June 27, 2020
With the advent of globalization in India in 1991, the increased global trade gave a boost to the economy, resulting in better incomes and hence, a rising demand of goods and services. This growing consumerism has put a stress on our natural resources due to their over-exploitation and has given rise to problems like pollution, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity and reduced forest-cover. There has been an onset of climatic disruptions such as global warming due to increasing greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere, triggered by the anthropogenic activities.
Global warming has led to rising sea levels which is evident through a report 'Climate Change:Global Sea Level' by Rebecca Lindsey . According to her, sea levels are rising at the fastest rate in 3000 years, an average of 3.6 millimeters per year, which is happening due to the thermal expansion of oceans and the melting of glaciers.Due to the rising sea levels, Indonesia in 2019 announced to move the capital city away from Jakarta to Borneo’s East Kalimantan Province between Samarinda City and the port city of Balikpapan because it is sinking as much as 25 cm per year .Climate change is also taking a toll on the islands in Pacific, as evident from the rising sea levels in the Kiribati Islands, Pacific ocean .
Initially, people thought that climate change is a matter that can be handled only by scientists and environmentalists. As the situation is getting out of control, people need to take responsibility and make it into a movement to restore the environment. Naomi Klein, in her book 'This Changes Everything', gave the example of ‘slavery’, which was not considered a serious issue until the Civil Rights Movement was launched. By providing this example, she wants us to show that mass movement has a great power to bring about a change, and similarily, Mahatam Gandhi also said, 'You must be the change you want to see in the world'.
The Government of India is committed to combating climate-change by promoting the use of renewable energy resources. In 2018, it announced a farmer-oriented solar-power scheme of Rs 1.4 lakh crore called Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM). The scheme involves decentralized solar-power production of upto 28,250 Megawatt (Mw) over five years . With the introduction of this scheme, many people are preferring solar-energy over thermal or nuclear energy, where the former is a nature-friendly energy resource as it is renewable.The Government in India has made it mandatory to do rain-water harvesting in buildings like hospitals, schools, multi-storeyed residential buildings,etc. to replenish underground water levels, which was getting depleted due to too many bore-wells .
Due to the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, the entire world is under lock-down, which has helped nature in reviving itself. It is evident that every year, the pollution is rising at an alarming rate in India, but, now in the time of lock-down, as mentioned in an article published by the New Indian Express, it has reduced by 49% . This pandemic has taught us a crucial lesson that nature does not need us, but we need nature, and hence, we should care for it. Nature should not be over-exploited and its resources should be utilized astutely so that we can live in a total harmony with our surroundings. This is the key to us achieving Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
(Vartika Sharma is an Intern with OneWorld Foundation India)