The projection by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) through a report that the average temperature of the earth to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming over the next 20 years under all scenarios has expectedly set the tongues of zealous environmentalists wagging. With them, a band of NGOs are salivating at the prospect of getting flushed with funds from all sources anxious to save the only planet we have. Ever since the then Vice-President of the United States, Al Gore, made an industry out of the panic generated by the narrative on global warming and climate change and the IPCC in India was discredited by the alleged financial irregularities, conflict of interest and sexual misconduct of Rajendra Kumar Pachauri as well as mindless plagiarism by the body, it has been difficult to accept even genuine concerns for the ecology. Mercifully, with the passage of time, people now know how much of Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth raised authentic alarms and how much were speculations or plain drama of exaggeration. This is not to deny the role of Home sapiens in wrecking the fragile balance of the biosphere, lithosphere and exosphere. Governments must but act in the spirit of scientific cooperation to delay the inevitable demise of the only known habitat of life.
Countries could not take adequate mitigation measures as pledged in one international environment event after another because of the reluctance of the developed nations to share the know-how of clean energy as a philanthropic exercise. The malaise that ails the pharmaceutical industry, where drug developers are more concerned about making money by charging for their intellectual property rights than helping the diseased in poor Asian, African and South American countries, hurts the geographical cause too. Where entire nations fail, the objective cannot be served by outsourcing the responsibility to fashionable, micro parallel governments. The sheer science of our eventual extinction is too big for NGOs to fathom, let alone handle. The demonstrators on the streets are worse. Today’s half-baked activists inspired by Greta Thunberg‘s Fridays for Future are not even as enlightened as those trained by The Climate Reality Project founded by Al Gore in 2006 or even the inspired Inconvenient Youth established in 2010.
While the argument that human activity does not contribute much to the heating of the earth surfaces time and again, the knowledge that members of the solar system can only heat up and not cool down because their orbits inwardly spiral up to the sun — and the fusion reaction of hydrogen to helium can only get hotter, making our closest star bigger and bigger — is not widespread. And few think as far as the sun itself perishing into a white dwarf 4.5 billion years from now after it has gobbled up Mercury and Venus, destroyed Earth, devastated Mars and ruined even Jupiter and Saturn, sparing perhaps Uranus and Neptune. With human being’s capabilities falling too short of managing such celestial affairs, we are now working on short-term goals like keeping the air worth inhaling and preventing the melting of glaciers and inundation of low-lying areas. These steps barely treat the symptom rather than the disease, if the end of life can at all be classified as such. No doubt, the world has been less and less healthy since the Industrial Revolution, but this progress of time, if not of ethics, is irreversible. As no interest group is advocating a return to prehistoric life in caves and jungles, foraging, hunting and scavenging, humans can only be buried under the debris of their own material creations. Until then, it should be up to the state actors to conserve the wild, preserve the land we stand on and keep us as far away from man-made toxins as possible.