Man Vs Mother Earth: Who has betrayed whom? - Part 5

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Al Gore, in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech said, "We have everything we need to get started, save perhaps political will, but political will is a renewable resource. So let us renew it, and say together: We have a purpose. We are many. For this purpose we will rise, and we will act."[Al Gore's blog] 

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This is fifth in the series of articles about climate crisis.  In this article, i will be discussing about role of world leaders and scientific community in sharing whatever little is left and the road ahead.

The first article should set the historical context for you to get interested in knowing about climate crisis.
The second article
talks about earth's energy balance, causes and consequences of climate crisis.

The third article speaks about the impact of scientific discoveries on political decisions and policy making with respect to climate crisis.
The fourth article discuss about
how the scientific results/efforts where successful in making 'climate crisis' a buzzword and also about impact of scientific studies related to climate change.

Until 1970s, most of the countries were busy making policies for socio-economic development. This was evident in the younger democracies just out of colonial rule. But it was in late 70s and early 80s, the debate of global warming started getting attention as the industrialization reached new heights and pollution became pervasive. 'Growth greedy' developed world went on and on with rigorous industrialization without taking climate into consideration. The developing world, on other hand, was forced to undergo unprecedented industrialization and mechanization due to the exploitative colonial rule in the past. Their (developing and developed nations') 'struggle for better and respectful' existence without taking mother nature into account has resulted into the present day climate crisis.



Sharing whatever little is left

"Once again, it is the 11th hour. The penalties for ignoring this challenge are immense and growing, and at some near point would be unsustainable and unrecoverable. For now we still have the power to choose our fate, and the remaining question is only this: Have we the will to act vigorously and in time, or will we remain imprisoned by a dangerous illusion? [Leaders ignore 'climate crisis' at world's peril].'' What do we expect from the world leaders? It's enough if they start acting instead of keeping themselves busy in coming to consensus about climate policy issues. We are already in 11th hour, we do not have enough time to respond. There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We need to go far, quickly [Excerpted from Al Gore's speech].  



When asked, "What kind of capacities do we need to build in terms of our mitigation efforts?", Dr.R.K.Pachauri said, "You need a package of policies, fiscal, regulatory and even in terms of ensuring that you make a choice of the right kinds of designs and so on, which would make a substantial difference to our dependence on imports of oil as well as on emissions of all kinds of pollutants, not just carbon dioxide [in an interview to frontiline]." That is, we need some "meaningful policies on climate" from our leaders so that we can mitigate (and subsequently eliminate) our dependency over non-renewable energy resources like oil, coal, and other carbon intensive fuels.



Read more about Politics, Economics of global warming on wiki. Al Gore's speech Leaders ignore 'climate crisis' at world's peril, Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Also, The cold facts of global warming, cover story on frontline.



The Road ahead

Have we reached the point of no return? Is it too late to stop climate change? Ross Gelbspan (author of The Heat Is On and Boiling Point, and he maintains the website heatisonline.org) says emphatic yes! But optimists like Al Gore argues that we can still mitigate the dangerous consequences, if not stop the climate change. Forget about climate denial (I would like you to see the video and image i had posted earlier to justify this, click here), need of the hour is "creating the basis for common effort and shared responsibility" for cleaner future.



What we can do? [source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

1. Reduce your impact at home


  • Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (cfl)

  • Use Solar Water Heaters if you are living at place where there are enough sunlight.

  • Choose energy efficient appliances when making new purchases

  • Turn off electronic devices you’re not using

  • Unplug electronics from the wall when you’re not using them

  • Place Lids while Cooking Food (Closed vessels always increase the boiling point to higher level).

  • Use recyclable materials

  • Plant a tree at your home


2. Reduce your impact outside home


  • Use public transports like Trains and buses. Utilize the carpool concept and similar ideas for your travelling needs.

  • Improve vehicle fuel-efficiency.

  • Practice fuel-efficient driving.

  • Recycle air conditioner coolant.

  • Drive less - You'll save energy by taking the bus, riding a bike, or walking. Try consolidating trips to the mall or longer routine drives. Encourage car-pooling.


3. Educate others and create awareness about climate crisis


  • Be compassionate to know other's level of understanding about climate change and help them understand the situation better.

  • Sow the seeds climate awareness in children and youth.

  • Help, involve or contribute to NGOs, non profit organization working to protect environment.


And of course, you can add to this list.

To be concluded...

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This work by Manjunath Singe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License. The views and opinions expressed in this work are strictly those of the author and do not represent his employer's views in anyway.