Friday, 28 February 2020

Cooling The Earth What are the Tactics for Restoring Order and Saving the Planet

Updated: May 29, 2010 2:25 pm

India always stood for environment protection from time immemorial. Shanthi mantra of Prathvi is being chanted from the time mantras descended in Bharat.It is mentioned in religious scriptures that, Prithvi gayathri mantra has energy to prevent any natural calamities on the earth. We have the richest God, Tirumala Thirupathi, with two consort of Sridevi and Bhudevi. Goddess Bhuvaneshwari is seen as embodiments of goddess Saraswathi, goddess Lakshmi and goddess Kali. Varaha avathar is the one saved the earth from big natural calamity. It is also believed that the earth is resting on the hood of Radishes serpent, Lord Vishnu’s aquatic bed. We also worship Lord Shiva, by pouring milk and water to cool him so that he doesn’t open up his third eye of destruction. The unbelievable natural phenomena of formation of Amarnath ling every year is, enough indications for us to see and believe that “all is well” every year, as far as global warming is concerned.

            Global warming and climate change are the worst realities of our times. Never before in the recorded history of life has the living planet faced such an alarming situation. Local, national and international organisations have generated, collected, exchanged and disseminated enough information on the on-going trends, patterns, factors and implications of the global warming and consequent climate change. Volumes of information on the subject have come into being. Earth’s warming climate is estimated to contribute to more than 1,50,000 deaths and five million illnesses every year and, according to WHO, this toll could double by 2030. The climate change is driving up rates of malaria, diarrhea, outbreak of dengue fever in South Asia, and fast adding to human woes, such as glacier melt, gloom on Antarctica, rise in sea level, loss of species, and the likes. The catastrophic changes need not to confine only to the altered socio-economic scenarios. The implications might be much more formidable than the humanity could predict or even thought of. If the warming up trend goes on rampantly, the ecological processes that keep life in the state of equilibrium and sustainability might be knocked down giving rise to a situation that would spell a doom on the planet. The rampantly going-on processes of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation (LPG) are increasingly giving way to economic development without a thought at the cost of the living planet.

            Time is now ripe for us to evolve all possible strategies, which could be of critical value for resolving vital issues of our times. The state of the planet is largely owing to anthropogenic dimensions. Therefore, restoration of the Earth’s climate order and cooling of Earth is possible. Humanity is capable not only of arresting and reversing the global warming process, but also of putting the living planet back into the state of vibrancy, joie de vivre and sustainability. This, amongst other things, demands efficient

environmental management with focus on carbon emission reduction and abatement, enhanced carbon sequestration, increased use of clean and non-polluting sources of energy, ecological philosophies nurtured by philosophers that could be vital for evolving eco-centric strategies of development, and formulation and implementation of policies and programmes that could lead to cooling of the earth.

            Issues relating to global warming and climate change are relatively new. Emphasis on the work towards handling these issues vigorously dates back to mid 1990s. The very notion of climate change increasingly becoming a buzzword of our times and the contribution to awareness about the issues has even won Nobel Prize for ex-US Vice-President Al Gore and IPCC. Intensive efforts towards evolving effective strategies implementable at global scale that could dynamically lead to cooling of the earth, however, are still to be made. Further, in global warming mitigation efforts focus has rather been on piecemeal approach, not on comprehensive strategies of cooling the earth that could provoke action at global level.

            The recent Environment Report based on a pilot study, called the 2006 Environmental Performance Index, indicates about the dismal state of environment in the context of India. This has to be taken seriously and remedial measures to maintain our environment safe and sound need to be taken up and implemented effectively.

            When it comes to address the issues of global warming and consequent climate change, it could be realised that most of the seminars and conferences have focused on carbon sequestration, also known as carbon farming. The GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology conducted a National Conference on Ecosystem Diversity and Carbon Sequestration in 2007. Carbon sequestration, eventually is linked with ecosystems diversity. If the carbon sequestration issues are to be effectively addressed, they need to be done so against the background of the ecosystem diversity. Carbon sequestration through physical/ artificial means, clean development mechanisms, carbon-trading, etc are the major focus so far often discussed on various forums throughout the world. No-till farming being taken massively by the International Society of Soil and Water Conservation is the other area of intensive discussion. World Bank in Washington DC has mobilised the Bio Carbon Fund to alleviate poverty and promote biodiversity conservation by aiding farmers in developing countries to practice no-till. There are many other such agencies, which are coming forward to pay for carbon sequestration efforts of farmers.

            Cooling the earth is undoubtedly has to be the greatest concern and challenge before the humanity as well as the most critical human obligation to be accomplished. We need to evolve holistic strategies to solve the problems that have implications for the very survival and sustainability of our planet, as well as of our own species on the planet.

            To bring scientists, academicians, researchers, thinkers, philosophers, environmentalists, managers, social workers, industrialists, administrators, institutions, government representatives, and NGOs committed to the cause of the earth from all over the world on a single platform to analyse and discuss the alarming problems and trends facing humanity and costing the living planet.

            To evolve viable, effective and workable strategies, including promotion of eco-philosophy and lifestyles without carbon footprints, that could contain and reverse the processes of global warming and help restoring climate orders of the earth.

            To send an appeal to all peoples of the world for creating synergies and social atmosphere conducive to resolving critical socio-economic, development and environment related issues of our times and work out a plan for global cooperation for promoting long-term strategies aimed at preparedness against global warming and climate change.

            To promote life enhancing ecological philosophy, alternate and frugal lifestyles and prepare a ground for ecological renaissance for healing and reviving our tormented planet.

Other themes and topics which needs immediate attentions are:

  1. Our Common Biosphere: State of the global environment
  2. Climate change impacts on different environmental components (lands and soils, waters, atmosphere, biosphere)
  3. Himalayan mountains and their contribution to cooling of the earth
  4. Biodiversity and climate change mitigation
  5. Climate change impacts on various food production and livelihood systems (cropping, forestry, rangelands, pastoralism, animal husbandry, fisheries, etc.) and on food, nutrition and livelihood security, and on human health
  6. Concerns, challenges and conflicts being borne out of the current state of free carbon in environment manifesting into global warming, climate change and socio-economic unsustainability
  7. Social, cultural, and political dimensions of the problems
  8. Environmental management, energy resources, clean development mechanisms, adaptation strategies, case studies and success stories
  9. International legislations and agreements
  10. Eco-philosophy, alternate lifestyles, ecological renaissance; ushering in a sustainable future; searching new horizons of sustainability

Earth Cooling Initiative by whom ?

Gandhijee’s words, “nature gives enough for our need not for our greed” needs to be understood in totality. Need of the hour is a collective action towards one mission ‘Cooling the Earth’. University/ college teachers, researchers, environmental managers, agriculturists, research students, representatives from R&D organisations, ministries, government departments/ organisations, expert NGOs/ International NGOs, representatives from industries, administrators, policy makers, sociologists, economists, committed environmental activists and eco-philosophers all must join hands in this collective action, a journey from ‘I’ to ‘We’ and ‘We’ to ‘One’. Nature appreciates community living in harmony with the nature. When community exploits the nature, then nature conspires to balance it by bringing in natural calamities. It is time, we cool the planet for next generation to give them a secured and livable earth.

By Lt Col Ashok Kini H (Retd)

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