Published by Antoinette Siu on 26 Apr 2012 at 10:57 am
WiserLocal gathering in Delhi, India asks, “What is a green community?” Rich or poor, we all contribute to the impact on our environment. Facilitator Laura Burger sums up what was discussed.
What is a green community? This question was asked during our fourth WiserLocal meetup in Delhi on the 21st of March. Participants defined it as a community that achieves a sustainable lifestyle and reduces its social and environmental impact.
That’s the theory. But what does it mean for a member of New Delhi’s middle class? India has a very low ecological footprint as compared to developed countries, so why should we bother reducing our social and environmental impact?
The fact is that irrespective of where India stands on an international scale, the cleavage between the richer and the poorer fractions of the Indian population is great, and the environmental and social impact of the first group is paid for by the second.
It is not rare to see overflowing tanks on South Delhi’s residential buildings when the pump has not been switched off, or to see big cars being showered with drinking water in peak summer days. Simultaneously, about 10% of India’s population does not have access to safe drinking water. Political conflicts over water are a reality in Delhi, as shows the unrest about the Renuka dam.
Turning on two or three ACs in summer days–what’s the big deal? And who would take the train where one can drive by car or take a flight? But three-fourth of the energy we use is based on fossil fuels, contributing to climate change, causing conflicts in mining areas, releasing toxic gases into the air. A study showed that in Delhi, 3,000 people die every year from diseases caused by the atmospheric pollution.
Our need for resources is higher than what we think, and so is our environmental and social impact. Ultimately, the consequences of an unsustainable lifestyle will hit us.
To evaluate where we stand individually, participants of the WiserLocal meetup filled out an evaluation questionnaire on one’s daily habits–whether you switch off the lights when you leave a room, whether you take public transportation for short distances, whether you throw non-biodegradable litter in the nature… and so on.
Comparing the results, many of us realized that our habits are not as good as expected. The good news? There is scope for improvement!
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