The pressure of the degradation of the environment is increasing as the days slide away. Banners, hoardings, advertisements, seminars, and political schemes have become very common which has in-turn made them more susceptible to miss out on. To counter this problem, most environmentalists have taken to a series of measures to raise awareness about the graveness of the situation.
These ways include involving all stakeholders like religious denominations, educating students about environmental problems at all levels, and using modern means of commutation like mobile phones to create awareness. However, the most popular among these is running.
These environment runs not only promote environmental awareness but also promote public participation in environmental decision-making and facilitate access to justice in environmental matters.
One such concerned citizen is Pavel Cenkl, an alumnus of the Northeastern University . In 2015, he set out on a 150-mile solo run across Iceland, putting in 14-hour days. His environment run got due recognition with a series of lectures and slide shows projected across the country.
His massive success encouraged him to gear up for another run. In 2017, Cenkl set his goal of 500 miles across Scandinavia, all of it above the Arctic Circle. The run was a very challenging task in itself considering the harsh cold, the high-speed winds, and the altitude. On top of this, he had to carry his tent, sleeping bag, food, clothing, and cooking gear as he passed the mountains, snowfields, arctic tundra, and raging rivers.
“It could get difficult at times,” says Cenkl with characteristic understatement. Understandably, he faced a whole set of problems like getting lost in chest-deep snow, a leg injury, and a very serious panic attack.
“One slip and it would be over. It’s different doing this kind of thing with a group, but I was alone.” Cenkl said, talking about his experience. “I’m telling a story about the Earth’s resilience, using my run as a vehicle. It provides me with a bully pulpit. I’m a teacher, and I wanted a broader voice.”
This newly founded understanding of the connection between humans and the environment helped him realise that the actual goal should be to remove humans from the centre of the conversation and look at humanity as one part of a much larger system.
Just as Forrest Gump realised his internal dispute and found answers to the conflicts inside his head when he ran and ran for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours, humans can at least raise a little awareness about environmental issues by running for a few days.