Script: BIMAN BASU, Author, Science Commentator
In yet another International recognition of India’s premier role in caring for the environment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was bestowed with the prestigious Global Energy and Environment Leadership Award by the Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) last weekend. Instituted in the year 2016, the award recognises the commitment of leadership towards the future of global energy and environment and for offering solutions and policies for energy sources, affordability and environmental stewardship.
While receiving the prestigious Award via video-conferencing, Prime Minister Modi dedicated the award to the glorious tradition of our land, which has always shown the path when it came to caring for the environment. He reminded the world that the people of India are the leaders when it comes to caring for the environment, as it has been for centuries. In his keynote address at the Award ceremony, Mr. Modi pointed out that climate change and calamities are interlinked and Indians have shown the way forward for centuries when it came to caring for the environment.
He referred to the many ways to fight climate change and natural calamities. Fighting it through policies, laws, rules and orders is one, which has its own importance. The other alternative is to act. India has been working to increase its share of natural gas from 6 per cent to 15 per cent by 2030. Liquefied Natural Gas is being promoted as fuel and a National Hydrogen Mission for use of hydrogen as a fuel has also been launched.
Waste-to-wealth is becoming the buzzword in India. Our citizens are coming up with unique recycling models in diverse sectors. This would give a boost to the circular economy. Our country is boosting waste-to-wealth generation under Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation initiatives.
But more important is behavioural change, which is the most powerful way to fight these challenges. Calling upon the people to change, he said, by doing so the world will be a better place to live.
This spirit of behavioural change has been a key part of the Indian traditional habits which teach us consumption with compassion. A mindless throw-away culture is not a part of our ethos. He felt proud of Indian farmers, who are constantly using modern techniques of irrigation. He noted that there is a growing awareness of improving soil health and reducing the use of pesticides.
For a large-scale behavioural change, we need to offer solutions that are innovative, affordable and powered by public participation. He cited examples like people embracing LED bulbs, ‘Give It Up Movement’, increased LPG coverage, and affordable transportation initiatives. He expressed happiness about the growing acceptance of non-polluting ethanol across India.
The Prime Minister noted that over the last seven years, India’s forest cover has grown significantly, and the population of lions, tigers, leopards and waterfowls has grown. He cited these as great indicators of positive behavioural changes. Describing Mahatma Gandhi as one of the greatest environment champions India has ever had, the Prime Minister said people would not have the problems that they do today had humanity followed the path shown by the Father of the Nation.
There is no doubt that when it comes to caring for the environment, the people of India are leaders. This has been the case for centuries. In our culture, nature and divinity are closely linked. Our Gods and Goddesses are associated with some of the other tree and animal. These trees and animals are also sacred. If we pick literature from any state, in any language, we will find many examples of the close bond people and nature have enjoyed.
Referring to India as one of the driving forces for the shift to organic wellness, he said here is a growing demand for healthy and organic food. India can drive this global change through its spices, Ayurveda products, and more.