Environment is the sum total of conditions that surrounds us at a given point of time and space. It is comprised of the interacting systems of physical, biological and cultural elements which are interlinked both individually and collectively. The term environment has been derived from the French word “Environia” which means “to surround”.
The term environment carries with itself a broad range of connotation, and it has been used by multiple disciplines to mean a lot of different things in academia or in general. However in today’s age and time we are confronted with the wretchedness of our civilizational activities that humans have constantly been engaged with. With the speed in which our precious mineral resources is being consumed, we are now faced with one of the most crucial challenge to save our environment, our “Mother Earth”, to protect our future generations.
We have put ourselves in a place where our actions towards environment safety and consciousness define who we are. It has also become quite common across society to adopt sustainable action policies and programmes and to bring awareness about the need to preserve environment at the grass root level. Various initiatives have been taken in this regard. The United Nations declared June 5 as the “World Environment Day” and every year June 5 has been observed as the “World Environment Day” all over the world since 1973.
This year individuals, communities, civil society, businesses and governments around the world marked World Environment Day under the theme “Only One Earth”, with official celebrations held in Stockholm and host country Sweden announcing a ban on issuing new licenses for the extraction of coal, oil, and natural gas from 1 July this year to protect people and planet.
On 28th July 2022 the UN General Assembly made history by adopting a resolution recognizing the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. This resolution was five decades in the making. From a foothold in the 1972 Stockholm Declaration, the right has been integrated into constitutions, national laws and regional agreements. The resolution demonstrates that countries are in solidarity with billions of people suffering under the weight of the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. It will help people stand up for their right to a safe climate, their right to breathe clean air and their rights to access clean and safe water, adequate food, healthy ecosystems and nontoxic environments.
Experts say, in the years to come, a digital ecosystem of data platforms will be crucial to helping the world understand and combat a host of environmental hazards, from air pollution to methane emissions. Climate change poses an urgent threat demanding decisive action. Communities around the world are already experiencing increased climate impacts, from droughts to floods to rising seas. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report continues to rank these environmental threats at the top of the list.
Another major cause of concern of climate change is the effects it has upon migrant children who are particularly vulnerable when moving in the context of climate change, yet their needs and aspirations are still overlooked in policy debates. This has led many institutions and governments worldwide to change their thinking on young people, viewing children as individuals in their own right. The UN argues that governments should be made to answer to the public for the decisions they make about child migration and climate change. It also urges authorities to make decisions with the best interests of the child in mind. This principle was put into practice in 2014 when a family of four from Tuvalu was granted asylum in New Zealand, as both children were born in the country and had family networks and schooling there.
Speeches from climate activists such as Greta Thunberg have demonstrated the knowledge many young people have about global warming, and the UN says that children “have the right to be informed, consulted and to participate in making decisions in the context of climate change”.
With the global awareness on climate change and environment degradation has been on the rise, people across all sectors are on the lookout of a renewable source of energy that would replace our precious mineral resources which are at risk. So, people are now harnessing more of solar, wind and water energy to keep the machine running. But the key problem with renewable energy generation is intermittency. As the sun does not shine all day or the wind speed fluctuates at all times and the water level always changing, integrating reliable storage methods have become crucial for times of low or no renewable energy to generate, and mitigates the risk of grid blackouts as well.
Analysts conclude that the power couple of solar-plus-storage is one of the best opportunities for battery commercialization. Praised as the most attractive country for co-located battery storage by a group of storage professionals, the UK holds battery storage high on its national net-zero agenda.
Also another major cause of concern to our environment that needs immediate attention is the rising sea level that is rising higher and faster because of human activity which has a huge impact on Earth’s climate. Scientists say that climate change drives the sea levels higher. Global warming caused by emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide accelerates the melting of ice sheets and glaciers leading to the expansion of seawater as it warms.
Research suggests that between 200 million and 630 million people by the year 2100 could be impacted by rising sea levels and floods. Mass migration could follow, with river flooding alone potentially forcing up to 50 million people a year to leave their homes by the end of the next century, one study predicts.
Renewable energy sources like solar, wind and hydropower need to become a much bigger part of the global energy mix if governments around the world are to meet their net-zero commitments. Concerted action from the biggest emitting countries and blocs such as the US, China and the European Union (EU) are seen as crucial. The rate at which the world is building its renewable energy capacity is accelerating, but we need to pick up the pace dramatically if we are to get to net-zero emissions by 2050.