Being ‘green’ has become trendy. Numerous ‘eco-friendly’ ads and campaigns for safeguarding our environment has created an awareness among the Indians regarding the environmental issues like global warming, climate change and the harmful effects of carbon emission that our everyday activities, directly and indirectly, leads to. Rising number of people are becoming eco-conscious and are making subtle changes to their lifestyle.
So before you start contributing to the wellbeing of our environment you ought to know about some of the most common Environmental Myths that exist, lest you unknowingly contribute towards Environmental Degradation. Here are the top five green myths:
Myth 1 : Planting Tress Anywhere Helps in Mitigating Global Warming
Fact : While planting trees is generally considered beneficial to reduce the rate of global warming, it has been studied that afforestation in higher latitudes regions may have a net warming effect. In the tropical regions the trees suck the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and through evotranspiration creates low clouds which reflects the heat from the sun and thereby helps in cooling the atmosphere.
But in the temperate and high altitude regions due to the lack of ground water the trees cannot perform evotranspiration on a large scale and the missing clouds lets the dark colored trees to absorb the heat and radiation from the sun, which in turn helps in warming the earth’s atmosphere. So if you are staying in a temperate or boreal zone then planting more trees may contribute more to the global warming.
Myth 2 : Using Recycled Paper is Safe and Results in No Pollution
Fact : Most of us feel good about using recycled papers thinking that we are helping in curbing pollution and environmental degradation, but the process of recycling paper involves the use of caustic chemical materials like chlorine etc. The factories recycling paper creates its own share of pollution by channelizing the toxic residual matters like zinc, lead, copper, cadmium and chromium to lakes and rivers.
Some wastes are also sent to the landfills where they cause more pollution and greenhouse gas emission. So if you want to help nature then just using recycled paper won’t work but reducing the overall consumption of paper, be it virgin paper or recycles paper, will go a long way in preserving our environment.
Myth 3 : Buying Organic food is good for the environment
Fact : If you think that including organic food in your diet you can play a part in reducing global warming then you are mistaken. Growing Organic vegetables takes more lands compared to vegetables grown in a conventional way and as such it results in increased deforestation for agricultural purposes. Moreover the organic foods which you find in the supermarkets are transported from far off places. This suggests that the organic food have higher carbon footprints, as the vehicles used in there transports use fossil fuel.
Thus by buying organic food in large quantities we are creating a demand for which more fossil fuel will be used and carbon emission will increase. Thus we should look for good quality locally grown vegetables rather than organic vegetables that are transported to your super markets from other regions.
Myth 4 : Becoming a Vegetarian will Help in Reducing Carbon Emission
Fact : It is well known that production of meat, like beef, mutton etc, involves large tracts of lands which can otherwise be used for afforestation. Meat production also results in the emission of climate warming gases. But just being vegetarian is not the answer to curbing carbon emission. Most vegetarians, to substitute the missing protein from meat, include large quantities of dairy products like ghee, butter, cheese etc in their diet.
These dairy products have very high carbon footprints as their production involves emission of greenhouse gases. So if you were looking to change your diet preference to help our environment then it is better to be a vegan than a vegetarian.
Myth 5 : Driving a Greener Car Helps in Curbing Carbon Emission
Fact : The so called greener cars may emit low level of carbon but their very production takes a huge amount of energy. Moreover in a country like India where electrical production is done through coal or other high carbon emitting methods, charging your E-cars will result in more carbon emission in the form of power production. So if you are planning to buy a ‘green’ car then make sure you know more about your power source.
By: Avinandan Choudhury