Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Global Warming-Are We Headed towards An Apocalypse?

The recent high average temperatures recorded in and around New Delhi have broken all records for the past fifty or more years! It is a matter of great concern that there is no relief in sight from this rather severe heat wave that is sweeping most of the parts of North India! Of greater concern is about what will happen to children when schools in the region open soon!
We have started observing extreme climate aberrations for the past few years. It rains, and when it rains it literally pours! When Summer comes, fire literally pours from the heavens! A couple of winters back, there was a thin layer of frost on car roofs in the mornings! I recently returned from a trip to the Hill Stations in Himachal Pradesh and I felt the extreme heat in the plains unbearable!
Signs of Global Warming
Looking at all these signs which can only be the signs of Global Warming, one wonders if perhaps the Warnings of the Documentary Film, "An Inconvenient Truth" might not after all have been so true! It is a known fact that there is a very close relationship between the Global Mean temperature and the amount of carbon/ carbon dioxide  in the atmosphere! Ice-core samples extracted from the polar-ice caps are examined for the amount of carbon dioxide trapped within them. Scientists have been able to show that in the past, whenever there was global warming, there's e was a large amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which was trapped in the ice.
The film, "Water World" is a bleak reminder of what would happen if the polar ice-caps melted down! There would be no land left us to live on, and the only land would be on the North-Pole and the South-Pole. Another worst-case scenario would be the opening up of the Drake's Passage  and the disruption of the circumpolar currents (which have the function of regulating global temperatures). If this happens, then North America and most of Europe would be in the grip of years long winter with a thick layer of ice forming everywhere! Life would be impossible. Remember the film, "The Day after Tomorrow"?
The Situation on the Indian Sub-Continent
The situation on the Indian sub-continent would be worse! Our memories of the recent floods in Mumbai are still fresh. If the polar ice caps melt, then all the coastal areas of India will be submerged under water! Low-lying island Nations like Mauritius, Seychelles, Kiribati, Vanuatu, and many more will be lost forever! Soon the sight of Ice on the snow capped mountains India will be gone forever, the glaciers that feed our mighty rivers like the Ganges, Beas, will have melted down completely! Are we not already facing acute shortage of water in the major cities of Northern India?
Technological Progress or Technological Retreat?
In our march towards so called "Technological Progress" we have in fact traveled backwards! The cutting down of trees, the building up of townships, filling up of water bodies, growing of only cash-crops have all taken a toll on our environment! Someone from a major Oil Refining company of India once told me that the Technological Advancement of a Country is reflected by the amount of crude it consumes! Isn't increased consumption of crude oil  also a single most most important contributing factor towards Global Warming? We are living in an excessively consumerist society where our economic progress is making us greedier  than ever! Today we want bigger cars and more of them per family. For example, a  family of four might have created an artificial requirement for four different cars, whereas one or two would have done, but then no, we will travel in different cars because it is convenient! Our greed for a better standard of living, and our craving for luxuries has lead to an increased global carbon foot-print! In this case each one of us is responsible for this increasing carbon foot print, and we cannot ignore the fact that we are part of a holistic culture of respect towards the environment!
Each individual living on this planet is responsible for  the increasing carbon foot-print that we are witnessing today! It is below our dignity to travel to work by public transport; bus or the metro. We are so obsessed with the luxury of privacy that we don’t want to share our cars while going to work (Car Pools). Today we don’t want smaller cars which are more maneuverable on busy roads, because we feel that those bigger, flashier gas guzzlers are a better indicator of our social status( even if it means puffing and fuming at the traffic jam).
Somehow, I believe that  Greed is the largest contributor to Global Warming and Apocalypse.  I hope it is not already too late! It seems as if Global Warming has become a Freight Train without brakes that too on a downward slope! One can only hope that the concept of  Carbon Credits will be an effective in fighting Global Warming. Exercising restraint, adopting a Green Attitude, using public transport, car-pools and of course having a garden are a few steps to start with!
Are these Sights soon to be things of the Past?


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