It is almost half a decade that we are aware and talking about global warming. In the early 1960s, Scientist C.D. Keeling measured the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and found that the levels of the gas plays a crucial role in climate change. After this many researchers took interest in the findings and then they found that the gas plays a crucial role in climate change, so that the rising level could gravely affect our future. The impact of their
research has been unequivocally huge. As they bravely identified the breakdown products of man-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as the cause of the ozone loss, their research accelerated further work into the detrimental role of CFCs to ozone depletion. This subsequently led to negotiations that resulted in the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987 and Kyoto Protocol in 1997 in which total 196 countries came together to find solutions on
mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and its impact on the environment. In the year 1896, the scientist by name Svante Arrhenius calculated that emissions from human industry might someday bring a global warming however the other scientists had dismissed his hypothesis. The gap of almost a decade had imposed a great impact on the environment already by then. By end of 20th century, it became global issue which was calling the urgent and immediate action. Over last 35-50 years India is participating in the various environmental protocols and treaties, the latest being the Paris agreement where India has signed treaty to reduce the rise in temperature by 2 degree Celsius. India is considering cutting down almost by half the amount of greenhouse gases produced for every dollar of economic activity by the end of the decade. Under this agreement, various strategies and policies across the nation were implemented imposing various regulations on all big and small industries. Also education on environment in all departments of studies were made compulsory so that next generation is made sensitised and aware of the problems that we may face if we don’t adapt to greener strategies. However now it is evident that we cannot reduce our consumption pattern and population, we may not able to control the disasters occurring due to environmental damage that we have done so far. Hence we need to adapt the life style which reduces the impact on the environment. Hence “Greener Lifestyle” became highlight under the theme “Only one Earth” for this year on World Environment Day. We always blame industries and factories, transport. In daily life, we use lot of chemicals throughout the day from morning’s toothpaste to mosquito repellent in the night. Soaps, shampoos, body washes that we use, floor cleaners, washing machine cleaners, toilet cleaners etc. that we use are made by various chemicals which are responsible to pollute our water and eventually lakes, rivers and sea. Each thing we use in our day to day life consumes raw materials, water and energy and generate lot of waste. The more we consume the more we use resources and more waste is generated. The food we consume also need raw materials, the electronics and mobile we use also needs raw materials so on and so forth. Each product has its ecological footprint. Scientists across the world have been determining the various types of footprints of each product. Water require to manufacture, us and demolish any product will give you water footprint. Carbon emissions from the process of manufacturing any product will give you carbon footprint and land required for any product
throughout its lifespan will give you its ecological footprint. This is a basic concept of the various footprints that scientists use to calculate environmental impact of any product and it may vary from organisation to organisation in percentage. Accordingly, each product has different impact on the environment. We must try to understand which product has greater impact on the environment and then we must use the products which has minimum impact
on the environment and accordingly we shall use these products. For example, rather using synthetic cloths, we shall use cotton cloths as they have less impact. Water footprint of one kilogram of meat is 4600 to 15400 litres depending on type of meat whereas for vegetables it ranges from 200 to 1000 litres and for millets and grains, it is between 600 to 2500 litres. A coke can needs 500 litres of water and a chips packet needs almost 180 litres of water. In marketing, we always talk about demand and supply chain. When we demand for more meat and beef than vegetables, or more synthetic cloths over cotton cloths, production is diverted to these items. This create more extraction of raw materials and thus impose more impact on the environment. Hence we need to adapt to use things which have less impact on
the environment. Thus we need to adapt to the Greener lifestyle. This process is long and tricky but we have to take small steps towards it today. We have to learn to control our desires and think about the environmental impacts before buying anything we require. First we need to analysis whether we really need that thing/ product or we can just do away with it. Then if we really require it then we must check if we can use a second-hand product and / or if we
can use similar product which has a lesser ecological footprint. For example, while using papers for our assignments and documentation, can we reduce the quantity that we use? Rather than using factory made papers which require cutting of trees, can we use recycled papers or handmade papers? Can we use both the sides of the papers instead on printing it only on one side? Can we use colours made out of natural materials than using acrylic paints? Can we use cutlery like spoons and bowls made out of banana plant or coconut shell rather than using products made out of porcelain? All these questions will lead us to adapting to greener lifestyle. It can be a simple and small step of carrying a steel container while going to market so that we don’t use plastic containers to get the stuff to home. It can be better decision of using public transport than using private vehicles. It is more environment friendly to use unpolished local stone as a building material than using a polished Italian marble. The process may sound difficult today, but we need to adapt to it willing as otherwise we will be forced to adapt to it in near future. Hence greener lifestyle is a new mantra of leading a sustainable life and making earth a liveable space for generations to come as we have only one Earth.
Associate Professor at Smt. K. L. Tiwari College of Architecture