April 22 is celebrated as the Earth Day or International Mother Earth Day (UN) all over the world. Events in about 192 countries are held to commemorate the day – mostly related to the environment concerns and sustenance of life on the planet. As of now, one of the major concerns for nations worldwide is the irreversible change in the climate and its impacts. Much mobilization in the last few years has been on informing the people about the threats the world faces and repeated failures to have consensus among the nations to reverse the trend of climate change. In Jammu and Kashmir, it is an occasion to reflect upon our own commitment and shared responsibility to protect the environment. Lest it be reserved to students and teachers only, many of the debates need to be taken up with the people, common man. What is our share, as individuals, to safeguard the environment and protect the species that have as much right on this planet as we have? A little earlier, we heard about the Green Srinagar Initiative, a drive wherein thousands of saplings were planted. Other than the government, what was the contribution of the people, if there was any? Citing conflict, people in Kashmir often reject or show least interest in these drives, at time claiming that there are more important issues to be resolved than a plantation drive. Such thinking exacerbates the situation, as people lose on almost every front. They don’t apply such thinking when they get ill or are affected by the environment, and start blaming everything except themselves. Though the priorities have to be set straight, but several important issues should not be brushed under the carpet just because people don’t like to share the burden or because of they are weak in will. This is our state and this is where we, our children, their children and so on will live. The choice lies with us – to make this place pits or to make it better. People have been blinded to convert the green and clean state into concrete jungle, in which the government also has played its role. Lands for agriculture and even orchards are being cleared to erect residential and business structures. People are hardly bothered about rising pollution levels, at even stone’s throw from where they live. Forests are being mutilated, thousands of vehicles added every year, tonnes of polythene and plastic dumped to make the vale future waste basin… and none of this appears to have any special significance to the people.