Off-Beat Post: Food for Thought

Below are some snapshots from an NPR documentary I came across recently. Maybe I am infringing copyrights, but the message is far too important to think about them.






I think nothing more needs to be spoken; but for those who are still unaware, I’ll give a short primer.

What is ‘climate change’?

1. Human economic activities like heavy industries, fuel-based electric generation, wood-cutting, petroleum vehicles, ACs etc produce/increase harmful gases in the atmosphere. These include –
carbon dioxide(CO2)
nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
carbon monoxide (CO)
methane (CH4)
chloro-fluoro carbons (CFCs)

2. These gases either retain the sun’s excess radiation into Earth’s atmosphere (CO2, NO2, CH4 etc.), or make way for excess radiation to enter the atmosphere by disrupting the ozone layer shield (CFCs).

3. This excess radiation causes the atmosphere to heat up, causing global temperatures to rise.

4. This leads to melting of the ice cap in the polar regions, adding water to the world’s oceans; increasing the ocean levels slowly but permanently.

5. This is causing many low-lying coastal or island areas in the world to get flooded slowly but permanently.

The tiny island nation of Kiribati (Oceania), along with Maldives (Asia), Mauritius (Africa), Netherlands (Europe) and several coastal areas in Latin America is on the cutting edge of this impending disaster, which, when it strikes in a few decades, will cause a refugee crisis about five times more severe than the current Syrian refugee crisis; and the whole humankind will be collectively responsible for it.

Aren’t our Governments doing anything?
Yes they are! They are squabbling hard amongst themselves over who is more to blame. It has basically become another Rich vs. Poor dispute –

1. It happens so, that all this started with the advent of rapid industrialization in 20th century. Industries in what we today know as the ‘developed world’ started guzzling out tonnes of the above gases, and kept doing so for the whole century.

2. How come? ‘Eco-friendliness’ was a nonexistent concept back then. Even today, China and US together account for nearly half of the world’s emissions. Only when its negative effects became imminent, the developed countries woke up to eco-friendly technologies, and started urging others to follow suit.

3. Developing countries, however, are faced with a double whammy in switching to these technologies. Most of those technologies are already patented by huge corporations in developed countries, that are pricing them at double or even triple than normal levels, all while their governments keep pushing the developing countries to accept norms that make it compulsory to buy that tech.

4. So, some relatively influential developing countries including India are taking a tough stance, that either developed countries give away their patents for the larger good, or pay up for the harm they themselves have been doing in the past and present to gain an upper hand over others.

5. Developed countries, with nobody to enforce it on them, are not ready to accept either of these responsibilities.

… And so the deadlock goes on, while Kiribati and all the affected nations drown to annihilation. Totally sad, but totally true.

“Let the governments go to hell, what can WE do?”
Yes, you can do a lot –

1. Pot a plant today. It is as much a living being as your cat/dog. If you can, grow a tree. Do your part in recycling the carbon dioxide off from the air.

2. Switch to clean sources of energy, that do not emit those gases in their production. Coal/petroleum based electricity generation is the top sources of pollutant gases getting released in the air (about 35% of all emissions). Use clean forms like solar/wind/hydro power as much as possible, or use electricity sparingly.

3. Use power saving equipments in home and office. See that your vehicles are compliant to the relevant pollution control norms of your country. (India is currently using BS-IV standards).

4. STOP using that air-conditioner. It is drowning somebody’s home. Are you really feeling so hot that you can’t make do with a good old water-based air cooler?

5. Use paper sparingly, and recycle it. Trees are being cut to make it. Even if you can’t stop that, you can atleast slow it down. In fact, use of wood and timber at all ought to be minimized. Switch to paperless office concept wherever possible.

6. Do not burn your waste, especially rubber, wood and plastics. They release a horde of pollutants on burning. Recycle rubber and plastics, and make compost of the degradable wastes.

This way, we can fulfill the responsibility of being a global citizen, whatever the governments do; create a better future for the coming generations, and leave a legacy of ourselves to remember.

That’s all that I could gather from what I read. Do you have something to add? We’re all ears!

The author (that is, me) is neither a socialist, capitalist or communist by views. He does not have any vested interests in any of the stakeholders of the issue.


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