• Antara Basu


I look around, but I can’t see for my eyes are clogged with soot. I try to breathe, but the smoke fills my scorching lungs. I can feel myself choking engulfed within this black veil. My beautiful countenance destroyed by a deadly affliction. My glacier meadows beginning to thaw. The delicate blooms, blending their celestial hues with gases so noxious, they have withered. My grassy savannahs and mossy tundra’s reduced to debris. My lush green valleys, with gurgling streams, vanquished as if they were never there, by shambles of concrete. And I remain helpless. I only stand and watch as I feel my green satin cloak metamorphose into a grim stained black. I feel my parched throat yearning for Adam’s ale, but all I do is sit still and behold this magnificent destruction, my eyes pleading for mercy. I am Mother Nature, the cradle of the human race.

If economic or industrial, growth and advancement are pre-requisites for the modern world, then it is essential that we begin to embrace sustainability as a pre-requisite for the survival of human civilization. For we all are facing a period unlike any other in the history of human civilization, we stand perplexed in this 21st century, which parades its record of colossal environmental annihilation, much better than we flaunt rainbow colors to reflect our pride. The perception that nature and nature’s resources are anything, but transitory and that, these aren’t capable of exhaustion is utterly imprudent. And despite the numerous international agreements presented as efforts, to combat this climate crisis these technical solutions have no influence without the active support of political actions and policies. According to the IPCC reports, limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050.

Today, we are continuously becoming blind to the consequences of our own actions driven by human greed and our insatiable yearnings. Greenhouse gas emissions leading to surface temperature increase, oceanic acidification, sea-level rise and hence increased risks of floods. The inefficient utilization and exploitation of fossil fuels which release pollutants and chemicals and have contaminated the air we breathe in or be it the discharge of untreated toxic industrial wastes into our waters, which jeopardizes the continuity of marine biodiversity. And this blind ignorance has led us to such a regressive state that unsustainable exploitation of the natural world even threatens food and water security of billions of people, as per an UN-backed biodiversity study. We nevertheless, refuse to divert our focus from the belief that development and ecological sustainability are inherently antagonistic in nature and initiate the transformation towards renewable development.

Although human life may not be self-sustainable, the Earth is. The earth can heal itself and the only hindrance for this healing process to begin is us. For the creation of an integrated global movement for terminating climate change, there are three basic steps, firstly, education and awareness, secondly quick, efficient and voluntary action and lastly connecting people all over the world with this common goal. We have to remember that change isn’t just about huge events or governmental solutions, it relates to each and every individual choice, each individual decision and all those small steps we implement and adopt into our daily lifestyles, which when put to pieces creates a vast multitude of small actions and thus a global network of sustainable practices. Our fight towards climate change must find its basis in inclusion, the respect for indigenous people and local solutions and their rights to live in synergy with their own environment is critical. The breach of this respect, coercion, and forceful implementation of disagreeable methods to further develop the global economy will merely lead to resistance from these localized communities, like the deteriorating situation in the Amazon. We have yet to transform the system of exploitation into a system of symbiotic relation, between humanity and the environment to support our collapsing ecosystems.

Any system that encourages the ravaging of natural resources needs to be substantially reformed. Another way through which we can successfully integrate the global struggle against climate change is through inculcating the corporate sector, a fixed percentage of corporate social responsibility [CSR] budget should be mandatorily directed towards this concerning cause.

It is high time we realize that we cannot just approach nature when we desire to be serenaded by a covey of birdsongs or while admiring icicles when we comprehend how alluring even freezing water can be or when we experience an epiphany regarding how nature can reveal its beauty in all forms. It is time we hold up our end in this entente, for this earth is a part of us just as much as we are a part of it and it would do well to remember that it can survive without us, but we cannot survive without it. This is our home and today it kneels before us pleading for compassion, imploring us to stop and it is time we recognize we owe it to the generations to come to, to do so.