Who will be David to the Goliath of climate change?
Climate change, perceived to be a grim future prediction by many, is not that distant anymore and is actually knocking at our doors. Global warming and resultant climate change have brought our planet almost to the tipping point, and the future looks so bleak that young children like Greta Thunberg and Ridhima Pandey have to come out of their schools, expressing anger and frustration at being robbed of their future and being handed a planet that is getting rapidly destroyed.
It is expected that global warming will cause insect-borne diseases, heat stress, and malnutrition, eventually leading to loss of thousands of lives in the coming decades. Glaciers all over the world are melting, the ice in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is thinning and sending ocean levels high, changing coastlines worldwide. The outcome of all this will be nothing but catastrophic.
Forests, soils, and oceans are natural carbon sinks – they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, most of which is the result of human activities, like burning of fossil fuels. 2019 has witnessed the worst and most forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, considered the lungs of our planet. This when the world actually needs billions of trees more to keep the climate stable in the face of the current carbon emission levels. Instrumental in reducing the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Millions of plants and trees in the Amazon rainforest are now perishing, and releasing all the stored carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. If this sounds disastrous, let me tell you this – it is disastrous.
The World Meteorologic Organisation predicts that average global temperatures will rise by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, which is thrice the goal of 1.5 degrees agreed upon by more than 200 countries during the Paris Agreement in 2015. While a couple of degrees warmer in a day is insignificant, when put in the context of climate change, this rise in temperature is enough to turn rainforests into deserts, melt ice from the poles, raise sea levels dangerously high and flood continents. This only shows how far we are from the track that leads to a stable future.
Carbon emissions are on the rise worldwide, owing to industrial and vehicular emissions and the burning of fossil fuels, and India happens to be one of the top contributors to global carbon emissions. Rapid industrialisation and burning coal for energy production are the chief reasons behind this. Developing countries are facing a huge conflict of interest, as the need for development cannot be ignored, but the price paid for such development in the form of higher carbon emissions is a disaster in the making. Developed countries, after reaping the benefits of prolonged industrialisation, are waking up to the damage and abandoning polluting technology and investing in sustainable development now. Developing countries can also make the switch to sustainable practices without compromising on growth with thoughtful long-term planning.
While waiting for authorities to make long-term plans and implement them, it also makes sense to be proactive at an individual level and make some lifestyle changes to curb carbon emissions and keep the planet healthy. For example, walking or cycling instead of driving short distances, carpooling, reducing flight travel, using energy efficient appliances, planting trees, eating local food, etc. From clothing to food to travel modes to home supplies, we need to keep sustainability at the core and rethink our consumption patterns and preferences.
7 out of the 10 most polluted cities of the world are Indian. While business growth is essential for the economy, ignoring sustainability is not an option. Government support for clean energy production and clean energy backed non-polluting industries is much needed and a balance must be established between growth and sustainability. Business houses like Tata, Birla, and Mahindra have implemented policies to promote the circular economy and change employee behaviour. Corporate sustainability is catching on, and environmental responsibility is gaining momentum.
Climate change has started taking a toll on our daily lives already. Burning of fossil fuels releases numerous pollutants into the environment, and respiratory illnesses have been on the rise. Warmer temperatures also cause many other health issues. All the carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere affects the composition of the soil and the crops grown in it, reducing the nutrition quotient drastically, which eventually leads to poor general health and low immunity. Experts have issued warnings that climate change could be the root cause for mass migration, spread of infectious diseases and food and water shortage very soon. Humans losing homes to flooded coasts and droughts, heat stress, malnutrition, and vector-borne diseases, animals losing habitat due to deforestation, loss of biodiversity due to rising temperatures are all adding to the strain on available resources.
Freshwater sources are shrinking fast and so are soil resources, and as the population continues to grow and people keep migrating to urban areas, urban civic infrastructure is more strained than ever. Living in denial or expecting someone else to do the damage control will not help. Change at an individual level is the need of the day, and individual, societal, agricultural and industrial strategies must be altered and improved to combat climate change. Adopting environment-friendly farming practices like reducing tillage, better crop rotation and similar practices will help the agriculture sector reduce its own carbon emissions, absorb carbon released by other industries, improve soil health and also produce enough food for future needs. It is time to level up and make use of products like MagicGro that is 100% natural and helps boost farm productivity in a sustainable manner. It boosts photosynthetic efficiency and improving flowering to give better yield and quality of produce while also cutting down the dependence on chemical farming inputs, keeping soil health intact. Products like this improve crop yield without harming the soil and are perfect for sustainable farming.
Wastewater management is another critical aspect to be considered to ensure better water infrastructure and sanitation for the burgeoning population, aligning with sustainability and development goals. Untreated wastewater flowing into water bodies results in people drinking pathogen and pollutant ridden water and falling prey to severe illnesses. Making the switch to earth-friendly practices requires some effort, but can be achieved with some help from microbial products that boost the natural decomposition of organic matter in wastewater and boost the process of wastewater treatment. Elaborate wastewater treatment plants are expensive to build and also need skilled labour as well as constant electricity supply.
Affordable and smaller modalities that treat wastewater as soon as it is generated ensure better reuse of water. Upto 80% less expensive than traditional methods, they use natural bacteria, gravity and plants instead of chemicals and electricity to treat wastewater.
Cleanmaxx is one such product, packed with functional bacteria to degrade organic waste in wastewater and reduce COD and BOD levels in water, adapting effectively to the wastewater quality. Solutions like this are what we need to keep our water resources in good health.
As many wise people have elaborated several times, this planet is not an inheritance from our ancestors but a loan from our future generations. And it is incumbent upon each and every one of us that we do everything that is necessary to ensure we’re able to leave a planet that will allow our future generations to live sustainably.