Litter Matters: A World Environment Day Thought

3:26 PM


“What about this overcrowded land

How much more abuse from man can she stand?”

Lyrics from Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me that has made me ponder. It talks about the ecology, and how it has been the playground for abuse by us.  It’s quite staggering when you look around and see what the cost of development has become around the globe. Pioneering environment conservation has been labeled as a lost cause for years and years on end. But if we were to let everything be, then what are we telling our future about it? What will we go to our kids and say? We just didn’t think you deserved greenery and nature?
The 5th of June of ever year coincides with World Environment Day (WED). A day to rejoice what Mother Nature has given to us; breathing in life and hope to those who love her, and impregnate an encouraged change to those who are on the fence. It is a day to celebrate positive environmental action and change. WED was not only designated by United Nations as a vehicle for worldwide awareness and outreach but to highlight the power of the individual. It has become a day where individual actions from across the globe become a collective force to generate exponential positive impact on the planet. So why not join in an activity for that day to show you care for your kids and grandchildren. How about taking part in a challenge; an anti-littering challenge?    
Most of us were lucky to grow up with grandparents and visit them constantly if not lived under the same roof with them. The older generation was a generation that had it tough unlike how spoilt we are in comparison. They had to go through circumstances that they wouldn’t wish for on anyone but persevered and brought us to a better world.
However, regardless of how things were back in the day, they have always been very particular when it came to certain habits; one of them was their emphasis on cleanliness. I was lucky enough to be blessed with my maternal grandmother who impressed me throughout the time she lived among us on the virtues of always cleaning up after yourself and others if the situation required it.  The basic rule was simple leave what you have used better than you have found it, which is a basic quality most of us grew up hearing repetitively throughout the years.
But then what happened to those merits after we grew up? Why have we decided to ignore and flush those valuable lessons down the toilet? Or have we grown so accustomed to the culture of people cleaning behind us that we forget the big picture?  But what if our dependency on them disappeared and we woke up one day without having municipal workers cleaning after us? Would that change us?
Many questions and theories are brought to the table on the whys but it all depends on you as an individual and your contribution to the table. Waste has for generations not been something people have had to think about but it is high time we thought about it. We need a successful game plan for the planet and people in the long run which starts going back to basics of cleanliness and not littering.
Spiritually, this challenge might make us look at things differently. We become more giving and generous to our neighbors, families and the needy of the community, especially during Ramadan. Fasting makes us more humble and compassionate as it reminds us of how the needy of the world go through famine and hunger. It makes us in sync with our surroundings as the Almighty has urged mankind to contemplate and reflect on his creations and blessings which we call in Arabic –Ne’ma. The environment is his biggest Ne’ma of all, so let’s be better and not ignore it. Let’s better our mentalities to take in an aspect we have always taken for granted and disregarded. Let’s change our attitude of depending on others and heed more.

After all, if we care then our children and grandchildren will. As WED’s slogan for this year says “Planet Earth is our shared island, let us join forces to protect it." 

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