, by ABDUL BASIT
The natural calamities caused by global warming and climate change have ignited a total reassessment among the western thinkers about the western way of economic development and lifestyle. The recent articles by Mr. Eamon O’Hara and Mr. Matt Prescott in BBC green room provide hope and at the same time show the change in thinking about the concepts of development and lifestyle.
As we all know, the growth of modern civilization is due to its materialistic ideology, which is propelled by the motive for profit and for attainment of improved standard of living. As a result of economic growth and prosperity and new technology we attained during the last century what made our life more easy and comfortable. Now we realise that these years of competitive growth and development were at the cost of the environment and the very existence of humanity as a whole.
As we move recklessly forward with the so-called economic progress ignoring the signs of nature and the writing on the wall, it is time to address some basic questions about the goals and objectives set by ourselves as individuals and nations. We must also reconsider whether the present way of economic growth and development will lead to our true progress or to total destruction.
The recent scientific research and its conclusions and the frequent natural calamities confirm that if we continue to pursue the present growth and development methods, we would be heading towards destruction.
So the immediate and most important step is to put an immediate halt to this method of progress and development that we are pursuing. This task, as we all know, is next to impossible, as we will be facing thousands of new problems.
So what is the short-term solution to this crisis that has been unleashed due to our extravagant and unsustainable way of life?
The only short-term solution is to slow the pace of economic activities by promoting sustainable growth and development on individual, social, national and International level:
a) We have to bring awareness among the individuals of the society about the demerits of frantic economic activities and their consequences to the environment.
b) Promote simple, holistic and eco-friendly way of life.
c) Encourage and implement green activities among individuals that will help to reduce emissions and improve the environment.
d) Organise and train individuals in farming and to encourage earning through farming
e) As Mr. Matt Prescott referred to in his article we have to promote eco-friendly competition between individuals of the society. Also discourage luxurious style of life which promotes wastage and unnecessary production.
SOCIAL & NATIONAL LEVEL
a) Implement and enforce laws to reduce and regulate the economic activities of the society and nation to reduce the carbon emissions and pollution to the environment. The governments can also take steps to reduce working hours and instead encourage green activities that will improve the environment.
b) Start voluntary organisations for planting trees, forestation and retrieving dead rivers and encourage eco-friendly activities.
c) Provide guidance and awareness to the members of the society about conservation, sustainable development and natural resource management.
d) Impose fines and take stern action against companies and individuals that are polluting the environment and over exploiting the natural resources.
e) Ensure that all members of the society receive the basic amenities like food and shelter.
f) Promote social cohesiveness and encourage creative and eco friendly activities among the members of the society to replace harmful economic activities.
The major cause for the deterioration in the environment which most of the intellectuals have not addressed so far was wars and conflicts between the nations that took place during the last century and which are continuing to this day. The imperialistic foreign policies followed by the western powers and the resulting wars for maintaining their hegemony and dominance and for spreading their culture caused irreparable damage to humanity and environment. The two world wars and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had wide repercussions on humanity and greatly affected the societies and environments for generations. Further the cold war between Communist and Capitalist countries and the arms race for nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction further complicated the state of affairs. The Chernobyl incident and the vast deposits of nuclear waste which are being dumped in the oceans have also seriously effected the environment. At the end of the cold war, Western powers turned their attention to the Middle East. The war for liberation of Kuwait, invasion of Iraq and war in Afghanistan, along with human cost, have further aggravated the environmental situation by using depleted uranium and other weapons. I wonder why Al-Gore, a prominent campaigner to counter the effects of global warming and climate change and who was also the Presidential candidate against Mr. Bush, seems to remain silent about the damage to the humanity and environment caused by the countless wars and invasions conducted by the United States of America during the last 50 years
The present wars have caused damage to the humanity as a whole and there have not been any clear victors in these wars. In fact, the conquerors of the current wars have to suffer more than the conquered. The recent US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan proves this point. At the same time, the humanity, as a whole, has to face the consequences caused by environmental damage brought about by the wars.
So the major role of international organisations and inter-governmental organisations should be as follows:
a) Prevent any further wars and conflicts for the benefit of the whole humanity and to bring awareness about the direct and indirect consequences of war on humanity and environment;
b) Promote harmonious relationship between nations and religious communities to promote and maintain world peace;
c) Guide nations to adopt eco-friendly and sustainable economic development;
d) Promote leaders with humane nature and vision of sustainable development and world peace;
e) Impose fines on countries that are not implementing environmental safety rules and overexploiting the natural resources; and
f) Conduct world environment day, by stopping all economic activities including movement of vehicle for one day every 3 months, 6 months or annually. In some areas of India, people conduct bandhs or total strikes as part of agitation. During these days all the economic activities and vehicular movements come to complete halt. Despite all its demerits, I felt that the day of bandh helps to reduce emissions for at least one day.
These are my suggestions to prevent global warming and improve the environment and life of mankind. Please note that these are only the short term steps. We will have to make harder decisions in the long term.