The mad rush for greater development and growth was eclipsing serious environment concerns that could endanger the existence of the planet itself and urgent steps were needed to factor in the green aspects in every sphere of planning and activity.
This was the overarching message that resounded amid warnings of melting glaciers, climate swings and deforestation at the third edition of the Earth Care Awards hosted by JSW Foundation and The Times of India in association with Centre for Environment Education. The JSW- Times of India Earth Care Awards for excellence in climate change mitigation and adaptation are an important initiative. Since 2007, the awards have recognized and honored the work of our climate heroes.
“For me, GDP is green domestic product, not a gross domestic product because the notion imposes on us a heavy economic cost. We need the 9% economic growth but it has to be green. Development and environment sustainability are not contradictory. We need to make tough choices to make sure we sustain economic growth not only for ourselves but also for future generations,” said Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, who presented the awards for ‘GHG Mitigation in Large Enterprises’.
The awards, initiated in 2008, recognize and laud efforts of individuals and corporate houses that work to mitigate global warming and ensure a sustainable environment.
At a glitzy ceremony on Friday evening at the ITC Maurya, the power of innovation was given due recognition. The chief guests at the function were Ramesh and Vincent H Pala, minister for water resources, and among others present were Congress MP Navin Jindal and BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy.
A special composition, ‘Yeh jo hai dharti humari’, recited by rock band EKA, set the mood for the evening as the hall was doused in earthy colours of green and blue. Times Group managing director Vineet Jain drew the attention of the audience to the black footsteps near the entry to the venue that gradually turned green as people turned into the main hall. The footsteps changed colour under a holder where guests were invited to place saplings.
“This is a symbolic way to highlight that our carbon footprint can be reduced by each one of us. Only if humanity as a whole works towards fighting climate change will we be able to stall global warming . This cannot happen at the level of the government alone.” This requires lots of determination to increasing public awareness about the environment challenges,” said Jain.
Adding glamour to the evening was Pantaloons Femina Miss India Earth 2011, Hasleen Kaur, who contributed to the initiative by undertaking sapling plantation at the Maurya.
Sangita Jindal, Chairperson, JSW Foundation, explained how the awards were conceptualized and stressed on the urgency of taking action at the individual level. The awards in the first category of ‘GHG Mitigation in large enterprises’ went to Air India , Videocon and Bilt Graphics Paper Products.
Vincent Pala presented the awards under the second category of ‘Community-led Action’ to South Asian Forum for Environment based in Kolkata and Vivekananda Training and Research Institute from Kutch. Hasleen Kaur handed out the awards under the third category of ‘Innovation for Climate Protection’ to Energy Research Applications and Mahindra Vehicle Manufacturers Ltd.