Written by Tathagata Banerjee
The world stands at a crucial crossroad now. A make or break moment for history. The rising threat of global warming has become an unblinking nightmare which is taking its toll on the planet. And if people try, if indeed there’s an attempt made to live up to being called a civilization, that can be stopped. There’s some scope to turn off this ticking timebomb. But not for long. The sins against the Nature had been enormous. And there can only be damnation or redemption. And the latter can’t happen without repenting.
Climate change has become a part of our everyday conversations in the modern times. A powerful, visible terror that keeps one up at night. Here’s a little bit of data that makes a strong argument for the impending doom of this planet – if necessary steps are not taken right about now: 2020 has been the second-warmest year in the last 141 years, The top ten warmest years have all been in the last 15 years. And that is a definite terrifying prospect.
The cost of such a crisis is evident. Civilization, for all its hubris, had always been dwarfed by the magnanimity of Nature. And humanity has been dependant on the grand narrative of the cosmos to sustain itself. Attempt at outgrowing Nature is not possible. And the harm caused by this man-made disaster is now being felt first hand. The alarming rate at which the ozone layer had been damaged puts all of us in clear and present danger. The sea-level has been rising, putting the future of the planet in absolute jeopardy.
The overtly anthropocentric and frankly hyper-industrial approach by humankind has been hurting the natural balance for a while now, and we’ve seemingly reached Judgement Day. The rise in seawater temperature has been causing damage to the flora and fauna of the waterworld, causing coral reefs to get destroyed. The food chains and living systems of the jungles and animal kingdom are in great danger due to human follies, with numerous species either getting extinct or facing the threat of extinction. From the polar areas to the desserts, the effects of global warming are evident everywhere. The people are in danger. The nature is. The planet, if things are not put back in track, is set for a complete fall-out caused by the environmental crisis.
A ticking timebomb, indeed. But a clock that can be stopped, if we try that is. It’s a humongous task. A task that can be pulled off only is everyone plays their part. French president Emanuel Macron has pointedly and poetically observed that humanity doesn’t have a Planet B. There’s no backup plan of sustainability other than saving the Earth, the only home we’ve ever known. Data shows that the course of climate change hasn’t reached a stage where it can’t be put under control. Not yet. Although, that deadline is pretty close. The window for saving the planet is little. But as I said before, it’s there. I’m thinking about Greta Thunberg – the teenager Sweedish climate activist whose solo demonstration turned into a worldwide movement. Changes begin with small but revolutionary steps. Changes begin with courage. In order to stop global warming, the people of this little blue globe – that has given us shelter since this cosmic journey began – have to take those steps. And they have to take it together. Regulations have to be issued which would guarantee that no human activity that tries to harm the natural balance of the world would go unpunished. The industrial ambitions have to be put under check. And, a lot of personal pleasures have to be sacrificed. A lot of our simple day to day comforts come at the cost of the greater crisis being enabled. This planet has given humanity so much, and has endured for so long. It’s about time we endure the discomfort for a while. It’s about time we give a return gift to the planet.
Throughout the world, the glaciers had been succumbing to climate change . In 2019, Iceland expressed their heartbreak about the death of glacier Okjokull by commemorating the tragic event with a plaque that is addressed to the future. The plaque address the people from the future, telling them – in parts – “This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done… Only you know if we did it.”
Our future is who we become. As a community, let’s hope when the day comes – we can answer the address by the plaque with a positive feedback.
As a child, everyone had the fantasy of having superpowers and saving the world. The time to save the world has come. And turns out, we don’t need superpowers. We just have to be human beings – in the true sense of the word.