The Earth is rightly called “our common home” and garden planet of the universe a common dwelling and unique habitat where not only human but also other beings evolve and flourish. In relation to greed and lavish consumption, waste either in plastic or E-waste forms have a unique and rising problem. It happens by doing something wrong like environmental vicious acts (disposing toxic waste into the river to save money, deforestation, dumping plastic on the roads, etc.) In recent decades, an excess of carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere by human activities, in particular, by the burning of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal), using of solid waste (dung, peat, wood etc.) for fuel, deforestation (logging and clearing land for farming and development), industrial agriculture and cement production (cement plants account for 5% of global emissions of CO2).
Conversely, a person who lives close to a degraded environment such as waste dumps, factories that pollute water and air, will suffer from ill health and will make him unable to flourish. Recent human activities that release methane, ozone, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons into the atmosphere include deforestation (burning logged tracts of a forest), mining and burning of fossil fuels, processing human waste, cultivating rice in paddies (Industrial wetlands), fertilizers, industrial production of nylon and nitric acid. Even, “we can anticipate that imperfections in our current methods of storing radioactive waste will result in an increased risk of radiation-induced disease.”
Further, Global plastic waste and managing of plastic waste either at national level or community level is a currently leading debate of all nations. It is because the major cause of recent damage done to earth due to the egoistic attitude of human beings. To say the present problem waste in the form plastic or E-waste is anthropogenic. It this anthropogenic plastic wastes and wastes have threatened almost all spheres of human and non-human life. It has threatened human existence as well as affected the other human spheres like economy, sociology, culture and environment, on which human beings depend for their existence, survival and flourishing. It also results into the loss of biodiversity and sentient beings, which is an essential part of the ecosystems, and that which keep equilibrium of our common home. What has made anthropogenic wastes in the form of plastic and E-waste a ethical issue is that the Earth being a common good, every human and non-human beings of common home, has an equal right to share of its resources. But excessive appropriation of common good and disproportionate use of atmospheric space by rich and developed countries has created rift of disproportionalities in both use and impacts. As a consequence, they violate the principles of justice and equity, causing great and disproportionate harm to human beings of poor and developing countries. In short, present anthropogenic waste crisis is inhumanity of humans towards his humanity which causes million poor and vulnerable to mourn. The analysis shows that ‘what human being has become?’ and ‘what he has done with our common home?’ This raises our eyebrow about human nature. Can human being be so cruel (un-virtuous) and careless with his own counterpart and the place (planet earth) on which he exists, lives and flourishes? Can he think of creating such climatic chaos and catastrophes to his own human fellow being and the common home? Whether we accept or deny recent waste problem is real and caused by human activities. It is the human activity that has brought change in the climate and environment of earth; harming both human and non-human beings of present and future generations.
It is a change that can save us, and our common home from the peril of climate change; but what kind of change? We need a change that can change the change brought by human activities. We need a change that can restore our common home, re-establish harmony1 with nature; a change which can lead to ‘ecozoic’ from the ‘technozoic’; a change which can make our common home habitable to human and non-human being of both for present and future generations. As pope Francis says, we need a change that can “bring about deep change” and influence our mindset and behaviours. Given the gravity of the climate crisis simple solution like a bit of recycling or occasional bicycling will not bring change we intend, though it is necessary to begin with. As Mark Dowd writes “We should not fool ourselves into thinking that ‘deckchair-rearranging’ activities such as giving up plastic bags and changing light bulbs will be enough to put the tanker that is environmental degradation off course.” We need a sort of radically new lifestyles if we are to save our common home for ourselves and for future generations. Again technical assistance will be an inadequate to fit the problem of climate change. We need re-transformation of our relation to environment and climate. We need an attitudinal change that can bring ecological revolution. As Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster point out, “The reality is that the major environmental problems we face today–of which climate change(waste problem) is only one–cannot be solved by means of technological or market-based solutions… what is needed most is a transformation… in how we relate to the planet. What is needed, in other words, is an ecological revolution.”
It is the human being who has created problem and it he who has to fix it again. He has the major responsibility to bring about ecological revolution. He has capacity to set it right. He has potentials to bring it to appropriate temperature–a degree (1.5oC) that brings to its normalcy where existence, survival and flourishing are possible. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home, men and women are still proficient of intervening positively; and all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start. It is neither economic nor technical solution; neither utilitarian nor deontological ideas can solve the climate change problem but an ecological revolution–an ecological revolution that changes outlook towards our common home; a revolution based on character and relationship with nature. As we know climate change is one of the greatest ecological problems that humanity is facing today. It is because climate change is not merely ecological and environmental problem but it is a knot with ethical, political and social concerns. It is difficult to unknot it. As climate change is complex problem loop with many other factors, so also in recent time there are numerous policy instruments and technical solutions for mitigating and responding to climate change has been invented and implemented; but an education is proposed as the most efficient mechanism for changing behavior and improving climate change literacy. Importance of education more particularly of climate change education is increasingly emphasized in the UNFCCC’s article 6, where it encourages Parties to promote, develop and implement educational training and public awareness programmes on climate change and its impacts.
Education first of all, must instill the spirit appreciation, respect and preservation of climate as a part of nature (common home). We human beings, as a part of common home, and causers of plastic waste; need to cultivate a sense of belongingness to nature–not apart from nature but being a part of nature. It is through proper inputs in education that we can appreciate, respect and preserve nature and climate in which we can discover our human identity.
Earth is not a product of the rich countries so that they can claim hegemony over it. The planet Earth and its resources belong to all; and everybody is entitled to own and use them for their wellbeing and prosperity. The membership of the common home is not restricted to human beings alone, but extends also to the non-human beings of the present and future generations. The Earth is the common home of all beings and must be considered as the common good of all. Nobody has the right over it and dump the wastes, wherever one wishes but rather at personal level, institution level, and community level responsibility has to be lived by all. Anyone, who is irresponsible, will have to pay the price for the damage one is doing through is wrong acts towards earth and humanity.