Moradabad’s philanthropist Arvind Goel explains the necessity to reset humanity’s relationship with nature

July 29: The rapid environmental degradation had never been so rampant as witnessed today. From Australia to Europe to the Americas, sweltering heat has broken all records followed by raging fires causing unimaginable flora and fauna destruction. Spain and Portugal alone account for over 2,000 deaths in the prevailing heat wave that Western Europe faces today.

India, which was often seen as insulated from environmental calamities until two decades ago also experiences previously unheard-of cyclones hitting Indian shores at regular intervals. This is indeed a clarion call before human avarice wipes life off this planet. Foreseeing cataclysmic self-annihilating events, Moradabad’s philanthropist Arvind Goel is all out to reverse the process before it’s too late.

As the World celebrates World Nature Conservation Day on July 28, Goel is silently spearheading a movement to make environmental conservation an inclusive affair focussing on sustainability. An educationist who helps run hundreds of schools and colleges all over the country Goel believes in the philosophy of catch-them-young wherein students are inculcated the love for nature. Goel ensures that for these youngsters and citizens of tomorrow, conservation becomes part of daily life and not merely a fringe activity observed only on special days and occasions.

Goel is busy creating a culture of conservation by helping people adopt the correct green lifestyle to restore the revitalized form of nature. In India, creativity can be discovered in every corner where people come up with new eco-friendly ideas to protect nature. We should support our local businesses that promote sustainable products such as bamboo-crafted articles for sustainable development.

Blindly aping the west, we forgot our environment-friendly ways of life. For instance, birds used to thrive in the holes of the mud walls of our homes and keep the vicinity cool. Verandahs and ample trees would keep temperatures down during the summer but now concrete has taken over pushing the mercury levels higher, particularly in the urban areas. Despite thousands of crores spent on cleaning rivers, the condition hasn’t improved much and the simple reason is the masses haven’t yet felt a sense of ownership for these water bodies.

Goel wants to bring home the point that to make our planet liveable is every individual’s responsibility. The Centre has indeed undertaken several initiatives to conserve endangered species, by mandating protected areas for wildlife and setting up centrally sponsored schemes such as Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats, Project Tiger, and Project Elephant for wildlife conservation programs for wetlands and lakes, among others. Goel, however, stresses that efforts from all quarters are needed to make this initiative successful. Government alone cannot bring about massive change.

Goel who has a great fan following among the corporate honchos also encourages corporates to chip in as their role in environmental sustainability is crucial.

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