Nature’s Future, Our Future
The report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has set alarm bells ringing. The world is now much warmer than pre-industrial levels and soon global warming may touch the 1.5 degree Celsius mark. It is a critical mark as that will mean that the world has no time to combat this menace. Already, the inhabitants of earth have started feeling the heat. Last July was the hottest since 1901. Till now the effect of global warming has been scattered. In some places unusually heavy rainfall has been witnessed for the last few years, while in others, landslides have become more frequent. These are the results of global warming. Time has now come to face the challenge on a war footing, lest our beautiful planet may face irreparable destruction.
This is not a recent phenomenon. For quite some time, nature has been venting its anger over destructive activities in the name of development. This year even the most developed continent Europe faced nature’s fury like never before. While some places of the advanced continent were extremely hot, others faced unprecedented floods. The Indian subcontinent too, which is considered one of the richest in terms of natural wealth, is also facing the heat. Rampant destruction of natural wealth has turned the Himalayas into a precarious place where sudden floods or landslides have become the order of the day. The ecosystem in the Western Ghats has turned fragile for the same reason. Karnataka has been experiencing heavy rains for three consecutive years causing floods and destruction. Despite everyone knowing that human activities are the cause for the change in climate, unfortunately no steps have been taken to curb the destruction. The effects of global warming can be seen from Uttarakhand to the Northeastern states, from Maharashtra to Kerala. The destruction is forcing the people residing in rural areas to shift to urban areas in search of safe shelter.
This year, we have read reports of floods in China and Europe, devastating wildfires in Australia, Brazil and the United States of America. According to studies, the water holding capacity in the atmosphere increases by seven per cent with each degree rise in temperature. This results in heavy rainfall and consequently causes floods. At the same time, sea level also rises which causes erosion in coastal areas. Clearly, this is not a problem being faced by a particular nation or region. The entire world is at the mercy of nature’s fury. A number of summits have already taken place and treaties have also been signed. But apart from such photo opportunities, the world has not taken any substantial steps to combat the threat. Developed countries are not willing to put a cap on their carbon emission level despite being the biggest producers of greenhouse gases. On the other hand, developing countries are not interested in containing carbon emission on the pretext that it will slow the rate of development in their respective countries. The situation now is such that nations should no longer indulge in one-upmanship, rather all nations should work unitedly to save Earth.