OPINION: The Global Environment Fiasco

Global Environment Fiasco

“Earth provides ENOUGH to satisfy every mans need but, NOT every mans greed!”

The warm and majestic green landscapes, the glory of the snow crowned mountains, the pristine maiden rivers and lakes… (wait let’s fast forward)… is a matter of history.

Does that not give you goose bumps?

The clarion bells keep ringing over the degradation of various flora and fauna, and now the scenario is only graver. The very topography of our land has been altered, or rather plundered!

Being an adventure seeker, I have been visiting various places especially across the Himalayas but it is a sad sight now. The beautiful pockets of nature are being replaced by plastic bottles, litter, dams, rapid construction, luxurious hotels and resorts – making these areas dull and grey! The irony of the situation is that the luxury and modernization that we are trying to achieve from such rampant dissection of these ecologically sensitive areas, is absolutely menacing.

There is an increase in the occurrence of natural calamities and higher likelihood of pandemics. Man has been reckless in the past decade – ignoring guidelines, exploiting natural resources and taking full advantage of the political bureaucratic nexus! It has aggravated the conjectured dire consequences. Development is taking place at the price of the destruction of nature. The spoilage of the Dal Lake causing the locals to abandon their means of livelihood, the soil erosion due to flooding of the Brahmaputra, loss of life and property due to floods almost every few years across various states!

Not only within the country but all across the globe, there is a drastic change in the climate due to devious human activity, thereby altering ecosystems callously. The tsunami in Thailand, the hurricane Katrina and the Sandy Storm in the United States are some examples. There is increase in population and decrease in natural resources. Today deforestation and global warming have reached to such a level that there is a constant environment alarm beeping, via natural disasters.

The World Bank report on climate change warns that a warmer world will trap millions in poverty. Underdeveloped nations will majorly bear the brunt. A scientific report commissioned by the World Bank named “Turn down the Heat”, looks at the possible impact of global warming on the most vulnerable regions of the world. According to it there will be unusual summer heat extremes and water availability in Pakistan and Nepal will be too low for self sufficiency in food production by 2050. Most coastal reefs are projected to be extinct, with the loss of associated fisheries and coastal protection. There would be loss of 41-51% of unique plant species in South Africa and Namibia. The report also projects that 33% of the Kolkata metropolitan area is projected to be exposed to flooding of more than 25 cm in the event of extreme rainfall pattern by 2050.

It is high time to protect our environment.  The power and beauty of the natural world cannot be tamed – man is a fool to do so! There is much said and written about environment catastrophe but it is time to pull up the socks. Little things of common sense can go a long way in making a difference. For instance, using buckets and pails for bathing is better than using showers, turn off your vehicle’s engine at red light, reducing red meat consumption or vegan dietary habits, reusing and recycling, using eco-friendly products or reducing the flow of water when washing something can help in restoring the lost environmental balance. Another interesting concept to save our environment is using creativity as a tool to fix the problem. Great creativity can make something out of nothing, a monotonous idea into a great novelty!  We need to think differently and out of the box, thereby attracting and involving the human mind to do various things to save our environment.

 Apart from this, green societies should be given impetus. These are an association of persons, business and organizations that create local and global support systems developing sustainable resource based communities. Grooming green societies is grooming culture of optimum utilization. Last but not the least, both our central and state governments should not merely provide financial help but also devise an adequate plan and policy. A workable solution is the need of the hour because – TO MOULD THE HISTORY OF OUR FUTURE, WE NEED TO MOULD THE ENVIRONMENT OF OUR PRESENT HARMONIOUSLY!

NUGGETS of LIFE: Amid bits and bytes, listen to the eco beep

There is a whirlwind around each one of us; a whirlwind of 0s and 1s with a thundering vortex of beeps and bangs

My daughter would not eat without watching her favourite cartoon show. On days she would not sleep without listening to the soft symphonies of nature with birds chirping in the background that I often play on my mobile. When she dozes off and I turn off that music, a guilt stings me. We have transitioned from a generation who would casually listen to the birds singing in our gardens and backyards while doing our daily chores to a generation that experiences it in a secondhand recorded way of bits and bytes.

The truth is inspite of having all the luxuries and comforts of technology, the next generation of humankind is perhaps the farthest from the more powerful and real luxury and charm of pristine nature. There is a whirlwind around each one of us; a whirlwind of 0s and 1s with a thundering vortex of beeps and bangs. The problem is that we’ve got so used to it that we do not realize we are not immune to it. Somewhere along that road, we have stopped listening to the eco beep – the symptoms and alarm of our degrading environment. More so, we have also stopped addressing the vitality of our own entire being.

Rather than working on our inner being, we are working too much on the outside on our planet. Little more done and we will come crashing down with a grim scenario already predicted by the central agencies with no groundwater in the next 20 years in many regions. With species facing extinction, mountains blasted and dissected for commercial projects and catastrophic global warming, the time for words is over now. It’s reached a point where substantial action is required at each individual level.

We have been bitten and bitten quite badly by the snake of rampant consumerism whose venom irrespective of our efforts is spreading slowly. If we introspect our daily habits it comes down to a two-step capsule – use and discard. Every time a new phone comes in the market, everyone wants to devour the latest and discard the well functioning old one. Interestingly, these tech friendly fads have market strategies as their bedrock that drives us to decide unconsciously in almost all the matters. It is an issue we do not want to address. Today, we are relying so much on technology from tracking the time to the security of our bank accounts, that there are too many loose ends that can be threatening.

However, there is another truth we can’t dust of, and that is, we can’t really give up our mobile phones and technology in its various forms. It cannot be done certainly! The tech-world and science have a pertinent place in history as well as in making our daily lives better. They deserve credit, but the point is atleast we should be cautious of becoming the new Don Quixote – living a life of illusion, self created problems and staying stuck in a virtual world bereft of reality.

Alteast, we should not forget the art of living in the moment and connecting with nature. Perhaps, we have forgotten precisely that but time is passing by and a cure is needed because at the end would we have the luxury of an author to correct the faults of his first draft?

I don’t think so.

Published in Hindustan Times on 27.9.2019