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FORECAST: SNAFU

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BY HUGH & COLLEEN GANTZER

SNAFU is a faugi term when suitably sanitised for delicate civilian ears it stands for Situation Normal All Fouled Up. It aptly describes both the election we are going through as well as the conduct of Indian males in the immediate past. We have gone through every election faced by free India. We have never seen a more filthy electioneering process then the one that is about to end. But judging by the conduct of our Indian males, we should have. Starting from the behaviour of a person heading a sports organisation to the conduct of a neta on an island to the video graphing of intimidated women by the son and grandson of a former politician to the disrobing, parading, clipping, groping and even rape of women of a particular community. Indian men have never sunk to lower levels of depravity. And all this happened after India had placed a Rover on the moon and launched a satellite to survey the sun.  To these successes we must add a report in today’s Garhwal Post which says: Budget of Rs 5 crore allocated to each DM for forest firefighting: Radha Raturi.

Forest fires can occur naturally in a tinder-dry forest, but the hotter the summer gets, the dryer the forest becomes, the greater the chances of a forest fire. These fires generate more green house gasses beyond the capacity of the earth to absorb. If the earth cannot absorb them they remain in the atmosphere and do not allow the heat of the earth to escape: this is the effect that is captured in a green house which is why green house gasses have been given their name. The earth is getting warmer and warmer because there are not enough trees to absorb these gassess, convert half of them into oxygen which we and all animals breathe and lock the rest of it in the carbon of their wood. This is why the woody tissue of trees are referred to as carbon sinks.

Trees are the most efficient, self propagating living equipment to recycle green house gasses.  But when they destroy this living mechanism, as Brazil did when it destroyed its rain forest to create pasture land, then the whole world suffers. This is what is happening today and is described as climate change.  To prevent climate change from haming India we have created a Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change. Sadly it does not seem to be able to handle national responsibilities. What happens when we are unable to control the evil effect of climate change. We searched the Intenet to find the answers. They were terrifying.

A 2 degree C rise in global temperature could make India’s  summer monsoon highly unpredictable and a 4 degree rise could lead to more flooding  and droughts in large parts of India, as well as higher than average rainfall along the north west and south east coast. Extreme temperatures and precipitation are also expected to increase especially in west, central and east coast of India.

Global warming will also impact India’s coastal areas which are home to nearly 3l0 million people, as sea levels rise. India is already a disaster-prone area with 27 out of 35 states experiencing disasters mostly water related. In 2007-2008 India had 18 significant disasters in one year, resulting in 1,103 deaths.

 Moving away from our coast we discover that the Government of India has launched

The National Mission for Edible oils –OIL PALM (NMEO-OP] in August 2021 to promote palm oil cultivation in India. Palm Oil is cultivated in India in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Other states suitable for palm oil cultivation are Arunachal, Assam, Chattisgarh, Kerala, Mizoram, Odisha, Telangana, Gujarat, Goa and Nagarland.

Palm oil cultivation, however, has been linked to de-forestation, air pollution and the destruction of ecosystems.  Palm Oil Plantations are not more eco-friendly than natural forests. These plantations produce more green house gas emissions than natural forests.

Palm Oil Plantations maybe a gold mine but, as the legendary King Croesus found out, you can’t eat gold.

(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[1]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.) (The opinions and thoughts expressed here reflect only the authors’ views!).