What if you wake up to an extinct world?

Karanvir Gupta
Oxymoron, it may sound but imagine the world is getting extinct. The species on the planet are dying off. The organic crop yield is reducing day after day. Water table is reducing. Glaciers have started melting. More extreme weather conditions are prevalent. Forests are catching fire at a rapid pace. You are surrounded more by obnoxious gases rather than oxygen. And the last thing you want to know is ‘Human Beings are going to die next because of all that has happened and been happening’.
Wake Up! it is not an imaginary situation. You are waking up daily to all of this. All-of-this is happening day in day out – right in front of us. According to scientists, species are getting extinct at a pace of 2 per year which is 1000 times more than the rate at the time of previous 5 mass extinctions happened on earth. As per a report published in Guardian in July 2017, nearly half of the 177mammal species surveyed have lost 80% of their distribution only between 1900 and 2015.
I know, this sounds gyaan and some number crunching done by scientists who are convinced already that we are nearing mass extinction. Well not! Request you all to go google “how close are we to another mass extinction?” And immediately after you will realise who is considered responsible for this wave of 6th mass extinction which many of the scientists believe is already underway and how true is that. Alas but it won’t change anything. It won’t change the way we are living – a thankless and think-less life.
Just because nobody mentioned earthquake, floods, tsunamis, and horrifying natural disasters doesn’t mean we are far from getting extinct. We have begun the process but together with our prudent lifestyles and wise living habits, we can reverse the same. But it needs collaboration from each one of us. While every body talks about the problem, no one talks about the solution. Over the period of time and with my constant observations on living styles across cultures, states and ethnicities; I am sure there are practices that we can follow to curb this situation.
Can we please close the tap while we brush our teeth instead of keep the tap running. Just so that you know, the amount of water used to flush poop is exactly the quantity of water available with a person to meet all his daily requirements in a village with scarce water resources. Can we instead use mugs of water to clean that shit literally and metaphorically? We know we all love our cars clean but folks, instead of using running water via pipe , let us use bucket and a piece of clothe that will consume less water. Please ensure that all taps and water fittings at your home or work premises are fixed and repaired. While it is seen most common in front of shops, shopkeepers/owners sprinkling and literally throwing buckets of water to let the dust settle, why don’t we use those green grass looking mats and just wet them in the morning. It will ensure that the dust doesn’t enter your shops. Last month, there was a list of 11 cities released that will run out of drinking water by 2020. At least for the sake of it, for our brethren let us all take a step towards saving water as much as we can.
I strongly believe and recommend that this is high time we take all necessary steps to use less energy, save water, preserve horticulture and be minimalistic in our requirements from the mother earth. Keep lights and fans off whenever not required. Let us not quickly switch on the AC (air conditioners) the moment we feel hot. Instead we need to change the architectural styles and start introducing the ventilators that used to be there in the homes few years back. Those ventilators let the warm air go up and move out and keep circulating the air on their own. Please search how AC generate more heat in the environment? You will be surprised. They are dangerous.
If you have land and it is there doing nothing, I urge all such people to please plant trees there if you do not intend to use that land or employ people to practice farming. I know I might sound weird but if we can identify patches of land around us, nearby areas where we can do plantation, please arrange plantation drives. Trees – they are our ultimate saviors. Their roots while hold water also hold our lifelines.
In an attempt to make individuals aware about the hard hitting problem and encourage individuals, communities and businesses alike to turn-off unnecessary lights (and be prudent in using resources) for one hour, Earth Hour is observed towards the end of month of March – this time it was  observed on 28th March. My suggestion is why stick to one hour alone when we need to do something that can sustain for our lifetimes. Wake Up! or Sleep till you find that you won’t wake up tomorrow – for sure!
(The writer is an IIM Shillong Alumnus)