Global Warming - Are we taking our planet for granted?
Global Warming has been a burning topic since my school days. And it remained so over the years. As modern education goes, too much theory with no real exposure to on the ground realities - this is leading many of us to assume this process as something natural and inconsequential. Why should I care if the planet heats a few degrees? What if few ice caps melt? If you think hard it really doesn't matter for the planet. But it does matter for what is known as 'Life'.
For a common man, rise in 1 or 2 degrees might not seem very threatening. Because he/she assume it as analogous to everyday variations in temperature that they experience. But what we miss out is that the issue at hand is 'average' temperature. And even half a degree variation means a lot. The Paris Agreement of December 2015 called for holding the ongoing rise in global average temperature to “well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels,” while “pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C.” Wondering what difference does that 0.5 °C make?
At 1.5 °C, the study found that tropical coral reefs stand a chance of adapting and reversing a portion of their die-off in the last half of the century. But at 2 °C, the chance of recovery vanishes until getting wiped out by the year 2100. Well, what if they disappear? That apparently would be the start of the destruction of life on earth because they constitute the beginning of a food chain that even we are part of! At 1.5 °C rise, the Mediterranean area would have about 9 percent less fresh water available. At 2° C, the water deficit nearly doubles. Wheat and maize harvest in the tropics fall by as much. Corn fields will have no corn on them.
For long, people denied that ice caps are even melting because of the lack of "visible" evidence. But that lasted only until NASA established that the thickest parts of ice are melting the fastest. What's more amusing today is that the average rise of 1.5-2° could mean even a 5-10° rise in temperature for a short period of time! Now, does that make you feel some heat? I'd be glad if it did. Unfortunately, there still are people - at very high levels of responsibilities - who deny the very existence of Global warming.
The seriousness on this issue was brought out recently by Cristina Mittermeier through her video of a starving Polar Bear. Polar Bears hunt from a layer of ice. Disappearing ice caps have left them no space to hunt leaving most of them starving and some even venturing out to human habitats and trash yards for survival. What if they become extinct? Well, we should be ashamed of asking that question about those majestic creatures - for endangering them for no fault of theirs. But their extinction means no cap on seal population - which mean large scale consumption of fishes in the artic region leaving the entire ecosystem imbalanced!
Even though the above video is sickening to watch, it has helped to pull at least a few of us out of slumber and denial of a grave problem. But what we still lack is core action. All the images, videos, social media agitations, etc help to create awareness. But until and unless that awareness transforms into action on the ground, we are heading for a doom.
What can be done?
I'm pretty sure most of us have heard about various slogans and campaigns until now. But this is the part that needs utmost priority today - action! All talks and no action has been our modus operandi for so long. There are two aspects to action:
- Personal level
- Policy level
At a personal level, I'm sure you are doing your best(if you're not, time to start!) - let that be saving water, electricity, using renewables, using eco-friendly homes and tools, reducing waste, planting trees, etc. On top of that, if you are trying to influence your friends and families to follow these - Kudos to you! But all said and done, let us understand one thing - This is an issue that needs policy level changes - and that too really soon! What can a common man do? Unfortunately, many of us still think the role of a citizen in a democracy is just to vote(though there are few who even don't do that). Dear mate, if you think so, wake up. It is not politicians who are corrupt. It is our mentality that let them be.
We fight for our rights. Why don't we extend that to our responsibilities as well? We do have a few responsibilities for our government and our planet, don't we? Let us ensure our voice is echoed a thousand times or more until heard! We need pressure groups, special interest groups and media influencers active across different parts of the country. What more - we have citizens participation portal from the government of India - Join, contribute and influence decision making. Invite people and gain momentum. Everything in a democracy ultimately lies in public opinion - if you think you can't you are right. If you think you can, you are right again.
What do you think? Do you already work with or know of such pressure groups(please do avoid the ones with vested interests and unaccounted foreign funding - that's a topic for another discussion)? Let's collaborate! Leave your comment below.
Also, Check Out the new Campaign merchandise for Global Warming theme