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Population and Sustainability

Opinion Piece by Youth on Issues of Sustainability
Concept, Idea and Content: Jagruti Panchal, Blog Team – TOHRI
Edited by: Vidusshi Pathak, Intern, TOHRI

10 billion. That is the number of people which our earth can sustain at a given time. We are already beyond 7.6 billion as per official records and these records are well below the immediate actual numbers. Our resources can only bear exploitation to a certain limit.

Population growth is a more sensitive issue than it appears to be. It is equally battered with controversies and questions of morality, ethics, and rights; as are the other integral debates in our society. It is not just limited to one community but wraps the whole world in the unfolding of the inadvertent consequences due to population explosion. The earth’s population increase has been exponential if nothing more and the measures taken for balancing the same haven’t been satisfactory.
We always fret about how there is no end to the problems the world is facing in today’s time. Global warming, every type of environmental pollution, climate change, deforestation, famine; there is so much natural imbalance due to our own actions, that the situation seems beyond our grasp now. We have tempered with Nature to such an extent that the damage is now almost irreparable. What more does one need in order to realise the gravity of the situation than the fact that over half of our forests have vanished due to human exploits? They are not ‘our’ forests to begin with; since nature has always been about co-existence.

Most of the issues pertaining today (I say most and not all out of discretion) that are affecting our society as a whole can either directly or indirectly be connected to the enormous population growth. It is estimated that by the end of this century we would be well over 11billion. That might be the time we witness the extinction of our resources as well as ourselves. But that can easily be prevented if proper measures are taken on a mutual basis from now onwards.

844 million, that is one out of every ten people, do not have access to clean water. About 800 million people (one out of every nine) do not have proper food intake. It isn’t because there is a shortage of the same, since every year 10 to 20 percent of the total crop production in India is lost in storage either due to pests or ignorant handling. The wastage is to a high extent and instead can be used for fulfilling the food requirements of the underprivileged in our country. The problem lies in the lack of planning for managing such a huge population. Our country, in fact our world, is discovering new techniques and hustling to find new ways to lessen the chaos and systematize consumerism and the intake of resources in such a way that basic benefits are achieved by one and all. But of course, it isn’t going to pay off until and unless we as a human society have a mutual responsibility towards this cause.

Population growth is far more ahead than the solutions we are bringing in to sustain the growing numbers. The need of the hour is to limit this problem from the very core itself, i.e., to encourage smaller families and the concept of adoption. So, this pertains to a perspective of- “Small is beautiful”. The larger requirement is to provide a crystal clear and deeper understanding of this perspective so as to make people realize that this situation is soon going to turn into something hard to handle. This can only be achieved in the future generations by providing them proper education regarding the topic of population growth and the ethical ways to curb it. Many in our society argue that subjecting children (and young adolescents) to this kind of information is not ethical in itself, but their argument is not based on any solid reasoning. I don’t see how informing our young successors about the legacy (or damages) we are leaving behind for them to deal with, is in any way corrupting their minds. Only when the ways they can deal with it in the future are inculcated in their minds from an early start would there be a possibility for them to shape their actions collectively for the betterment of this society.

Adoption not only helps in overcoming the population problem; it is also about taking the responsibility of a child and filling their lives with happiness. In the end there would be a lot more love in this world if children are provided with a home and a family. Many people constrain themselves from adopting because of the conservative thinking that has been imprinted in our brains long ago, but it is high time to abolish this mindset and change the world by doing our bit.

The natural resources, which aren’t just ours to soak up, should be preserved and sustainably utilized by the masses until a balanced and controlled population is acquired. Only by cutting out on our unnecessary expenditures can we actually save something for our future generations to cherish on this planet, be it the trees we are butchering so irrationally, the water reservoirs we are draining relentlessly or the very air we breathe that we have shamelessly contaminated with toxic fumes.
It is never easy to keep in mind the future consequences and lives while striving for our own selves. But drastic situations demand for drastic measures. To prevent anything as such to arise, it is necessary that we keep our actions in check because this planet isn’t ours to claim, no contradictions whatsoever. True, it is helping us grow and we are a part of it. We have to respect Mother Nature if the idea is to sustain humans further in future.

