The environment has taken a serious beating. Pollution levels and ecological degradation have reach unprecedented levels. Human development has taken a huge toll. We need to understand the problems and fix them quickly to avoid a catastrophy. We must adopt sustainability in our lifestyle to heal the earth. Ushi Fatma, Co-founder and Associate Editor, Greenubuntu caught up with Farhat Hasan, Chairperson of the International School in Patna, in a candid chat. Here are the excerpts:

Ushi Fatma: What do you think are the major challenges facing the environment today?

Farhat Hasan: Man, sitting on the pinnacle of technological achievements, has brought challenges of pollution of all kinds, degradation of soil, generation of unsustainable wastes, global warming, and unfortunately, the list goes on. Man’s incessantly growing greed for self-prosperity and technological advances have brought massive influx of natural disasters.

Ushi Fatma: What do you do for the environment in your personal capacity?

Farhat Hasan: ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ Believing in the essence of this quote, I personally think and believe that protecting our planet starts with me.

To bring little changes to help protecting our Earth, I do simple things like cutting down on what we throw away, buying less plastic bags, using reusable bags, following the three R’s, etc.

As an Educator, I help my pupils be aware of environmental issues and enable them to understand how important and valuable our natural resources are. I do this through various activities and campaigns in the school.

Ushi Fatma: How do you think we can bring about a change?

Farhat Hasan: There is no denying fact that our environment is changing because of human interference and/or mistreatment meted out to the planet. Nevertheless, we ought to understand that as our environment changes, so does the need to become increasingly aware of the problems that surround it grows manifold. So, awareness among all should be the first and foremost strategy for all.

Secondly, the mutual understanding of the ‘give and take’ care ratio must be poised between the Earth’s natural resources and humans by us. Exploitation of nature must be stopped.

A school is a miniature society. If we train our children to remain connected with nature and stay committed to the welfare of our  planet, that is poised on the brink of severe environmental crisis, we will gain more attention from the same generations of youth. Thus, by raising awareness among such age groups, we can form a good chain of consciousness at the grassroot level, helping them to keep nature at the heart of everything they do and to contribute to a more self conscious and greener world.

Ushi Fatma: How close are you to nature?

Farhat Hasan: Frankly speaking, I have always seen nature and myself as inseparable. Nature is everywhere and I am a part of it. Nature heals me and is captivating. As a home maker, I have always believed in the quote of Richard Louv, ” The greener the setting, the more the relief.”

So, I love to be surrounded by lush green vegetation at my home.  It gives me strength and fills me to the brim with positive energy. Growing and taking care of my garden heals me. Just being surrounded by plants, rejuvenates and inspires me. Ah, what great healing power trees have!

Ushi Fatma: You have always been involved in green initiatives. Tell us more about them. Also, how would you explain sustainability and what it means to you?

Farhat Hasan: To me it simply means, the ability of humans to save natural resources for an ecologically balanced environment wherein caring for the planet we humans can coexist together. The important thing is CARE for our relationship with our environment and planet.

Ushi Fatma: How do you practice sustainability in your life?

Farhat Hasan: I personally try to minimize the use of home appliances as they contribute to carbon dioxide and other harmful gases to the atmosphere. Besides, I’d like to mention that all my activities aimed at human-nature welfare.

I make my best efforts to conserve energy and water. Turning off appliances when not in use is a good way of protecting nature.

I prefer locally grown  food to packed food. I also avoid bottled water.

Your own kitchen garden is an amazing place to invest in. Grow your veggies. I also take care while buying plants for my garden and check whether they are drought tolerant.

I use reusable things.

I share and donate clothes.

Ushi Fatma: Is there a conflict between development and environmental conservation?

Farhat Hasan: Compromise is the word that came to my mind reading the question. It is saddening that even the smallest act of development demands a heavy price. Even though the world is in need of development on many fronts, we cannot afford callous disregard to the well-being of nature and its importance in our lives. Some questions may arise as how to feed and fulfill the needs of the teeming population. I agree that development is a priority. But what good is the progress if the environment that helps us live is destroyed and polluted to a level of no return? We have to think.

About Ushi Fatma

Author at I am a freelance journalist, environment activist, fashion blogger, and a short film and documentary maker. My association with Taru Mitra, an organisation working hard for the environment in India, taught me the value of nature preservation. I want to make the world a better place for future generations. Being a mother, I know how important it is to do that. I love nature, art and creativity.