By Hugh and Colleen Gantzer
The world’s Movers and Shakers have winged to Europe to fight the Great Fiery Ogre called CLIMATE CHANGE. So what is this Fearful Thing?
Climate Change is the dangerous over-heating of the earth because certain gases, now largely produced by our human activities, trap heat and do not allow it to escape into space. The earth gets hotter and hotter like a self-fuelled furnace gone berserk!
This had happened once before. At that distant time the only life on our planet was in the sea: very tiny marine creatures protected by the great shields of water. But then something wondrous occurred. From somewhere, some of those tiny creatures, captured a wonderful chemical called Chlorophyll. They also acquired the amazing ability of multiplying this chemical and passing it on to their progeny!
This captured substance changed the fate of our earth. It used the stinking gases which smelt of rotten eggs, captured the energy of sunlight, and in their tiny solar factories, turned the gases into oxygen, which it breathed out into the atmosphere, and sugar which it used as food.
You can see this wonderful solar-powering substance in every green leaf of every plant on the surface of the earth and in the sunlight-penetrated waters of our planet.
At first, for millions of years, chlorophyll did this amazing atmosphere-changing work in the great oceans of our world. Then, very slowly, green plants began to invade the beaches, then the wetlands. They started growing taller and taller, reaching for more and still more solar energy. By the Carboniferous Age, plants had grown to more than 30 metres in height. They were giant Mosses and Ferns. These ancient forests did their work of solar-powered oxygen producers and also absorbers of the noxious gases we could not breathe. They died, were consumed by the earth, and were cooked by its heat and pressure into Natural Gas, Petro-chemicals and Coal. When we burn these fossil fuels in our homes, power generators and factories, we are using the solar energy they had stored and releasing the noxious gases that they had imprisoned. These foul gases swirl together to form the Great Black Ogre of Climate Change.
So how will changing the MDDA to MDGA make a difference to the growing menace of the Climate Change Ogre? We’ll tell you.
Centuries ago, Europe was overtaken by an urge to build grand and still grander cathedrals. Europeans seemed to believe that even if most of the citizens of their countries lived in squalor, the Creator of the entire Universe would be happy if they raised their steeples higher and still higher This gave rise to bands of very skilled Masons who needed to preserve and hand-down their professional secrets. But when a more democratic age dawned, the Masons realised that they would either have to evolve or dissolve their superb network. They chose evolution and gave birth to the most pervasive civic welfare organisation embracing all professionals: the Global Botherhood of Masons. The meaning of “Mason” had changed.
Similarly, the MDDA was formed when Mussoorie and Dehra needed to develop from their pre-independence origins to towns catering to the needs of modern Indian society. Sadly, like many well-meaning institutions, they outgrew their utility The National Academy of Administration’s research organisation NSDART did a Carrying Capacity Study of Mussoorie in 2001. It very categorically said that there was virtually no scope for further expansion. But, in the 20 years that have passed, the MDDA has continued to permit overbuilding in Mussoorie. The report of the NSDART recorded the ire of Mussoorie’s citizens at this wanton destruction, possibly to add to the Development Authority’s Compounding Fees.
Such sanctioned destruction of green cover, to be replaced by heat-generating concrete constructions, is what enhances Climate Change. What has encouraged a state organisation, presumably working under a Minister of the ruling party, not to stop such blatant Climate Change activities? Or, Mr Unknown Neta, are you not aware of what is happening under your nose?
Finally, it would be appropriate to rename the MDDA the Mussoorie Dehradun Greening Authority. We would be the first state in India, and perhaps the world, to give concrete shape to a defence against the menace of the Climate Change Ogre.
(Hugh & Colleen Gantzer hold the National Lifetime Achievement Award for Tourism among other National and International awards. Their credits include over 52 halfhour documentaries on national TV under their joint names, 26 published books in 6 genres, and over 1,500 first-person articles, about every Indian state, UT and 34 other countries. Hugh was a Commander in the Indian Navy and the Judge Advocate, Southern Naval Command. Colleen is the only travel writer who was a member of the Travel Agents Association of India.)