The notoriously smoggy skies of Beijing resemble with what some famous cities of the U.S., such as Manhattan and Los Angeles were in the 60’s.
Does that mean Los Angeles is smog free now? Of course not, but the smog is not as bad as it used to be. It was only after decades of scientific developments and hard work, that people of L.A. have got their share of breathable air.
With the industrial revolution and urbanization comes air pollution that becomes even worst when mixed with stagnant and foggy weather conditions. The increasing pollution level in China has made it difficult to breathe and the situation is even worse for kids, old age people and heart and lung patients.
Air pollution can be found anywhere basically; it can be anything that has damaging effects on living beings. The sources of air pollution can be motor vehicle emissions, industrial wastes, burning of fossil fuels and material such as paints. Another pollutant associated with climate change is sulfur dioxide.
Steps taken by the U.S. for a better Los Angeles
It took several years for the U.S. scientists to understand and convince the locals as well as politicians that smog in L.A. and Manhattan was a result of gases emitted by automobiles and fumes from industries such as chemical plants, oil refineries. To regulate emissions from factories and automobiles, the United States set air quality standards, including the implementation of Clean Air Act.
Los Angeles: A lesson for China and other countries
The speed at which the global population and economic development is increasing, it has become important for all other countries to think and design regulations to curb air pollution. Regardless of where we live, the air pollution travels and can be equally harmful to the neighboring states. Investments in air quality improvement are no doubt an expensive affair but with better health and living conditions, it has proven helpful for the Los Angeles citizens. Although the conditions in the United States may be different, but it can certainly be a guide to the technical, government, scientific approaches needed for other countries.
With Chinese people complaining of heart and breathing problems, will this force China government to take measures to tackle pollution?
Individual efforts to reduce air pollution
It is certainly not the time to play the blame game and put entire responsibility on government only. Every individual should take efforts to contribute for the air quality control. Some of the environment-friendly steps that you can take are:
• Get regular vehicle maintenance checks.
• Do not use adulterated fuel.
• Keep the engine off when waiting at the signal.
• If possible, use public transport.
• Avoid waiting in drive-thru lines.
• Join a carpool to get to work.
• Buy Energy Star products.
• Avoid plastic bags.
• Buy rechargeable batteries.
Even at 76, Pradip Burman, the zestful chairman of Mobius Foundation radiates a contagious enthusiasm when he is talking about sustainability. The environmental crusader, better known to many as the great-grandson of Dabur founder Dr S.K.Burman, has devoted substantial attention towards promoting the concept of sustainability in all aspects of life. He refuses to conform to the convenience and comfort in today’s world which ultimately adds on to the adverse effects of climate change.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Burman emphasised why sustainability as a concept is indispensable for us. “We ought to be aware of what lies ahead of us. Soon we will finish the oil, iron, tin, and coal, and our next generations will be left with nothing. Recycling, banning plastics, stop felling trees for paper… This should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” he urges.
Traditional wisdom and modern research
A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Burman had always nurtured a keen interest in helping the society, as evident from his graduation project of designing a sonic aid for the visually challenged, which detected obstacles in the way using ultrasonic wave signals.
As an executive for the nature-centric company Dabur, Burman has always opted for natural alternatives to solve his everyday problems like taking Ayurvedic medicine to cure his Arthritis. He later launched the veterinary wing for Dabur – Ayurvet – which provides nature-friendly solutions for animal health care.
A patron of the ancient scientific wisdom of India, Burman always hailed the confluence of “traditional knowledge and modern research”, which he advocated as the Ayurvet motto.
As part of the CSR initiative of Dabur, Pradip Burman founded SUNDESH (Sustainable Development Society) which has been tirelessly working for last 25 years in remote villages for uplifting the rural communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
An advocate of sustainability
Burman believes that sustainability is the indispensable mantra for the world at present. Due to uncontrolled utilisation of the planet’s resources by human beings, the world today stands at a juncture of destabilisation. Today the human race has reached the pinnacle of progress but the advancement is happening in a very unsustainable manner.
Through energy-efficient use of everyday essentials like transport, communication, altered habits of diet, clothing and daily living, some crusaders of sustainability try to reduce their carbon footprint. Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is one of the forerunners toward sustainability goals.
Mobius Foundation aims to change the sustainability dynamics
In 2015, Burman paved the way for the start of Mobius Foundation, focused on sustainability. Named after 18th-century German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius, the famous Mobius strip has an important philosophical significance. The extraordinary shape symbolises balance and union.
Similar is the essence of Mobius Foundation which wishes to enhance the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principle to a widespread basis in India, helping generations to come.
Founder Pradip Burman wishes to achieve notable development in education, population stabilisation and renewable energy projects.
A dream school in the making
At Coorg, Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is constructing the World Environment School, Coorg (WESc) where the curriculum will surpass the boundaries of books and classrooms, with a special focus on hands-on learning in close collaboration with the environment. Amidst the pristine natural beauty of Coorg, the school will nurture young minds to grow up into future green leaders. As of now, the school will be open to teenagers, welcoming students from standards 6 to 12.
Needless to say, World Environment School will be the first-of-its-kind not only in India but also in entire South Asia. The school is expected to start from March 2020.
The school promises to nurture the responsible behaviour of citizens of our future.
The Sustainability Conference of 2019
In 2019, the Mobius Foundation has planned an international conference, on the lines of the celebrated earth summits over the past decade. The 2019 International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE 2019) aims to bring together environmental activists, practitioners of sustainable development as well as climate change experts to help develop a sustainability-focused curriculum.
It is surmised that the conference will give a platform to innovative concepts of Sustainability Education including an essential change in the existing education system ensuring a wholesome personal development for a student.
The Sustainability crusader
The Mobius founder strongly believes that it is high time to sprout sustainability awareness among a society drowning in consumerism and unknowingly doing irreparable harm to the planet, every second. The best way to achieve this goal is through education which is available to all. At present, the education system is predominantly career-oriented, making the learners a victim of materialism, and thus, their dreams are also outlined in those colours.
Living beyond the limits
When asked about his wish to attain the age of hundred, he strongly asserts that more than becoming a centurion, he wishes his life and work continue to better the society even in his absence. “I have lived my life. I wish that whatever I start before I go, will continue – for the betterment of my country,” says Mr Pradip Burman.
He is also a trustee of the Climate Reality Project – India (affiliated to Mr. Al Gore of the Climate Reality Project Foundation, USA). Climate Reality Project, India, has been actively engaged igniting the spark and spreading the message of climate change amongst educators, policy makers and civil society. The India branch looks after more than 500 trained Climate Leaders, and more than 900 volunteers spread all over the country.
In his journey, Pradip Burman has been a beacon of hope for millions, motivating many to join the movement for sustainability. We wish he continues his tireless efforts for promoting sustainability awareness and inspire generations to come.