Greetings to you on the World Environment Day! The theme of the World Environment Day 2020 is, “Time for Nature”.
It is time to celebrate nature, its diversity. Even the smallest species on the planet need your care. ‘Concern for the other’ is, in fact, greatest human characteristic.
It is embedded in democracy. One day, a child asked Mahatma Gandhi, “Bapu, can you please tell us about democracy?” Bapu said, “Imagine that you are running a race and you came out first. When you win, remembering that there were others to lose is democracy.” Then he said that is important…“If you run alone, no one will win”. Care for the minority, the underprivileged, those who lost in the race – in the current context the marginalized species who are lost in the race of survival is in fact ‘concern for the other’.
We are here on this planet as nature enabled it. This enormously complicated ecosystem and its delicate balance are evident in this COVID-hit period. If you do not see that complexity and yet simplicity, there is something wrong in our education. One of our philosophers said,
‘Nature is man’s inorganic body’.
There is no need to go outside to celebrate diversity and nature. That diversity is within you. In the form of organisms within you. Microbiota in our intestine must tell us about the importance of co-existence and collectivity.
There is much to learn from nature.
Now I will greet you now with a picture.
The picture is called the Earthrise, taken on December 24, 1968, by Apollo 8 astronaut William Andres.
Nature photographer Galen Rowell declared it as “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken”.
As Carl Sagan would have said, all our love and hatred, all of good and bad, all our wealth and poverty is confined to this tiny space.
That is the only region of hope we have.
World environment day brings all these thoughts to me. May I wish you all the very best.
This article was written by Professor T Pradeep,
Institute Professor and Professor of Chemistry, IIT Madras; Secretary & Professor-Incharge, ICCW