NEW DELHI: Describing environment protection as a "pressing challenge", Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for the need to spread public awareness about the issue and said it is vital to encourage research and innovation on subjects relating to the environment.
Modi, in a column published Wednesday for some dailies, said people need to talk, write, debate, discuss and deliberate as much as possible on questions relating to the environment.
"At the same time, it is vital to encourage research and innovation on subjects relating to the environment. This is when more people will know about the pressing challenges of our times and ways to mitigate them," he said.
He said human beings and nature have a very special relationship and the first civilisations were established on the banks of rivers.
"Societies that live in harmony with nature flourish and prosper. Today human society stands at an important crossroads. The path that we take hereon will not only determine our wellbeing but also that of the generations who will inhabit our planet after us."
"The imbalances between our greed and necessities have led to grave ecological imbalances," he said.
The prime minister cautioned that people can either accept this, go ahead with things as if it is business as usual, or take corrective actions.
While the world is talking about climate change, the call for climate justice has also reverberated from India, he said.
Modi said climate justice is about safeguarding the rights and interests of the poor and marginalised sections of society who are often the biggest sufferers from the menace of climate change.
Referring to the United Nations' Champions of the Earth Award presented to him, he said while he was extremely humbled at receiving the honour, he believes that this award is not for an individual.
Instead, it is a recognition of the Indian culture and values, which have always placed emphasis on living in harmony with Mother Nature, he said.
"It was a proud moment for every Indian to see India's proactive role in mitigating climate change being acknowledged and appreciated," he wrote.