Warning To Humanity

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Nov 2017 11:35:10

 

 

 

The constant unidirectional pursuit towards industrial and infrastructure development to cater to growing human needs at the cost of environmental protection and measures to save it has paved the way for the complete destruction of human and animal life.

Animals are suffering as a result of human activities, and are disappearing at an unprecedented pace. A mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, is in process wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century.


Twenty-five years ago a group of scientists from across the globe had issued a “warning to humanity” about the dangers to the environment. Released in 1992 by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the warning was signed by 1,700 experts.
A new update on that released recently says most of the planet’s problems are getting “far worse.” More than 15,000 global scientists from 184 countries signed on to the letter, called the World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice, published in the journal BioScience.
Apart from the world population boom, which has grown by at least two billion people in these years, putting immense pressure on our natural resources, other key threats the scientists are concerned about include global warming and the ever-mounting carbon emissions driven by fossil fuel use.


The important concerns also include unsustainable farming practices, deforestation, lack of fresh water, loss of marine life and growing ocean dead zones. “Humanity is now being given a second notice, as illustrated by these alarming trends,” said the letter.
Due to intense geographically and demographically uneven material consumption, we are jeopardising our future rapidly, the letter warns. Scientists are troubled that the world continues on a path toward “potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.”


Animals are suffering as a result of human activities, and are disappearing at an unprecedented pace. A mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, is in process wherein many current life forms could be
annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century.


The letter outlines 13 steps that must be taken, including population control, promoting plant-based diets and renewable energy while phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels. The crisis of wildlife trafficking and illegal poaching also figured in the deliberations and measures to stop such activities was advocated.


“Humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative,” said the letter. We are short of time and sooner than later it will be too late to leave the trajectory we have taken. We have put a perfect recipe in place to ensure our own doom.
There is an orchestrated all-round attack on the environment for the last three or four decades which have left our natural assets severely depleted and gasping for breath.
The constant unidirectional pursuit towards industrial and infrastructure development to cater to growing human needs at the cost of environmental protection and measures to save it has paved the way for the complete
destruction of human and animal life. We can already see the glimpses of which in catastrophic natural disasters whose frequency and intensity have only increased.
The debilitating Delhi smog is one such instance of grave environmental damage we have wrought and are now hard put to tackle. UN Resident Coordinator Yuri Afanasiev recently said that the ominous smog cover over Delhi
was so thick, widespread and lingering that measures such as a ban on firecrackers and controlling the volume of vehicles on the roads would not be enough anymore as we
needed measures over and above those in an all-encompassing approach.
“There is the issue of farmers (stubble burning) and plant emissions. And, even if one talks about reducing the volume of cars in the streets, there has to be a discussion on
the quality of cars, whether they have catalytic converters. It has to be a well-rounded approach,” Afanasiev said.
He also urged school children and other young people to play a greater role as “ambassadors of change” by encouraging and exhorting their parents to talk about pollution and climate change.


The senior UN official said it had been found that behavioural changes were more effective in adults if brought about through children. Whether or not children tell their parents, it has to be the priority of the Delhi and Central governments to take innovative steps and go all out to save the calamitous climate of Delhi.


The situation is so horrible that even schools and colleges are being forced to be closed, which in itself an extreme step pointing towards the seriousness of the problem.
If it is stubble burning in the neighbouring states, the same must be stopped by all means, no matter how stringent action that merits; if it is vehicles, then those need to be regulated; if it is industries causing all the bad air, the same must be unconditionally closed.


Allowing things to go on despite the alarm bells ringing is a sin for every stakeholder who has in his power to do something to assuage the problem and save lives. This is no time for sparring and muddling with legalities and procedures. This is time to act and act tough and fast.
The courts must support drastic measures.


Delhi is the national capital of the country; it is home to 15 million Indians and our quasi-statutory passport to the world. If Delhi turns into a gas chamber, our global image, our trade and business, our investment scenario, cultural richness, all take a collective beating.
It exposes us in poor light. It reeks of bad governance and poor law and order. Unfortunately, despite living in this era of technological excellence we are still grappling with the issue with no decisive measure yet in view, even as several new options are being weighed and mulled every day. Our moves are half-baked, half-hearted actions which run by trial and error.


We act in half-measures, taking one baby step at a time that might bring temporary relief but don’t change the bigger picture. In a bid to save money we end up wasting it on insignificant measures which are not going to bring about any large-scale changes to reverse the systemic failure that spawns all these issues. The smog is completely a man-made problem and all those responsible must either be ordered to change their habits and practices or face action.


By the way, the country cannot be held ransom by the stupidity of a few. The smog has been building up to these dangerous proportions for years but no action was taken then, which has now snowballed into such an unmanageable menace today.
If Delhi finds a way out to clean its noxious air, it can serve as a template for other cities too, which too are sooner or later going to face the same strain on their air quality— not that it is much better today in any case.
Delhi must expressly consult scientists, planners, engineering and technical experts and aggressively push its efforts to end the debacle before people literally start dying. No obstacle towards that direction either by man or material ought to be entertained anymore.