Once I visited for ‘Earth Day walkathon’, I pointed participants were happily joining the walkathon without knowing what it is for and what message it is conveying. Ironically, at the end of walkathon, I noticed people carelessly throwing waste including empty plastic water bottles, cans, chips wrappers etc in the open ground. Then I realized that there is a lack of awareness on basic environmental values in mass people. It made me to think how can a serious problem of global warming, an environmental menace, be tackled unless people are aware that problem exists, it is realistic and they are the stakeholders in contributing to the problems. This realization inspired me to adopt the cause. Ever since then, I have been into “Environmental Advocacy” by campaigns and working at grass root level.
I have been advocating the cause of environment conservation and sustainable living in the UAE for more than 5 years. I inspire others by environmental campaigns, awareness sessions, workshops, organizing environmental activities and sharing environmental values and achievements through print and social media.
I take every opportunity to spread awareness about the need to protect the environment and reduce waste. I have campaigned at malls, supermarkets, labor camp, factories, Toastmasters club meetings etc.By organizing many environment events and campaigns, I have mobilized youth to work towards environmental protection. By involving them, I have taught them environmental values which they will never forget. It is rightly said “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”.
Believing in the saying “Man with words and no deeds are like a garden full of weeds”, I practice and preach. I work at the grassroots level to set an example for others to follow like by my self -initiated projects “Waste segregation system “and “Energy Saving system” in my building.
I visit schools and educate students about environment values like the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse & Recycle) with the help of videos, quizzing, Environmental Games and Green Talk sessions. I demonstrate the concept of recycling by my self-made coffee tables which I made from discarded tyres. I have been visiting various factories and summer camps as well to educate people about environment protection. I have linked up many companies having non-working inventory – to recycling agencies.
I organize educational trips to green sites to educate people about sustainability.I write articles on environmental issues/values like recycling, waste management, frugality, energy efficiency etc in various national newspapers to inspire people to be eco-conscious.
I try to impact all segments of society as everyone is a stakeholder in environment. Besides spreading environment awareness among youth, I have also done the same for laborers and women through environment awareness session exclusively for them. I believe in the saying “If you educate a man, you educate an individual but if you educate a woman, you educate a generation”, that’s why I regularly hold sessions and workshops exclusively for women from different segments (separately for working women & housewives).
I truly believe that trees are the lungs and lifelines for our Mother Earth and I organize “Tree Plantation” on various occasions. I have been planting trees on my birthdays, my parents’ anniversaries, and significant days like Earth Day, Environment Day, and International Youth Day etc. I visit primary schools, carry saplings with me and plant them with young kids to involve them in tree plantation and to lay their green foundation.
I also organized a campaign “A Dose of Help” to collect unused (not expired) medicines for the needy and to protect environment so that they don’t go to landfill if thrown. Collected more than 1000 medicines of more than 120 different types including insulin, thyroxine , paracetamol , cough syrups etc.These medicines were given to Emirates Red Crescent for the poor patients.
I am on a mission to inspire and empower more eco-warriors to get into action and lead us into greener future.My passion to work for environment has made me win many laurels, national and international awards which not only motivate me but also ensure that I am on the right path.
My message to the youth of future:
I would like to inform the global youth to shed away obstacles and not to delay for others to initiate. Have a “Let me” approach rather than “Why me”. Apart from academics, involve yourself in social and voluntary activities to improve the lives, to give back to society and to make this world real place to live. For example, if you find a place dirty, please don’t say “the place is dirty”. Rather, clean it and say “Itwas dirty”. Do it and set examples for others. Youth has immense potential to bring about a revolutionizing change, let’s use “Youth Power” and bring a positive change to the environment and to the world. Let’s increase our handprint to reduce our footprint. Let’s leave our mark.
My urge /message to readers:
Be the change makers than just the change seekers. Be the change you wish to see in the world.”Going green” doesn’t have to be a daunting task; we don’t need to bring drastic changes to our life style. So before taking any action, please ask yourself 3 questions. Is it necessary? What will be its impact on environment? Is there any eco friendly alternative? Easy and small steps can make a difference. They may be small at individual level but if all of us follow them, they collectively have a bigger & positive impact on the environment. After all our carbon footprint adds to yours, yours adds to mine and ours adds up to the global carbon footprint. Remember, the earth can live without humans but humans cannot live without earth, we have only one planet, there is no planet B.
Arushi Madan is a student of Electronic & Electrical Engineering of University of Birmingham, UK. She is an environmental activist and working on different climate issues and creating awareness to reduce environmental pollution. Besides she has been working as a Regional Ambassador of Tunza Eco- Generation. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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