Go Green

Is the writing on the wall already? Such a question - the portentous tone is suggestive - is particularly relevant to World Environment Day that falls today. Grim statistics bear evidence of a deepening environmental crisis of a global scale. The tree cover loss, which is the result of unchecked felling, had reached a staggering 51 per cent around the world in 2016; 

  • Published 5.06.18
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Is the writing on the wall already? Such a question - the portentous tone is suggestive - is particularly relevant to World Environment Day that falls today. Grim statistics bear evidence of a deepening environmental crisis of a global scale. The tree cover loss, which is the result of unchecked felling, had reached a staggering 51 per cent around the world in 2016; more than eight million tonnes of plastic are being dumped into the oceans annually, causing irreparable damage to aquatic species; the rise in global temperature is expected to cross the threshold level, bringing about catastrophic changes in the lives of the planet's inhabitants; the rate of extinction of species has been exacerbated. The scale and the diversity of the challenge are evident. What is common to each kind of crisis, however, is human agency. This culpability can take multiple forms: obliviousness, apathy, and even wilful denial. The president of the United States of America, who has announced that he would pull his country out of the Paris Climate Treaty - a multilateral action plan that seeks to mitigate the rise in global temperature - embodies the kind of scepticism that can prove to be disastrous in the long run.

This is not to suggest that interventions are a rarity altogether. That the Paris pact - even though it is by no means ideal as a treaty - has not unravelled completely proves that the global community, including India, can, on occasions, show the resolve that is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Can the international community build on this momentum? That would decide the fate of the environment. This is not merely a question of greening technology or framing policies and legislations. There are enough laws in place, and technology is evolving. What is lacking though is the collective will - political and public - to demand the implementation of legal-ecological deterrents. India's failure to check the plastic menace in its cities or poaching in the wild serves as examples of the distance that separates environment from politics. But the environment remains a political question. Public demands of accountability in this regard can yet make a difference.

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