In the recently released Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2017 of the World Economic Forum, India is ranked a dismal #177 of 180 countries worldwide, just above Congo, Bangladesh and Burundi. The EPI report, produced bi-annually by researchers of the top-ranked Yale and Columbia universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, Davos, evaluated the environment protection record of 180 countries on ten parameters — air quality, water and sanitation, heavy metals contamination, biodiversity and habitat, forests, fisheries, climate and energy, air pollution, water resources and agriculture. On all ten indicators, India is rated rock-bottom.
However, we don’t need to refer to the EPI to tell us that 21st century India is confronted with an unprecedented environmental crisis. The media is replete with reports of massive deforestation, urban chaos, environmental pollution and global warming which are devastating Indian industry, agriculture and society. For instance, in the national capital Delhi — certified by the US State Department as the world’s most polluted city of 2017 — air pollution has risen to such dangerously high levels that an increasing number of even well-protected middle class children are reporting respiratory health problems which could adversely affect brain development.
In the cover story this month, we highlight the important issue of what parents can do about reckless environment despoliation and why they need to be in the vanguard of the Go Green global movement. With politicians, planners and the intelligentsia all at sea, there’s rising awareness that the problem has to be tackled at the household, micro level. Seeds of new ideas and sustainable lifestyles need to be sown in the minds of children by parents who have the greatest vested interest in the welfare and well-being of generation next.
There’s much else in this issue of ParentsWorld. Check out the Early Childhood essay on why getting dirty is good for children to help them build robust immune systems, authored by Dr. Chaitali Laddad, founder of the Pediatric Network, Mumbai. Our Health & Nutrition feature advises about ten personal items it’s safer for children not to share. Also read the Interview with Kiran Bir Sethi, the well-known educator and founder of the global Design for Change movement and her husband Geet Sethi, former world billiards champion, on the importance of steadfast parental support for growing children.