Lindsay Bernard Rodrigues explores how self-sustaining communities can safeguard our ecology.
Every year June 5 is observed as World Environment Day around the world. This year, the theme of the day is ‘Celebrate Biodiversity’, which is a call to action for individuals and government bodies around the world to undertake actions that can save and protect our environment from its rapid degradation. The global COVID epidemic has once again reminded us of the need to push a reverse button, re-plan our development path, restructure our cities and reconfigure our ways of living.
For far too long, the human race has taken the planet for granted, where we have exploited its resources and depleted its biodiversity to fulfil the needs of our unsustainable lifestyles. Recent reports have also highlighted that the health of the planet’s ecosystems is deteriorating faster than ever and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating. Adoption of unsustainable practices such as rapid urbanisation, rising levels of consumption, and the degradation of lands have led to a rampant increase in environmental problems like soil erosion, ozone layer depletion and rise in levels of air pollution. Recent instances of forest fires in Australia and California have showcased how our illicit practices are causing harm to millions of habitats around the world and are restricting our green cover. It is the result of these practices that a series of zoonotic diseases like SARS, MERS, Ebola, bird flu or COVID-19 have now been unleashed into our eco-system.
As we start thinking of living in the post-COVID world, there are now diverse perspectives on how our cities can respond better to current and future crises. Once the current pandemic is over, life in cities as we know it will change and the changes that will come around will be long-term. A majority of the decision-making in the construction of new cities will now depend on many factors, including how governments and societies respond to the Coronavirus aftermath. Therefore, building a course towards more sustainable lifestyles has now become imperative for us. It is the impact of the ongoing pandemic which has made it certain that we change our approach to work and lifestyle, wherein we undertake long term initiatives for environment conservation and focus towards creating communities that are better, stronger and provide eco-friendlier solutions for the future.