Of late, there has been a lot of noise about saving the planet, doing something about the climate change. Scientists and Environmentalists across the globe are trying to figure various ways of reducing factors that cause global warming. Apart from them, there are so many save the planet organizations that are devoted to the cause. At this juncture, it is ridiculous to ask if the clock ticking. Of course, it is. The history of possible shift in the climate i.e. increase or decrease, in the temperature of the Earth, goes back to late 1890’s. Back in 1896, Swedish Scientist, Svante Arrhenius calculated that cutting CO2 in half would suffice to produce an ice age. He further calculated that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would give a total warming of 5–6 degrees Celsius.
By mid-20th century, the concern grew stronger and the scientists across the world began to acknowledge that the human emissions could be disruptive to the climate by the next century. By early 80s, gradually a common understanding and consensus started to build. And then in 1988, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established. Gradually, several other non-governmental projects and organizations came up to save the planet from the climate change and its effects, primarily caused by human way of life and other causes by and large.
While the governments of different countries were creating policies and laws for environment conservation,mid-20th century onwards, several save the planet organizations were formed by various groups of people, companies, institutions and individual across the world by late 70s and early 80s. “The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, was a milestone event for the planet. An estimated 20 million people took to the streets across the U.S. to raise awareness about the impacts of human activities on the environment.” (March 20, 2019, National Geographic)
One of the pioneers among save the planet organizations is Earth First!.It was founded in 1980 in South-West America by 5 environmentalists and activists, focusing Environment Protection by taking direct action in terms of research, publishing journals and spreading awareness campaigns, advocacy conferences and workshops and other activities. It is operational today in 19 countries including India. In 1980 itself there were 12 other organizations that got established in different parts of the world, taking up different streams of save the planet causes like wild life conservation, forest conservation, saving the whales, animal welfare etc.
India was still a young country to realize its contribution in environment degradation and the need to save the planet and create organizations for the same. In 1972, India did participate in United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in June and the decisions were taken to provide for the protection and improvement of environment. Sadly, it took Bhopal Gas Tragedy to open the eyes and Environment Protection Act, 1986 was passed finally. However, on forest protection and conservation, Indian history goes back to Indian Forest Act, 1927 under British Empire, then Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 was passed and further amended in 1988.
Apart from the government’s initiatives and provisions, the real history goes back to 1700s when the Bishnoi movement happened. The Chipko Movement in 1973 by Mr. Bahuguna, Save the silent valley in 1978 by KSSB and Sugathakumari, the Jungle Bachao in 1982 to save Saal Forest, Appiko, Narmada Bachao, Tehari Dam Conflict were some very important milestones to name a few. One of the oldest save the planet organizations that are working for nature conservation, research and awareness in India is Bombay Natural History Society which was established in 1883. There are several popular name like WWF-India, Greenpeace India, Center for Science and Environment, Wildlife Trust of India that have been working in India to save and restore the nature. But let us also understand the these save the planet organizations are not all NGOs or nonprofits. The latest concept of a socially sustainable enterprise with profits can also be key game changers like Afforest, SayTrees, HelpUsGreen, The Ugly Indian, The Living Greens etc. Time is to think out of the box and bringsimple ideas to saving the planet to fruition by creating organizations and make them sustainable and impactful. Keeping things simple and going in the direction restoring the environment and nature must be the core if we realize that the clock is ticking.