Expert View

The First Step – Who will save the Earth

World Environmental Day

Home. A word that creates a common and collective feeling of warmth, coziness, and comfort. It is where the heart is. A family shall call their apartment home. A large collection of families call their village, town and city home. Every single man on earth belongs to a political division called country, which he calls home.

The entire human race, alongside trees, birds, insects, animals, and the whole lot of flora and fauna call this blue rock home.

Each organism contributes to one part of a sustainable planet. A bee pollinates. A tree bears fruit. An elephant eats the fruit and excretes the seed, only for it to grow into a new tree. Why not? A virus controls a race of seven billion.

Yet one black dot on a sheet of white, a big one that too, affects the entire sheet. The cleanliness of the entire sheet is affected by the black dot. The black dot grows. And its name is Homo Sapiens.

On World Environment Day, Hasini lakshminarayanan, 8th Grader , Studying in Chettinad Vidyasharam Chennai  , Founder of The First Step , who runs youtube to empower the children , interacted with various environmentalists to discuss who is the final savior of the Earth. The one who will make the sheet brighter even with the presence of the black dot.

The first person to speak was Ms. Kimberly Ray. She is the founder of the Marine Conservation Network. She explains to us about the importance of keeping whales alive.

Just like how trees take Carbon Dioxide and give out Oxygen, Phytoplankton in the ocean does the same. Food for the phytoplankton comes from the excreta of whales. If there were no whales, there would be no phytoplankton, and that would eventually lead to depletion of 50% of Oxygen supply in the world.

The only way to stop this is to take care of our own trash. We can also go further by making ourselves aware and cleaning up beaches.

The next person to enlighten us was Sri Nihal Tammana, the 12-year-old founder of ‘Recycle My Battery’. He tells us his own story. When he turned ten, along with celebrations came a resolution. It was the first time he watched the news, and he saw a huge explosion in a landfill in California, and it was from a Lithium Ion Battery. He looked at his own toy drone which ran on lithium ion batteries, and he wondered how his toy could potentially do that.

That was the start of ‘Recycle My Battery’. Until now, his organization has recycled over 75,000 batteries, reaching 1 million+ people, and winning 4 national awards.

Lithium is a metal that reacts with water to create enough energy to light up a house. How do we get it? Mining. And mining has many side effects such as deforestation and fatal accidents. The way to prevent these effects is to recycle our batteries.

The third speaker of the day was Prasiddhi Singh, the young founder of Prasiddhi Forest Foundation. She was the youngest panel speaker of the day.

She talked on how planting trees could help in fixing problems like air pollution and climate change.

We were also glad that she took this very opportunity to announce that her foundation is going online. You can visit www.prasiddhiforest.org, click a button, and they will plant a tree on your behalf.

Vinisha Umashankar, the teen inventor of the solar-powered cart, gave a crisp yet more than sufficient answer on why solar energy is doubtlessly the better option when compared to power grids, especially for India.

India, being the tropical country that it is, can produce 3.5 times the electricity it already produces if only we switch to solar power. Already, the electrical needs of every citizen of India are being satisfied. Solar power can do more.

Besides the fact that the already present power grids are efficient in a large scale view, solar power is environment-friendly and efficient in the long run.

Through a  presentation, she explained how her invention, the solar-powered cart, helps the environment. She mentions that it eliminates the usage of charcoal, reduced air pollution, deforestation and the severity of climate change. She also explained the need of the government to be held accountable and individuals and organizations to be responsible.

The theme of this year’s Environment Day, ecosystem restoration, was addressed by Dr Atya Kapley. She spoke about how the extinction of one organism disturbs the entire system of the food chain.

She also spoke on her specialisation in the field of biotechnology in NEERI, Nagpur. She talked about the Reneu Technology they developed to filter water for the devotees of Kumbh Mela in 2019.

We started with a question, ‘Who will save the Earth’, and Dr Kapley ended her speech with her answer: the next generation. The young mind of today, and the much more experienced once they will grow into tomorrow, will save the environment.

And with that note came Ms Alosha Samaraarachchi, another young achiever. She is a marine biologist from Sri Lanka.

She first started off with MV X-press Pearl, the ship that is currently burning in the Indian Ocean, carrying tonnes and tonnes of harmful material that will impact several marine organisms in the ocean.

She connected that to how humans are responsible for all that destroys ocean biology, and how we can still fix this.

Then she spoke about coral biodiversity, and gave us some facts on what makes up marine biology, showing truly what beauty the ocean holds. She finally concluded that our actions disturb all this beauty, and that we must stop immediately.

In the session that followed, Ms Kimberly Ray spoke about the pros and cons of commercial fish farming. While fish farming does increase employment rays and improves our diet, collection of multiple fish in the same area results in the spreading of diseases among fish. Also, the use of antibiotics that keep the farmed fish healthy, also spreads to the already healthy fish in the wild and kills them.

She spoke on several other cons, explaining how they outweigh the pros.

Dr. Kapley talked about how urbanization can’t be reversed, instead, can be improved for the better of the environment. While we can never find a technology which will never harm the environment, we need to find a balance.

With two experienced speakers and four passionate minds of the future, our panel was a necessary and efficient talk. One that will help formulate proper answers

With the phrase, “Saviour of the world”, we may imagine a person, perhaps even a superhero. We do not need superheroes. We need us. Ourselves. We need people who can collaborate. Form teams. Formulate ideas. Implement them together. And this panel is one of the First Steps…

The event is Organised by The First Step along with Chennai Institute of Technology & Skill Shark and Media Partner as Brainfeed Education Magazine and Climate Samurai .

The same can be viewed in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6REbX2AECGE

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