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Editorial

You, me and Climate Change

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By EMN Updated: Apr 15, 2014 1:22 am
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[dropcap]A[/dropcap] couple of weeks ago, my four 3.5 year old nephew attending pre -school came home with a project to prepare a chart for World Water Day. The assignment was to find the right pictures and make a slogan which would then be put up in the classroom.
It took a while to figure out the right slogan that a three and half year old will remember and also far less understand ! But we as a family decided to tackle this challenge. A little family conference followed, with each available member (eight present on that day, we are more than twelve members in two neighboring houses) pitching in their ideas, After an enthusiastic start for about half an hour and about four slogans we finally decided on, I was left with the baby and bathwater! But by then my nephew had grasped that whatever homework he had brought home that day was important enough to have the family talk about it!
The next step was to explain to him the meaning of the slogan. It had to be easy and catchy for him to remember. We settled for “Water is Life, save water, save Life.To demonstrate the slogan was the tricky bit. How do you communicate the importance of “every drop” of water and that every drop is life?? For the exercise We found a dropper (from an empty medicine bottle) cleaned it and set about filing a small 10ml tumbler (those that come with children’s liquid medicines). He got the idea pretty soon as we went about filling a glass of water (which was labeled ‘OCEAN’) with several of these 10 ml tumblers.
Next was to make him understand “Water is Life”!! I waited for the next opportunity that he would ask for a glass of water. One did’nt have to wait long on a summers’ day in Dimapur.
While handing him the water I made him say “Water is Life”, which he did promptly and gulped the contents of the glass.
That done I could then go on explaining the slogan “Water is Life, save water , save Life”.
It did’nt take a moment longer for him to grasp what he was saying and to be connected to what he was uttering.
When we talk of climate change, we tend to get overwhelmed with the statistics and the terminologies of “greenhouse gas emissions” and lose ourselves, the layman I mean.
But climate change does’nt have to get complicated. It begins and ends with all of our individual actions big and small, and this can happen when we are connected to our environment and see that every action of our has a repercussion in the larger global context. We are those “drops of water in the mighty ocean”
Big when you are in a position to influence sustainable and environment friendly development plans, and to promote such decisions over faster, maybe more lucrative deals when viewed in short term goals and not for long term. Implementing laws, pollution control in rivers and transportation departments , industrial pollution etc ..
Small steps even for those who are in a position to take on the big acts, include our daily assessment of how we are utilizing water and energy resources, at home and at work. How we dispose of our garbage, reusing materials, keeping a check on consumerism so the products don’t consume us, switching off lights and fans when not in use, repairing leaking taps and keeping it close while you brush your teeth, minimizing the need for pre “bottled water” and throwing the empty bottles anywhere and everywhere.
There is so much to discover about climate change but because it deals with the subject of nature and its varied components one thing any conservation enthusiast will first realize is that nature is not to be messed around with and least of all for our greed. It is larger than all of human life on this planet. It reigns supreme and equated with the infinite power of God.
It is only man who is dilly dallying with his decision to turn the clock around before we create for ourselves such a mess we won’t have time enough to reverse. The latest reports from the head of the UN’s expert panel on Climate Change says that the cost of keeping global warming in check is “relatively modest,” but only if the world acts quickly to reverse the buildup of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere”.Such gases, mainly CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, rose on average by 2.2 per cent a year in 2000-2010, driven by the use of coal in the power sector, officials said as they launched the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change’s report on measures to fight global warming.
Without additional measures to contain emissions, global temperatures is expected to rise about 3 degrees to 4 degrees Celsius (5 degrees to 7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 compared to current levels, the panel said.This will spell catastrophic for regions in the foothills of the glaciers and for civilizations by the banks of melting snow and glacier fed rivers. The volume of water that will overflow in these areas will cause untold volume of floods and damage and affect hundreds of millions of lives.
“The longer we delay the higher would be the cost,” IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri told The Associated Press after the panel’s weeklong session in Berlin. He says, despite the point he makes, even now, the cost is not something which is going to bring about a major disruption of economic systems. It’s well within our reach
The IPCC, an international body assessing climate science, projected that shifting the energy system from fossil fuels to zero- or low-carbon sources including wind and solar power would reduce consumption growth by about 0.06 percentage points per year, adding that that did not take into account the economic benefits of reduced climate change.
“The loss in consumption is relatively modest,” Pachauri said.
The IPCC said the shift would entail a near-quadrupling of low-carbon energy, which in the panel’s projections included renewable sources as well as nuclear power and fossil fuel-fired plants equipped with technologies to capture some of the emissions.
Coal emissions have declined in the US as some power plants have switched to lower-priced natural gas but they are fueling economic growth in China and India.
The choice is in our hands, but time is ticking by and every day delayed is a day denied for change. For those who feel far removed from the debates taking place in UN buildings and far away European or Western nations , it will do us good to remind ourselves that it is the steps we take collectively which can have an influence on the decisions taken by our village heads, community, society and state governing bodies and national leaders.
As we Vote for Change 2014, we can also vote for change in our own attitude towards Climate Change.
Taming carbon emissions will come at a cost, which the report estimated would clip some 0.06 percentage points annually off growth in global consumption — which would otherwise have been about 1.6-3.0 per cent per year over the century.

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By EMN Updated: Apr 15, 2014 1:22:01 am