• Mahesh Menon

Day 16

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." - Dr Seuss (The Lorax)


Day 16

3.98 Dollars. That is the cost of a Thneed, a versatile garment made from the Truffula tree by the Once-ler. What?

In the story, the Lorax, by Dr Seuss, the ‘Truffula’ tree is in a forest which has beautiful creatures, and all of them exist in harmony. The Lorax is a creature that speaks for the trees.

The Lorax advises the Once-ler that it is not a good idea to cut down Truffula trees. Despite the Lorax’s advice that it is a bad idea, the Once-ler starts a business of cutting down Truffula trees, and more people join him in this venture that starts depleting the environment and harming the animals who live in the forest.

Business continues till the last tree has fallen, leaving the place barren and desolate.

The Once-ler is left all alone, with regret. Towards the end of the story, the Once-ler realizes what the Lorax meant- when he sees the word “Unless”.

He gives the last Truffula seed to a young boy, telling him to plant the seed and restore the environment to its former beauty.

While we are at home, we have a few choices to make when the curfew is lifted off and as we limp back to a new normal.

All of us know this now: Don’t panic, don’t hoard, stay home, use a mask, use better protection if you are a healthcare worker, and help those in need. This is helping us, and we must do this, in short, we must be good citizens.

Today, I want to talk around the virus.

We realise that reduced carbon emissions are having a positive impact on the environment, a few points to ponder: 1. This could be the time to conserve resources and follow segregation of waste, and follow the reuse, reduce, recycle chain- if we are not following it already. 2. We are doing fine with minimal resources- can we modify our lives so that we minimize damage to the planet? (Dispose the surgical masks in their proper containers- the world will now see an increase in biomedical waste, and that is something that policy makers will have to plan for).

While have now woken up and we have become more aware and socially conscious, are we ready to make the positive change around us as well?

In 2018, a report by WHO mentioned that 93% of all children live in environments with air pollution levels above the WHO guidelines. More than one in every four deaths of children under 5 years was directly or indirectly related to environmental risks.

This can change.

Out of this crisis, a lot of good can come, as we use this time-out to think, and start caring for a better tomorrow for our children.

Let us care to be better citizens for longer than the lockdown. And we have to care an awful lot.

Cheers to a better tomorrow, Mahesh

Ref: Air pollution and child health: prescribing clean air WHO reference number: WHO/CED/PHE/18.01

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