Environment : Time for self Introspection

Humans are hardwired to innovate and align themselves spatially and these choices have changed our surroundings or rather the environment and has changed the landscape of earth for last 200 years. We were able to transform the nature to suit our functional needs and were able to enjoy the nature based solutions. But by doing this we have exposed this earth to the pernicious effects of pollution, climate change, ocean acidification and this has been further worsened due to anthropological emissions and activities. This has resulted in clogged cities, blurred visibility due to air pollution, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, depleting groundwater levels, increasing noise pollution, expanding plastic waste pollution and diminishing biodiversity. The planet is going through a severe crisis and we as the stakeholders cannot turn a blind eye to this as we owe a huge responsibility to our future generation.

Atmosphere which has protected us from severely damaging UV rays and has made life on earth possible by regulating the temperature. But the rising greenhouse gases has led to global warming which has triggered melting of glaciers; breaking away of ice shelf from Antarctic and melting of permafrost which can lead to release of carbon, bacteria and viruses which may bring another incurable disease or pandemic. Similarly, quality of water is degrading as industrial wastes are being dumped into water which encourage eutrophication and thus quantity of oxygen gets depleted and results in death of living organisms. Plastic pollution and microbeads pollution is affecting aquatic environment and is leading to mortality of numerous species and disturbing the growth of young ones. The recent decision of Japan to release contaminated water from Fukushima plant has created concern for fishing communities and several countries, and this is how some people continue to whitewash a grim scenario.

Soil pollution is occurring due to rising landfills, open dumping of wastes, spraying of pesticides and insecticides, overuse and misuse of fertilizers is depleting soil fertility and killing hundreds of useful microbes. The chemical percolates into groundwater and finally it contaminates ground water. Humans have to remember “soil and not oil”, is crucial to the survival of species as it protects our food security. Likewise, the air pollution is so severe that nearly 6 -7 million die prematurely and especially young children are having severe breathing complications and thus it is impacting intellectual and physical development of these children which is the biggest blunder we are committing by depriving them from a healthy future.

We cannot burden our children with the socio-economic costs and give them an uninhabitable earth. The good news is that man has recognized its role and is putting all his efforts to restore this earth. The Stockholm Conference held in 1972, on the “human environment”, brought to light the urgency of tackling environmental problems through various efforts. If we cannot protect environment, at present level of growth, we risk far worse consequences, so we need to be at the forefront of global efforts to combat environmental degradation.

We can do so by incorporating sustainable development in every sector and goal set of our country by necessitating sustainability of environmental systems, economic and social systems. Increasing the efficiency of devices and limiting the use of new coal powered plants can help us achieve carbon net neutrality soon. We certainly should not limit ourselves to increasing renewables but rather going beyond that by encouraging startups and innovators who create nature based solutions, assimilating electricity into transport sector, employing clean technology and green building technology. The Paris Climate agreement of 2015 has set a goal to keep the rise in temperature well below 2o Celsius above the pre-industrial levels but the agreement could not see the light of the day as the mercurial former President Donald Trump could not see the beauty of such a climate resolution, and thus it had to dying a premature death throwing the future of planet into question. Now that, Joe Biden, present President of America is spearheading another movement for renewal of Paris Agreement with support from arch rival Chinese President Xi Jinping there is a silver lining which speaks that the planet has a future.

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