For a start, let’s try by curbing our inner fundamental hunger for everything and think about the bigger picture for once. As Mahatma Gandhi said- “There is enough on Earth for everybody's need, but not enough for everybody's greed.”


Concept, Idea and Content by: Ashapurna Das, Blog Team-TOHRI

Abhav bid good night to his mother.
He closed his eyes and felt much better.
The life he lived in his dream,
Landed him in a fictitious realm.
A realm where no one worried about hunger,
A realm where pain did not exist any longer.
Ration cards did not divide mankind.
Nor did the poverty line.
No more did he wore torn pre-owned clothes,
Nor did his life primarily comprised of woes.
The pre-dominance of hereditary illness did not exist,
Neither did his family slept in the horrifying mist.
A life that he would cherish,
And a health that he would nourish.
Suddenly he woke up to a dreadful noise,
Only to see his tent collapsing again out of poise.

The Might of the Deadly Pollution in Delhi

Content, Idea and Concept by: Lipi Bag, Blog Team-TOHRI

Edited by: Vidusshi Pathak, Intern, Blog Team-TOHRI

The gruesome shriek of the women gave me heart palpitations. I immediately stopped the video on my phone. The horrifying scenes of the cars crashing at the Yamuna Expressway on a not so wintry-morning, pained my lungs. It was the deadly fog which engulfed the whole city. In the past few months the pollution in Delhi has indeed created a ruckus in the lives of ordinary people. Perhaps, it was the first time that I wondered why I took admission in a Delhi college. I remember how one of my friends joked, “Breathing the Delhi air is like smoking ten cigarettes a day, so why not add one more to it!” To add to this, my laptop read from one of the E-newspapers, “the deadly level of carcinogenic pollutants in Delhi’s air was roughly 10 times the reading in Beijing.”

Last year when the thick envelop of pollution covered the city of Delhi, forcing the schools to shut down; we readily blamed it on the ever accused ‘Diwali crackers’. However, this year the conditions weren’t the same. The Government had put a ban on crackers, and the pollution was also caused by agri residue burning in Punjab and Haryana. Nevertheless, the persisting situation continues to gnaw at us, as we head towards this plethora of toxic air.

So what went wrong this year?

Perhaps the answer lies deep inside us. We can play the blame game on the government all our lives, but would it yield any result if we don’t work on it ourselves? Even after the ban, it was seen that people were burning crackers.

In the past, when the Delhi Government tried to implement the Odd and Even Scheme, despite the minor problems, it was really beneficial. Car pools were taken into consideration, and Delhi started understanding the gravity of the situation, as it seemed. But if we look under the layers of newspaper, we come across the irony of the fact that there were people who started cars with both even and odd numbers! How do we even escape the tragedy when we ourselves seem to be inviting them?

How will the learnings from ‘Environmental Science books’ be put to use, when we don’t practise them in our daily lives. For what’s worth, one of the small steps could be that of planting a tree every year. The increase in population, thereby increasing the construction of buildings does come across as a vital problem, but we have to fight it by educating ourselves against the growing tentacles of population. Last but not the least, we need to stop asking for excuses like ‘Please let the women drive pass through the Odd-Even scheme, just like another reservation. No! If we’re barely making it to our workplace or college (because of the poisonous air), there’s no use asking for such reservations. Stop, and think for once as a social human being, and not as individual seeker with any particular gender perspective, for that could be the beginning of the change.

Be able to Sustain

Concept, idea and content by: Arifa Banu,(BA) English Honors, Jamia Milia Islamia
Edited and re-worked by: Vidusshi Pathak, (BA) English Honors, Jamia Milia Islamia

According to the calendar hanging on my room’s wall, the great Indian festival Holi, comes annually. I have a profound argument against it, because I see it every day on the streets of Delhi. Just swap the coloured water balloons and pichkaris with people’s mouths and the target, my dear friend, this time are the roads or anyone where it is written in bold, "Do not spit here".

