Year-on-year, as the temperatures rise, we need to reimagine our gizmo-oriented lives.
We didn’t really need a heatwave index to convince us that we are on the road to perdition as far as the existence of the human race is concerned. And though we may castigate US President Donald Trump for dismissing such reports with a cursory wave of “I don’t believe it,” the fact is we ourselves go about pulling the wool over our eyes. What is worrisome is that global temperatures have been rising continuously since 2015, year on year, which means that we haven’t downsized our resource needs enough to regrow the planet. Latest studies also show that there has been no mitigation of greenhouse gases in real terms, dots of effort notwithstanding, and the polar ice caps are melting faster.
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) report for the first 10 months of the year reveals that Earth was nearly a centigrade above the pre-industrial baseline. The WMO warned that going by current trends, the Earth could very well heat up by five degrees by the end of this century. Which means that even the natural cycles of cooling ocean currents like La Niña are not enough to simmer down the Earth. While one would usually visually interpret rise in ocean levels to submergence of islands and low-lying coastal areas, fact is, as the WMO Deputy Secretary-General Elena Manaenkova rightly said, it makes “a difference to human health and access to food and fresh water, to the extinction of animals and plants, to the survival of coral reefs and marine life. It makes a difference to economic productivity, food security, and to the resilience of our infrastructure and cities.” This year, record temperatures were seen over parts of the Mediterranean Sea, New Zealand and areas across North America, Asia and Australia. At the other end of the climate spectrum, no land or ocean areas had recorded cold temperatures in the January to June period. It also explains why forest fires were reported all across the northern hemisphere. India itself has been at the receiving end with unprecedent heat waves and unexpected heavy rain events becoming much more frequent and intense than they used to be. Europe, normally described as the cool clime, has been roasting under a massive high-pressure ridge that is trapping the tropical heat and forcing it to move to the Arctic and impeding the chances of rainfall. Who would have thought that Sweden would ever see a wildfire, something that nation was completely unprepared for.
Plant and animal ranges have shifted as have their blooming patterns and behaviour. As far as India is concerned, we have already committed to keeping our temperature rise under 1.5°C as per the Paris Agreement. This is a challenge for all emerging economies in the middle of an infrastructural overhaul, paying for the sins of the developed world and marshalling resources wisely to keep development goals going. Being an agrarian economy, we are also looking at more droughts and fall in crop yields. A World Bank report recently mentioned that rising temperatures, coupled with erratic rain, could force rural people into poverty, and lower living standards of 800 million people across South Asia. Cities will pay a heavy price as well with a micro heat bubble forming due to pollution, haze and depleting green cover. Even our gizmo-oriented lives are generating a huge carbon footprint to ensure our daily comforts. It’s not only time to reimagine the future, it is time to live down our life as we know it today.
Writer and Courtesy: The Pioneer