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Survival Options

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Worldwide, it was the hottest June this year in an entire century. Mumbai witnessed unprecedented intensity of rains with the onset of the Monsoon, entirely overwhelming the city’s existing infrastructure. The winds during the rains in Dehradun had speeds that uprooted trees, hoardings and electricity poles. These are all symptoms of the impact climate change is having upon the weather. Summer days are hotter, winters are colder and rains have greater localised intensity. The inability to cope with heavier rains over a shorter period has meant the areas chronically afflicted with drought are expanding. The rise in sea-levels is eroding coastlines around the world.
It is only natural that flora and fauna are being adversely affected, as they have a limited capacity to adapt to such rapid change. As human beings attempt survival, they add to the misery by further destroying the natural habitat. In the face of the challenge, it is necessary for correctives to be taken at the global level by all societies and nations. Unfortunately, many parts of the world are under other kinds of stress, particularly in the realm of politics and war. The presence of climate change deniers in the US, personified in their President, has made it difficult to institutionalise the sacrifices required at every level of human society.
Human beings have achieved a quality of life that they are naturally reluctant to surrender. As such, the solutions have to factor this in if they are to be effective. In a country like India, with a long tradition of nature-friendly lifestyles, it should be easier to implement the remedies. It has to protect and expand its forests, particularly by involving local communities in the task. Urban populations have to be imparted a sense of responsibility and encouraged to produce less garbage and conserve water. Everybody should know how to limit or even eliminate the production of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Town planners and architects must adopt green practices and technologies in the most innovative ways.
The tree cover has to be increased. Rural communities understand the necessity of neighbouring forests and should be enabled to plant and nurture trees of use to them. They must be made stake-holders in the economic advantages that accrue from such forests. All sources of water must be protected and the watershed preserved and expanded. All the latest technology should be utilised to purify and reuse water. Energy efficient practices have to be introduced in every activity. The developed countries should finance this initiative generously in their own long term interest. It is a tall order, all of this and more, but the sooner humankind gets down to it, the better the chances of survival.