Sustainability is a vast topic to dig into. Therefore taking note of the issues which are relevant for everyday life is necessary. Unless and until we relate sustainability to our run-of-the-mill every day lives, it cannot be helped.

Start with your school, your college, your workplace, your home. We need to stop using plastics and polythene.

On the streets of Delhi, the windows of cars are opened either to shoo off a beggar or to throw a plastic bottle, wrapper or any kind of undesirable object. Let us change the common flaws surrounding us every where, every second. Let us change for the good.

Think of sustainability as a responsibility on your shoulders, balance yourself as well as leave hope for your future generations. Let us make ourselves worth the identity of being born on a land where nature is respected and worshipped.


Concept, idea and content by: Ashapurna Das, Student- (BA) Applied Psychology Honors, Delhi University
Edited and re-worked by: Vidusshi Pathak, Intern (TOHRI) and Student- (BA) English Honors, Jamia Milia Islamia
Illustration by: Ashapurna Das, Student- (BA) Applied Psychology Honors, Delhi University

Shirish stood in the midst of forest, all alone, waiting for a sign of life. His friends from the forest were brutally killed, and their body parts sold for a good price. He wondered if he'd see his friends ever again.

We never see trees wailing, but it doesn't mean that they don't cry. Shirish, 'A tree' stood up to be just a helpless lonely tree; all his friends were gone. He missed the days when light breeze would blow and all his friends would smile in array with him.

Jungle TalesShirish was the most aesthetic tree among his friends, he was the most deciduous and apparently the most friendly in the forests of Raipur. He loved the little humans who would climb up and sit on his branch and enjoy the view of the green forests. Until one day, when he realized that the little humans grew up to be more selfish than ever.

Rakesh wanted to build his industry at the place where he spent his childhood. He loved Shirish, but wasn't emotionally attached to other trees. With the growing demand of wood, Rakesh thought about his business and so he cleared up the land and sold the pile of logs for a good deal. Shirish experienced solidarity for the time. He witnessed the logs of wood being loaded in huge trucks, for him, this wasn't less than witnessing a slaughter; the bodies of his friends frightened him. For Rakesh, Shirish was merely a tree which instilled in him nostalgic feelings of his childhood, but for Shirish, Rakesh became equivalent to a child who doesn’t appreciate his own mother, the one who has brought him in the world, the one who has taught him how to speak and eat, the one who has taken care of him and loved him unconditionally.

It had been a month since Shirish was standing isolated in the middle of the industry. His beauty and built was appreciated and relished by all employees and workers of the industry. But no compliment would indemnify the loss of his friends and loved ones.
Solitude, which resulted from being a lone tree in an industry of nothing else but buildings, made Shirish weak. He started shredding more leaves and his branches would fall all of a sudden. Since Shirish was the exclusive beauty of the industry, Rakesh was concerned about him. He hired gardeners to look into the matter. None of the gardeners were skilled enough to understand Shirish's predicament.

Until one day, Rakesh's father came to visit the industry. Among the busy workers and the hustle bustle of the industry, the old, weak yet beautiful tree caught his attention. He touched his trunk and could understand his feeling of loneliness. The feeling was so relatable; he hugged the tree and told him that he wasn't alone.

Shirish felt the warmth of Rakesh's father, but was it equivalent to the loss of his friends? Even though it wasn't, but being loved after such a long time, made him feel good for a while.

The very next day, Shirish saw a huge truck entering the industry. It was bigger than the regular trucks. It stood right beside Shirish. The workers quickly unloaded the truck. 5 Bonsais, 10 shrubs, and numerous flower pots, restoration of his friends surprised Shirish!

They were all planted right under Shirish.

Shirish was happier than ever! He started interacting with those plants and regained his vitality in no time! Noticing such a sudden change in Shirish's health, Rakesh realized that cutting trees and plants was no less than a sin!

Shirish was reinvigorated again and Rakesh became more sensitive towards nature since then.

The earth doesn’t belong to us, we belong to the earth. And by ‘we’ one doesn’t mean only humans, but all plants and animals. Happiness can be found when love and care for each other leaves behind all trails of negativity and when people realise the importance of inter-dependence in humans, nature and society.