The long night has ended. The chilling winds, the frigid temperatures and the wintry snow that have enveloped the world is beginning to thaw. Every surviving species on the planet is desperately waiting for the time of spring.
Instead of the tranquil and verdant spring that people were looking forward to, they were witness to torrential rains, non-seasonal storms near the coasts and heatwaves in the hinterland. How would you one among the many living in the society react to it?
I would like to assume after the initial sense of shock and a bit of panic, everyone would get their collective heads together to understand the how’s and why’s of the phenomenon and devise a strategy to combat the causes of the issue effectively.
But what are we doing about here in the real world, on planet Earth?
The planet has received dire warnings and disastrous reports from the United Nations (UN) informing the world that we have about 12 years to save the planet before climate causes irreversible damage to our planet.
Are we in a panic about it?
Do we understand the magnitude of the risk all our lives are in?
Looking at the functioning of the heads of state and their governments across the world at different levels of hierarchy, it does not seem so. The glaciers and ice caps are melting, nations across the world are being battered by storms and tornados, cities across the globe are running out of water and the air we breathe is highly polluted.
But authorities in the higher rungs of power are either still debating issues at conferences or putting their heads in the sand like an ostrich.
Today, June 5, is celebrated world wide as the World Environment Day. For the movers and shakers in the society, it is an opportunity for a photo-op to get themselves clicked planting a sapling.
The theme chosen for this years World Environment Day is ‘Beating Air Pollution’. Clean air to breathe is the right of living being on this planet. But today, it is also a concern. Why so? According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report in March 2014, it was estimated that 7 million people annually died a premature death due to air pollution. This was in 2014. Now, it is 2019 and the problem has only gotten worse.
For India, combating air pollution is the need of the hour. In the last couple of years large swathes of the Northern part of India have suffered from smog and air pollution every winter. Specially, the national capital of New Delhi. It cuts a pretty sorry picture to the world.
In 2017, a stop gap measure of a Air Action Plan was announced to reduce the levels of pollution. Whatever good it did was only on paper. The city suffered a similar fate the next winter as well. Apart from the menace of air pollution dogging Northern parts of the country, India also has the dubious distinction of housing 14 of the 20 most polluted cities on the planet.
The hits just keep coming. If that was not enough bad news, I encountered an article during my daily morning ritual of reading the newspaper, stating that the delay in monsoon was due to air pollution.
Till couple of days ago, the victims of pollution I knew were just health and economy. Now we let pollution assume such gigantic proportions that now it has begun to effect climatic patterns as well.
If this does not make us panic, then we are doomed!
So before signing off and before wishing you a Happy World Environment Day, I would like to quote climate activist Greta Thunberg, “I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I fear everyday and then I want you to act.”