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Birjees S Hussain: 22 April is Earth Day, let’s celebrate
April 21, 2017
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Exclusive to The Gulf Today

Who here does not believe that climate change is a reality? Some leaders of the world believe that it is one big hoax that has been perpetrated by one specific country in order to slow down the economy of their counterparts. By doing this, those countries that have allegedly been led to believe that climate change is happening are also allegedly led to believe that it is all to do with their own industrial and manufacturing activities. As a result of this belief they curb their manufacturing activities whilst at the same time importing goods from the country they allege perpetrated the hoax in the first place.

Of course I disagree as I am sure many of you do too. Just earlier last week it was reported that the summer temperatures across the Far East and certain parts of the Asian subcontinent had soared by five degrees above the normal expected for the time of year.

Speaking of rising temperatures, it has been a commonly reported fact that what was once a beautiful Coral Reef in Australia is now actually cooking and dying as a direct result of climate change which has affected the water in which they live. The actual term that scientists are using to describe the shocking phenomenon is ‘bleaching’. This is because, whereas, before they were bright and colourful, they are now turning a disturbing grey. So the question is, is climate change a hoax or a very real event? Is it really happening?

To answer this question, we need to answer another question and that is, why is the Coral Reef in Australia dying away?

Apparently even a one degree rise in the temperature of the water in which they live will have a profound effect on them. And the Coral isn’t the only victim of temperature rises. Did you know that the Arctic Ocean is now turning into somewhat like the Atlantic Ocean? What were once giant glaciers are not akin to floating ice cubes with wildlife, polar bears clinging to them for fear of drowning. Did you ever hear the expression that the sound of a ship horn at sea during the sound is one of the loneliest sounds you could hear? Well, try to picture a polar bear perched on top of a slowly melting glacier and you might just know what that expression means. That means that, yes, climate change is happening and there are no questions about it.

So what can we do to help ourselves?

Tomorrow, that is Saturday 22nd April, is ‘Earth Day’. This is an annual event that started back in 1970 and has now been running for nearly forty-eight years. In fact, in some countries it is a national holiday. Its purpose is to raise the profile of climate change by holding a series of events that span a week, that week being termed ‘Earth Week’. This ‘week’ celebrates the existence of Earth by endeavouring to address climate change and encouraging people to carry out activities related to environmental concerns.

The whole idea is to try and change people’s behaviour. I suppose behavioural changes are the only way to ensure the survival of our planet in the near future. Environmental activities can tell everyone else that, in order to preserve our planet and its precious resources, they must do A, B and C. But just because someone tells you to do these things, it doesn’t always translate into action. Behavioural changes come about when people are encouraged to get involved in activities that everyone can enjoy and from which everyone can reap benefits.

It is possible that, like you, I never heard of ‘Earth Week’ until I saw it written across a screen on a news station. But even though we never heard of it before, we have now, so it’s a great idea to do something different that will save us from perishing because of our selfish behaviour.

Recycling, turning out lights when they are not being used, not letting taps run when you’re washing dishes are all a great start and something that we can all do right at home and right now.

As the well-known saying goes, reuse, reduce, recycle…

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