"Is our planet on the verge of collapse?"


By

S. Rahul
Faculty
Netaji Subhas Institute of Business Management
Jamshedpur
 


Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth, promises the bible. But not the mineral rights, was the unfriendly reply by one of the richest men in history, oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. Within the same century of him creating his empire, his words have come truer than anybody could have imagined. On the eve of the Earth Day, i.e., on 22nd of April, it was on this date in 1970 that the modern world witnessed the first grassroots demonstration displaying concern over the increasing environmental degradation. In the 3 decades since, eco-friendly, environment and green have become buzzwords of such common reference that they are in danger of being denuded of all meaning.

And that is not a pity. It is a tragedy, because we are standing on the brink of an ecological disaster that will impact us in ways that are staggering. Neither the planet nor the environment is a static entity. They are constantly changing, evolving and self regulating. What we, humans, have done is akin to overload the system in so short a while that we risk destroying its capacity for self regulation and overwhelm the margin for error in built into the complex entity called earth systems.  Climate change is the new defining realities of our times. As an effect climate change is impartial, it will affect every living organism on this planet. The climate gets hotter, weather patterns are disrupted, the polar ice caps melt, glaciers retreat, the sea level rises, the rivers dry up, biodiversity is severely diminished and we are looking at a future where environment becomes the single most unstable entity. And that is frightening because we are what we are because of our environment. Human evolution and the biodiversity we take for granted are the result of an exact environment.

Ever since the dawn of the industrial age we have consistently made choices that are in the long run unsustainable, a fact that we have managed to prove in a remarkable short while. Simply put, industrialization is at once a greater mastery of technology, direct or indirect ownership of resources and consequentially, a lifestyle that is developed. The industrial age led to an asymmetrical imbalance that persists, the world is divided into developed or first world and the developing or third world. More often than not it is the resources of the third world that power the lifestyle of the first world. The 3rd world's massive population boom has made things worse. Considerations like these have become critical because regardless of who erred humanity as a whole has to suffer the consequences. However, as always the price will be much higher for the poorer nations and the developing world, which is unfair since the developed world is responsible for over 2/3 rd of all past emissions and a staggering 75% of current emissions. Annually 27 billion tones of greenhouse gases (GHG) are being produced. Some are present naturally in the atmosphere, whereas few green house gases a consequence of human activity. The developed world contributes in terms of lifestyle while the 3 rd world contributes by duplicating the 1st world's model of development.

Greenhouse gases, which are the major cause of global warming, trap heat in the earth's atmosphere. Al gore, the former vice president of United States has been studying climate of the globe for about thirty years. He has produced a significant acclaimed documentary movie called "An Inconvenient Truth", and has advised that Earth is dashing towards an immensely warmer future. In his documentary, he has warned that unless we get alert quickly to deal with the fundamental reasons of global warming, our world will experience a thread of awful calamities, including more and stronger hurricanes like the one Katrina, in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. Al Gore has insisted on the fact that it is due to the global warming that the North Polar ice cap and all the mountain glaciers in the world will finally melt down in a few decades from now. Al Gore insisted that it is a dire need that we take proper steps to cut down global warming. Switching to a greater extent on ethanol, cellulose, butanol, and green diesel fuels, improved organization of forests, sources like wind energy, solar energy being made in common use, are some of the most significant strategies for solving the climate disaster.

We face a real dilemma. We recognize the dangers of climate change and are passionate about solving this challenge. We equally want to be part of the growth story of India. We all have to live with the consequences of our decisions. In order to make a beginning, we must first understand and be aware and then try to do our bit. Our bit means making some fundamental changes at the personal level and going beyond regulatory requirements at the corporate level. Doing more than what is required is not easy for a profit motivated corporate.

With environment being the most talked about issue these days, it has become imperative for organizations to work towards saving our environment and making this world a better place to live in. Today, corporations are expected to give something back to their communities in the form of charitable projects. This is where the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) comes in whereby organizations contemplate on the interests of the society and take initiative to contribute to issues regarding the overall upliftment of their community in terms of health, education, sanitation and environment. We all want a better world and are convinced that communities need corporate support and partnerships to help make that happen. 

Climate change is a serious and long term challenge that has the potential to affect each and every one of us. It is one of the biggest issues facing the world today a global threat no nation or person can resolve alone. We have a long way to go, and it is only thru' sensible and sustainable living by all that the environment can be protected. Without a major change, the world we know to day cannot survive.

We as members of a society must take it as a social responsibility to create a healthy, peaceful world for ourselves and our future generations. We must strive for a viable future visible in the present a life that is not only ecologically sound but vastly more fulfilling than industrial life. Our present way of life is marked by a lack of sensitivity and led by a profit motive.

 We need people to work for the future environment with compassion and create an environment ready to accommodate the smallest insect to the largest creature in harmony with human beings.

Reference: -

  • Al Gore's documentary movie "An Inconvenient Truth".
  • www.google.com
     


S. Rahul
Faculty
Netaji Subhas Institute of Business Management
Jamshedpur
 

Source: E-mail November 18, 2008

          

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