Time To Take Action On Climate Change Before It’s Too Late - Eastern Mirror
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Time to Take Action on Climate Change Before It’s Too Late

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By EMN Updated: Jun 14, 2024 11:52 pm

Introduction

Today, climate change is one of the most grave concerns for the entire planet Earth. Almost every day we hear news of climate crisis and disasters induced by climate change across the globe. Recently, the fierce cyclone Remal affected the Bay of Bengal region and most of the north-eastern states of India. Subsequently, incessant rainfall led to floods and landslides that displaced thousands of people, damaged enormous properties, affected transportation systems, and claimed some precious human lives. Likewise, on May 24, 2024, in Papua New Guinea, a deadly landslide buried more than 2000 people alive and caused major destruction.

On the other hand, many people are dying due to heat waves in various parts of India. Researchers have found out that nearly 80% of the world’s population has experienced abnormal heat since last May due to human-caused global warming. However, despite witnessing all these effects, we continue to exploit natural resources and destroy the ecological balance in numerous ways. Therefore, it is vital for all the concerned citizens and authorities to take necessary actions to protect our environment and ecology before it is too late.

Global Warming

Studies have said that global warming is the main cause of imbalance and changes in climatic conditions. The burning of fossil fuels is one of the major contributors of heat-trapping gases (GHGs) to the atmosphere. As a result, the world is experiencing extreme weather events viz. heat waves, frequent cyclones, etc. Aggressive industrialisation, modernisation, urbanisation, unsustainable farming, and unconscious environmental lifestyles are some factors that contribute to global warming. The outcomes affect the entire planet Earth. The melting of glaciers is another serious issue caused by global warming today.

Melting of Glacier

Venezuela was once home to six glaciers but the last remaining one too melted this year, making it the first country in the Americas to lose all of its glaciers. Likewise, there is a rapid loss of ice masses in Antarctica and Greenland at an average rate of about 420 billion tons per year, causing sea level rise. Then it increases coastal erosion and elevates storms, as warm air and ocean temperatures create frequent and intense coastal storms like cyclones and typhoons.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also warned that melting glaciers might also release many ancient viruses that were once locked up in them and permafrost for centuries. When such viruses and bacteria are reawakened, they could infect the local wildlife and outspread to humans with the potential to affect global health. This may lead to the next pandemic. Some experts predict that it can be more deadly than COVID-19. Hence, they stressed paying enough attention to glacier’s microorganisms and protect the environment.

Action at Local and Personal Level

Many tend to think that global warming is only a world issue and fail to take responsibility at the local and personal level. Indeed, it is a global issue with a wide subject to cover, but there are some practical actions that one should be concerned about. One should take accountability for one’s action as we live together on this mother earth. For example, a simple irresponsible act of throwing trash into the river can affect many things like water pollution, annihilate aquatic life, threaten water ecosystem, and the possibility of causing floods that threaten the lives of people inhabiting near the river bank, lake, or sea. One must understand that a small act towards the environment can impact climate change. So in a progressive society, one should change the mindset and avoid throwing waste everywhere. One should inculcate the good practice of disposing waste in a proper trash bin.

Today, our society has one serious problem that is many are aware of the ecological crisis; rules and regulations are framed to protect wildlife and its environment, but not many follow them. Hunting wild animals, deforestation, mining, and throwing of garbage into the rivers and drains are still rampant. So, awareness is still not enough. Action is needed. Without it, many flora and fauna will soon go into extinction; many freshwater bodies and land will be polluted which will in turn damage ecological balance and our health. At the same time, to prevent floods, landslides and soil erosion, nature needs grass, trees, and rocks/stones to control the fast-running water.

Action at Government/Concern Authority Level

Despite having many preventive laws to safeguard the environment, the government doesn’t usually reach the grassroots level in terms of implementation. On World Environment Day, which falls on June 5, officials take up activities like planting trees, carry out cleanliness drives, conduct seminars and speak about the importance of saving the earth. That’s not enough. They also should sincerely examine and execute work at the grassroots level in collaboration with the concerned local authorities. There is a need to have a proper dumping site and recycling plants not only in cities but also in smaller towns and villages.

To prevent human-made disasters, improper construction of roads, bridges, houses, etc. should be checked. Industrial set ups that do not follow environmental guidelines should be scrutinised and banned. Segregation of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste is also necessary. Use of single-use plastics like disposal cups, plates, spoons, etc. during functions and programmes should be discouraged. Replacing alternatives like eco-friendly products or traditional practices like banana leaves should be encouraged. Public should be encouraged to adopt the 5Rs principles — Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Recover. These are a few practical things that can help improve our environment, health, and ecological sustainability.

Action at Religion/Faith Level

Although different religions have different believes, we all share the same Earth. It is a common home for everyone. Therefore, all must learn to respect and safeguard the earth from excessive exploitation, because natural calamities don’t differentiate anyone based on religion, caste, gender, race, colour, ethnicity, tribe, class, etc.- all will face the consequences. The Acting General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Rev. Prof. Fr. Ioan Sauca had warned the church leaders and some religious leaders present at the 11th Assembly of WCC in Karlsruhe, Germany, about the repercussions of exploiting the world. He strongly appealed to all the church leaders and religious leaders to take an active part in saving the creation, saying that the faith community can play a tremendous role in imparting awareness.

It is indispensable for all religious institutions to actively take part in saving lives and the environment, as many diseases and deaths are related to climate change. The poor suffers the most. So, religious leaders need to teach their congregation the values of love, respect, and care for nature. Giving ecological sermons only on ‘Green Sunday’ is not enough. The role and responsibility for eco-sustainable life should be reminded often.

Conclusion

It’s good to remember that to change something, one needs to start from within oneself and one’s community. Individually, one should adopt the mission LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment: the sustainable and environmentally conscious way of living). At the community level, proper implementation of laws, good governance, and nudging the people to adopt an eco-sustainable way of life is the need of the hour. It is the law of nature that every creature should co-exist with one another for a better environment and ecological balance. Therefore, the action for ecological sustainability is no longer an option but a Survival Necessity to protect, preserve, and restore ecosystems, and natural resources.

Bevei K. S.

The writer has done his Master of Theology in Social Analysis

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By EMN Updated: Jun 14, 2024 11:52:08 pm
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