Taking the First Step
In today’s world, it’s surprisingly easy to forget about the ramifications of our actions. Even though we are “connected” through the developments in technology such as the internet, our so-called “flat world” isn’t all that flat when it comes to addressing the consequences that do not directly affect us, on a personal and individualized level. Living as an Indian in the United States, the “West” as people back home would call it, I understand that I have been given a privilege, that many are not able to experience.
Recently, in a commencement speech by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, one of my long time standing idols, this “privilege” was aptly addressed. Adichie stated that privilege is often blinding, and sometimes results in us not being as aware of the circumstances that surround those who have not been extended similar opportunities. This couldn’t be truer. As I sit in my air-conditioned home in Boise, Idaho, reading the latest in environmental policy making, I often forget to think about the people who are actually going through the effects of climate change – like the people in India, my home, who are dropping like flies due to a recent heat wave like none before. It’s easy to be a by-stander, watching the world go by, and shirk off responsibility.
The truth is though; we all have a responsibility – a responsibility to change, to inspire, and to TRY (even if we fail) to be better. It’s not simply up to world leaders to help save the world from the inevitable reality of climate change; it’s up to all of us, to take small steps in our everyday lives that will ensure a cleaner and healthier world. This is something that I, from my position of privile, sometimes forget.
And so today, I am taking the first step (albeit a small one) to live a greener and cleaner life – I urge you all to take it with me. Even if it’s a small personal change, let this act as a gateway to bigger and better lifestyle decisions. Start turning off the air-conditioner when you don’t need it. Or maybe, use online coupon codes instead of printing out coupons. Have a separate recycling trash can, and take it to your local recycling center over the weekend. If you aren’t ready to alter a significant part of your lifestyle, the acts of spreading awareness can go a long way. Volunteer at a local NGO that supports the environment. Shop at a farmers’ market. Write out your thoughts and opinions and start a blog. Spread awareness about non-invasive technologies in examining subsurface hazards. Learn about the key players in environmental policy making. Really, the possibilities are endless.
I truly believe that with a concerted effort, we all can make a difference. Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most prominent leaders of my home-country once said “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. So go forth, and make a change.