A happy green day dear reader! Not only because this is the 50th year of Earth Day, but also because the world is in respite; it’s a pity that it has come at the cost of a pandemic.
A jolt, bolt from the sky, nature’s fury… call it what you want, the coronavirus outbreak has taken the entire world by surprise. It has levelled all powers; the mighty west and the mystic east are all on the same playing ground. Industries are grinding to a stop, projects are suspended, millions of jobs at risk, oil prices going rock bottom, aviation grounded… We humans are being tested on the most important virtue of patience, and the test is against time.
Meanwhile, the world has turned into a unique zoo; the wildlife is venturing into the enclosures of the most evolved animal – man! The drone of the vehicular traffic and the blaring of the horns has been replaced with the soothing hum of the birds. Could you ever hear anything above the caws of the crows before? The summer breeze never felt so fresh, and stars shine in full attendance in the absence of the smog.
Nature is probably laughing in our face now. In just 30 days it has shown us a glimpse of what we planned to achieve in in the next five-to-ten years. Pollution levels are down, way down. While the generation from fossil fuel power plants (specifically coal) has reduced (with decrease in peak demand), the power from RE sources remains stable. Which means it is possible in the near future to lower dependence on fossil fuels.
Agreed, all this is momentary, for as long as the epidemic lasts perhaps. And yes, the world is going to have to pay a price for this… going back to ‘normal’ is not going to be easy. There will be less travel, less jobs, less spending, less trust, less socializing, etc. We’ll become actual loners and virtual extroverts. The reeling economy will have to be revived slowly.

It won’t sound so dismal if we just change our perspective. Look at this as an opportunity, a clean slate to rewrite our present and our future. A Ctrl+Alt+Del and a rebooting of the system. And in the makeover, let’s make lockdown a norm. Like the one-hour power off on Earth Day, let’s lockdown once a week - no vehicles on the street, let’s walk; stay home, get family-time; help the needy, there are so many living in dire conditions even without the virus; plant a tree, grow a garden; stress on cleanliness; boost the economy - buy Indian, travel within India, make in India…
It’s possible. We have seen immense fortitude in our citizens, and amazing ingenuity in organizing back-up and producing essential equipment. We may not be perfect, but we will survive.
ETN and IESA have joined hands with Earth Day Network to support and participate in their initiatives. This ETN special issue marks the golden year of Earth Day. Let us all participate in the digital celebration around the world, beginning with our ‘power-packed’ Webinar on April 22.

At the end of it all, the only thing worth saving is the planet. It can do without us, but we won’t exist without it. A happy green year to all. Forever.