This World Earth Day, eco-warrior siblings Mishal, 13 and Mir, nine, are proving nobody is too young to care for the planet and make a difference. Mir campaigns extensively to raise awareness about deforestation and desertification. Mishal is the founder of ‘Winshares’, the first platform of its kind in the UAE, sharing textbooks and school uniform to promote sustainability.
A photograph of Earth taken on Feb. 14, 1990, by NASA’s Voyager 1, in which the Earth looked like a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam, inspired American scientist Carl Sagan to famously say:
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The Earth is the only planet known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. It underscores our responsibility to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
These words succinctly encompass how unique our planet is – a “pale blue dot” floating amid scintillating galaxies. It is the only planet which, as far as human knowledge has deciphered, nurtures billions of life forms.
However, while celebrating the beauty and singularity of the planet, we must not forget that it is a finite planet with finite resources which are already overstretched.
The call for climate action has never been as urgent as it is now. World Earth Day is yet another opportunity to amplify those calls. The harm done is for everyone to see – our planet has recorded an average surface temperature rise of 1.18 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century, ice sheets have decreased in mass, glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world, global sea levels rose about 8 inches in the last century, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30% – these are all signals to act and act fast!
There is no time to waste. The scientific evidence is clear and irrefutable — international bodies of experts have warned that we have just over a decade to reduce our emissions to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change. Though the lockdowns have had environmental benefits, these are temporary and will not prevail beyond the pandemic if we do not make conscious efforts as a global community. Our planet needs us and we must stand in solidarity to protect it. Remember, as of now, there’s no planet B.
Adopting sustainability as a way of life.
We have been dedicated environmentalists for the last seven years. We emphatically believe that everybody who inhabits this planet shares the responsibility to take care of it. Over the years we have extensively campaigned to raise awareness about deforestation and desertification, participated in tree plantations and recycling drives, organised awareness campaigns in our communities to highlight issues such as food wastage, water and electricity conservation, proper waste disposal, pollution, and ocean conservation to name a few. We have widened our circle of influence by propagating these causes through the media and radio. We have also been amongst the top recyclers in the UAE year after year. Sustainability is a way of life for us, and environmental protection is an ethos ingrained deep in our minds. It is a part of our identities and will be for the rest of our lives.
The theme of World Earth Day 2021 is “Restore Our Earth” and this call is more persistent than it has ever been before. Our planet needs transformational change, and it requires actions on all levels. We as individuals yield power as members of a community that can unite for change. When our voices and our actions are united with millions of people around the world, we can create a movement which is inclusive, impactful, and impossible to ignore.
“We emphatically believe that everybody who inhabits this planet shares the responsibility to take care of it.”
Here are some actions you can take on this World Earth Day…
Donate to a humanitarian organisation. There are many local and international groups who would benefit from a donation of your time or money. Examples include:
Write to your elected leaders. Tell them what you are passionate about and why. Explain what change you want to see. Effect policy change.
Spread awareness of important global crises on social media.
Pay tribute to frontline workers by sharing positive stories of their contributions, highlighting local heroes or international peacekeepers. Use the hashtag #reallifeheros.
Talk to children about the importance of being a global citizen, understanding world needs and the importance of giving back. Teach them that the humanitarian path recognises diversity and helps regardless of race, colour, creed, or gender.
Do humanitarian work in your own community. Volunteer, donate to food banks, make masks for nurses, shop for an elderly neighbour, do a toy drive for the hospital – just get out there and make a difference. Remember a humanitarian is simply defined as “A person who seeks to reduce human suffering and promote human welfare.”