Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Point of No Return

"Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now, he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wildlife's becoming extinct, the climate's ruined and the land grows uglier and poorer" (Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya)

Hi Everyone,

I love the village I belong to, certainly not for the super orthodox societal norms, but definitely for the clean fresh air I get there sitting under the lush green trees in fields. But since past few years I have felt the air is not so clean and fresh anymore. And its only a matter of time when it will mimic the pollution levels of cities.

The world environment has crossed point of no return in several geographies. The point of no return means that no matter what, the damage done to the environment and climate in those regions cannot be undone. For rest of the geographical areas on Earth the point of no return will arrive within next 10-30 years if we wouldn't change our habits. We cannot deny that we have started feeling the effect of the environmental degradation already. The summers are becoming hotter, winters colder, rainy seasons bring floods and the increasing number of droughts are just the beginning.

The biosphere we live in has a capacity to regenerate. During 1970s the humans all over world were using about 85% of that regenerative capacity and today they are using over 150% of that regenerative capacity. Numbers clearly indicate that the biosphere is not able to regenerate itself and hence the point of no return. We have used the natural resources mercilessly without thinking about the sustainability. We may not see the worst but our children definitely will and the generation after that will bear the burnt of the fallout of natural resources. Want to know how much we have left? Here are the facts:
  1. Based on current technological capability we will reach the peak of oil drilling capacity by 2015 and by 2050 we will have used 90% of the oil. Rest 10% is unreachable.
  2. 500 cubic meters water per person per year is minimum requirement for a functioning society. Usable water is depleting very quickly. By 2025 political battles would have already started over water which would soon escalate to real battles. Within India fights are already going over several rivers, between different states
  3. By 2030 easily mined gold and silver will vanish giving rise to economic and financial turmoils
  4. There has been a 90% drop in population of some major species of fish which could cause a severe dent in the food supply
  5. Planet is getting warmer. By 2050, $7 billion would have to be spent to counteract the effects of warmer climate on nutrition
  6. In next 60 years the ice covered landmass of Himalayas would decrease by 40% causing a great panic for many Asian countries as Himalayas are source of water for many rivers
  7. And in next 70 years we would have used almost 90% of coal supply
Having just read all these shocking facts, many of which will happen in our own lifetimes, what is it that we can do as individuals to dull the degradation of the climate? I have some simple suggestions some of which I have implemented myself:
  1. For people going to corporate offices use vehicle pooling as much as possible
  2. Let's not take out our bikes or cars for every little errand. We have got two legs, we should use them for something else, other than pressing brakes and accelerators
  3. If we have a garden area, we should plant lush trees. Forget about ornamental plants, here we are talking about saving the planet
  4. Stop smoking as it produces almost 10 times more pollution than burning diesel fuel. I know people feel all macho, fashionable, trendy or great while smoking but think about coming generations who wont be able to have simplest pleasures of nature if we continue smoking
  5. Let's stop wasting water, we really don't want to drink salted water. We should use it economically in daily routine work, it's not that difficult.
When I was in MBA college a year back my Environmental Management professor told me that climate has already crossed point of no return but I thought he was joking. After some serious research and reading through almost dozens of research papers I found the above facts and much more. People we are sitting on a time bomb and the clock is ticking. We cannot stop the clock, we can only slow it down. How much we slow it down it's up to us.

Holi, the festival of colours, is coming and a lot of water is wasted in the festival - first in soaking people with wet colours and then equal amount in washing those colours off. Please pledge to play a dry Holi (as it was played originally) and take a big step towards becoming part of the SOLUTION by saving water. If not then you are creating PROBLEM for the coming generation.

Genie Signing off

P.S. Wish you all a very happy and colourful Holi