Climate change has been a hovering blimp ever since humanity began the ascent to industrialisation. While the first signs of climate change were of little cause for worry, as time passed, these signs became more vital, and rather hard to ignore. The world is witness to global warming and allied effects, and we are awfully close to the point of no return. With global leaders such as Donald Trump denying the truth of climate change, there is a long way to go before we tread the road of damage reversal. However, efforts continue as countries signatory to the Paris Agreement have began to comply with sanctions and are making efforts towards utilization of alternate energy resources, reducing their carbon footprint and the reducing the usage of non-biodegradable items- plastic especially.
While the increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the subsequent warming of the atmosphere, thereby causing the cycle of climate change is one side of the matter, it is but inevitable to wonder about the other side- dealing with the effects. The effects of climate change are vast, some even remain undiscovered. Scaling down to a more immediate problem, India’s pre-monsoon weather has presented a shocking new reality. It all began, perhaps, with the temperatures in Pakistan and surrounding areas hitting a whopping fifty degree centigrade. This warming, along with the westerly winds already blowing to India carrying desert dust with them, has created wind anomalies much larger than expected.
Northern parts of India, extending from Nagaland to Haryana, have seen the likes of severe dust storms and thunder storms, killing 80 and leaving 136 people injured across five states. Pre-monsoon weather in India has never been a pleasant affair, and mortality due to pre-monsoon heat waves have also become a routine; however, whether this year’s havoc is another indication towards global warming, only time will tell. The past few years have seen a rise in average temperature, and heat waves becoming deadlier across the Indian subcontinent, especially the areas of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Many climate experts and scientists across the world see this as climate change taking a toll on India lives.
What do we expect for the future, then? Is strategic adaptability and mitigation of damage the only course for the years to come? A rather dismal projection for 2100 is that the Arctic will potentially be ice-free, and this is only the beginning of the cause for concern. While international negotiations will continue, there is little that the common man can really do to participate, except do his part for where he lives. It is rather ironic, of course, that environmental education remains a mandatory activity in all schools and colleges, and even today, most educational institution barely host two trees within their vicinity.
Where we must begin, like every other cause, is at home. We must focus on not just conserving electricity, but trying to conceive alternate sources of renewable energy, even if it is just at smaller scales. We must focus on rebuilding neighbourhoods to make them cleaner and greener, with planting and nurturing trees. Another important aspect of this would also be to direct conservation of paper and digitalisation of procedures towards a more responsible environmental obligation. One way to do this would be to strike a balance between the two and encourage recycling. Recycling drives for communities and societies, while also educating one another of the benefits of the same would also go a long way.
Major reform in waste management and drainage systems is also in order, to make them more sustainable and less polluting. The current practice of letting in untreated wastes into lakes and rivers, or landfills are detrimental, and government spending on treatment plants and recycling facilities is the need of the hour. Better planning of drainage networks and their treatment would also act as a catalyst to creating a healthier environment for people to live in. A daily detox, such as slowly omitting the usage of plastics and increasing the usage of organic materials can also go a long way in increasing their overall demand. As most organic materials are on the higher side of price scale and a little less affordable for the average middle-class citizen, an increase in demand would play a role making them more accessible.
While the above measures are small scaled, their effects when implemented by the masses will have incredible effects. The strength in fighting climate change too, as in everything else, lies with the masses. While global institutional efforts will help the bigger picture, action towards change begins with every individual across the world. We must not forget that no matter how many Global Goals are created, how many ideal standards are formulated, they can only be achieved if the grass root levels initiate their implementation.
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