We are living in the age when mankind, having acquired and perfected the power of destroying the world, is jerked into the realization that conservation is the name of the more important game…..”Moneta S Veil by Sarkar”
This is the story of how I was jerked into realizing what conservation really means. It was the August of 95 when I was one of the lucky few to get into one of the premier institutes of India. Having spent my earlier life at a relatively smaller laid back city we never thought of our schools and colleges having more than two floors. When we roamed around our new campus we saw buildings with many floors having self operating elevators. Before that I had been in an attendant operated lift twice only . It was a novelty for me and my batch mates. After our first class me and my friends quietly got into the lift and played with the buttons and did couple of rounds of up and down . When we were entering the elevator once again on the 4th floor, one of our gentleman professor saw us ,came and pulled us out by our hands. He said elevator is to bring one up and we don’t need elevator to go down. Really simple . Separate the” Needs from Non-needs” and the entire “Green Philosophy” is summed up.
We do have lots of do’s and don’ts written out for green geeks but the writers forgot to mention the question one must ask – Do I really need it?
I am disgusted to see people use elevator to go down one floor mostly in big organization offices. The reply is saving of time. No one ever added the time to wait for the lift, boarding it and going down. I assure you its much more than the time taken when using the stairs. Even in my apartment I see able bodied men using the elevator to go down only one floor and these are the same people who propose to take few LED lights out from common area to conserve power. May be they didn’t get to meet someone like our professor to jerk them out of their green sleep.
A sad example of need and non-need is the concept of team building activities in organizations. People who sit in cubicles next to each other for 22 days a month but need to go out on exotic locations to work better as a team. Using up resources, fossil fuels on the way but maintain a small park or plant saplings on the road median in front of the office as their environmental responsibility. The same organization will next fire people to cut down on operations cost. They do need to ask this question.
We have sustainability conferences in some remote location where people fly out to discuss global warming which can be done over internet too. They too need to ask this question. The list of non-needs is endless including individual-lives and organizations where this question should be asked.
One can say that there is no real calculation available showing global warming reduces if we separate out needs and non-needs. But there is also no calculation to show that global warming will hold its current status till we convert entire fossil fuel users to renewables, increasing pollution many times during the transition. We all need to change our outlook as sustainability , the balance between need and recourses , can not be maintained indefinitely. One can not increase needs and expect resources to increase at the same rate.
The need for power is increasing to a point where renewables will never be able to maintain it. Sadly, like plants we can not just eat up the Sun’s rays but need an energy converting process in between which too uses up resources.
Its time to ask do we really need to grow in numbers to prove our might in the world or to have a nicer cleaner safe environment with fewer people and fewer needs.