 1993-2003 (@3.1mm/year). Floods that use to occur every 100 years are predicted to start coming every 5-25 years in many parts of the world. Reports also reveal that about 15-37 percent of the plant and animal species would be wiped out due to temperature rise.
Scientific community believes that transformation of the planet by human activity is leading to the mass extinction of life and they are declaring it as a new geological era, the Anthropocene; denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Agriculture is a major land use around 50 per cent of the world habitable land has already been concerted to farming land. Overall farm land covers 38 per cent of the world’s land area. The area is still expanding and it is predicted that in developing countries, a further 120 million hectares of natural habitats will be converted to farmland to meet demand for food by 2050 including land with high biodiversity value. The habitat loss due to clearing, unsustainable agricultural practices are seeing 120 m ha of land lost each year due to desertification.
It is already proved that our lifestyles have a profound effect on our environment. What we produce and how we produce it, what we eat and how we eat, how we travel and all our daily routine activities have a decisive impact on our environment. Keeping this in mind, Prime Minister of the country Narendra Modi gave a clarion call for LiFE to the international community to adopt for a sustainable living and a healthy environment.
The idea of LiFE was introduced by India during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in 2021. The idea promotes an environmentally conscious lifestyle that focuses on ‘mindful and deliberate utilization’ instead of ‘mindless and wasteful consumption. With the launch of the Mission, the prevalent “use-and-dispose” economy governed by mindless and destructive consumption will be replaced by a circular economy, defined by conscious and deliberate consumption. LiFE also seeks to leverage the strength of social networks to influence social norms surrounding climate. The Mission plans to create and nurture a global network of individuals with the name ‘Pro-Planet People’ (P3). P3 will have a shared commitment to adopt and promote environmentally friendly lifestyles. Through the P3 community, the Mission seeks to create an ecosystem that will reinforce and enable environmentally friendly behaviors to be self-sustainable.
India has already started working in LiFE. The different government initiatives have already started giving results. India’s forest cover is increasing and this is accompanied by a corresponding increase in the population of lions, tigers, leopards, elephants and rhinos. The total forest cover increased to 21.71% of the total geographical area in 2021, compared with 21.67% in 2019 and 21.54% in 2017. India’s commitment to reach 40% of installed electric capacity from non-fossil fuel-based sources has also been achieved 9 years ahead of schedule. The target of 10% ethanol blending in petrol has been achieved 5 months ahead of the November 2022 target. This is a major accomplishment given that blending was hardly 1.5% in 2013-14 and 5% in 2019-20. The country’s installed Renewable Energy (RE) capacity stands at 150.54 GW (solar: 48.55 GW, wind: 40.03 GW, Small hydro Power: 4.83, Bio-power: 10.62, Large Hydro: 46.51 GW) as on 30th Nov. 2021 while its nuclear energy based installed electricity capacity stands at 6.78 GW. According to REN21’s Renewables 2022 Global Status Report (GSR 2022), India was ranked third in wind power, fourth in solar power and third in renewable power installed capacity in 2021. Besides, various missions like National Afforestation Programme (NAP), National Mission for a Green India (GIM), National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), National Biodiversity Action Plan also advocate and promote a lifestyle based on healthy environment. The rural livelihood schemes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) also ensure the use of natural resources linked to rural livelihoods efficiently and effectively.
Prime Minister of the country Narendra Modi launched Mission LiFE movement (Lifestyle for the Environment) at the Statue of Unity in Gujarat. As envisaged by PM Modi, Mission LiFE is expected to be an India-led global mass movement that will nudge individual and collective action to protect and preserve the environment. As our Hon’ble Prime minister remarked ‘Lifestyle for Environment’, connects the powers of the people for the protection of this earth and teaches them to utilize it in a better way. Mission LiFE makes the fight against climate change democratic, in which everyone can contribute within their capacity. It inspires us to do all that can be done in our everyday life to protect the environment. It believes that the environment can be protected by making changes in our lifestyle.”
Let all of us also commit ourselves to bring in the desirable changes in our lifestyles. These micro-level initiatives from our end have the potential to reverse most of the damage done to this planet by us.
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