Let us Make our Planet Earth Habitable

Global warming

Suresh Goel

The world came to know of Greta Thunberg in August 2018 as a Swedish High School student who protested outside the country’s Parliament with a sign reading “School Strike for climate change”.  It’s a measure of how much traction her message got among the youth around the world that within a year she got a respectful hearing from the U.S. law-makers.  The impact of her initiative is so great that on Friday, 20th September, 2019 millions of children around the world played truant from school.  Instead of spending a day in the classroom, they spilled out onto the streets to protest government inaction and corporate culpability in climate change.  This is possibly the biggest environment movement to date, led primarily by school students and young people.  They sent a strong message ahead of the U.N. Climate Summit on 23rd September, 2019.

We have to appreciate that global warming, indiscriminate felling of threes, uncontrolled urbanization, emission of greenhouse gases, melting of glaciers are all posing serious threat to our planet and our very existence.

The movement took place in at least 150 countries with the hosting of over 2500 events protesting climate change. The protest spread to India also with demonstrations being held in all major metros, state capitals and even in local centres.

We have to appreciate that global warming, indiscriminate felling of threes, uncontrolled urbanization, emission of greenhouse gases, melting of glaciers are all posing serious threat to our planet and our very existence.  It is apprehended that unless checked, the melting of the glaciers will raise sea levels to such an extent that all the major coastal cities will be flooded making them inhabitable. We are experiencing an unbearable summer, followed by unpredictable behavior of nature in the rainy season. There is a sudden increase in the number of depressions that are hitting Indian shores at regular intervals.  The memories of cyclone PHANI, which caused wanton destruction of lives and properties in Odisha, parts of West Bengal and in neighboring Bangladesh, is vivid.

We are also aware of the devastating fire in the Amazon forest.  It is estimated that the rain forest in Amazon basin accounts for 20% of the global oxygen requirement.  Reports had appeared that the fire was deliberately set to clean the area for handing over to companies for mining. Likewise, allegations are rife that forest area in the Western Ghats, and more specifically, the tribal inhabited areas of Chhattisgarh, are under the close lense of corporate looters. It is a sad tale of industrialization and modern society that the kind of international cooperation that is needed to tackle global warming and climate change has receded with the rising tide of populist nationalism. One example of the indifference of rich countries to the issues is how some of them reneged on the Paris Agreement on climate change to mobilize US $100 billion to help the developing world. Another example is how the battle to put out the Amazon fire was overshadowed by a standoff between the Brazilian President Bolsonaro and French President Macron and other Latin American Head of states.

Back to our own country, we need to have a sustained policy push for renewable energy.  There has to be a long term effort to protect the forest cover that acts as a carbon sink. Unfortunately, populist nationalism has been taking a big toll here too. This playbook shuns the structural reforms needed to rescue the climate which in turn badly affects the economy. Avoiding problems, letting them fester will leave a septic legacy for future generations.  This is why CONRWA supports the call to eliminate “plastic” and appeal to all to make it a national movement from the auspicious day 2nd October, 2019 the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

CONRWA supports the call to eliminate “plastic” and appeal to all to make it a national movement

We welcome the commitment of India given by the Indian Prime Minister in UN that India’s renewable energy target will be increased to 450GW.  We are reassured that India is not only talking about the seriousness of this issue but is adopting a practical roadmap.  We trust that following the Indian example and under the impact of the global movement initiated by the 16 year old Greta Thunberg who arrived in New York ahead of the UN Climate summit aboard her zero emission sailboat form Europe as a protest against high emission impact of the aviation industry will finally lead to a global coordination for a sustained fight against disruptive climatic changes.  We know how corporate are sacrificing priceless values of our climate for making an unimaginable amount of money.  Greta told with humility “Please save your praise. We do not want it. Do not invite us here to tell us how inspiring we are without actually doing anything about it”.

We have lot of issues.  But we have to ensure that our planets remain habitable for us and generations to come. We have already made a criminal offence by destroying our neighborhood, making the place less habitable for generations to come.  Let us take a vow that we should do something positive to make the climate movement really effective so that the planet become really habitable to our kids who skipped school for building up a largest ever climate movement.  CONRWA salutes Greta Thunberg, all our sons and daughters who participated in the movement on 20th September throughout the world including India.  Let us now do our bit in our own neighborhood, in our workplace and in our house.