A 2009 film Age of Stupid shows our world in the year 2055, devasted by the adverse impacts of Climate Change such as rising sea levels and other natural disasters. The point is, that humans did not do anything to stop it when they could have. Hence, the title 'Age of Stupid'.
Recently, the capital saw the wrath of nature in the form of intense heat waves. This begs the conclusion that the concern of global climate change is no longer a theoretical phenomenon or a lesson read in an EVS book, but a lived reality.
On this World Environment Day, CitySpidey decided to get the people to focus on what really matters. For this, we met Aditya Pundir, Director of India and South East Asia, Climate Reality Project. We talked about climate change reality in India, not just environmentally but economically and geographically.
Aditya Pundir says given the disasters happening all around us, we can no longer call it climate change, but a literal climate emergency for the planet. The discourses before a decade were about the future of my children or my grandchildren, but now it is simple unfurling in front of us. What we are witnessing is climate change.
Talking about what happened in Delhi, he says, there is so much concentration of greenhouses (280 to 410) ppm. The Earth's temperature has gone up by 1.1 degrees. Climate is naturally changing globally. The increased heat that we are producing is being absorbed by oceans. (about 93 per cent)
When this water evaporates, is additional moisture(about 7 per cent) in the air. Whenever this situation, we came extreme events all over the world such as unnatural rainfalls and heat waves. We have seen its impact in Assam and Hyderabad recently, and now in Delhi.
Moreover, the unequal heating creates certain air pockets like anti cyclonic areas where there is no air movement and the heat comes down continuously, that is what we witnessed in Delhi.
For the next five years, we can expect the temperature to be up by 1.5 degrees. And if we do not do anything about it, it can go up by 3 degrees. This means heatwave like conditions throughout the world, the temperature now 49 can shoot above 50.
Among global environmental concerns, climate justice or concepts related to equitable development, human rights and political voice is major. Aditya Pundir says during industrial growth, the first world countries made use of fossil fuels. Now, they are using cleaner energy and discouraging the former. However, Developing countries are unable to adapt. Due to this process, poor countries are suffering from the worst impacts of climate change.
Moreover, as seen in many modern satires, the worst impacts of climate change would first reach the indigenous communities who have a little carbon footprint.
Mitigating climate change requires actions and policies by world leaders and organizations. However, a lot can be done on the individual level too. Aditya Pundir says the first thing a common man can do is conserve energy. "Change to LED bulbs, buy electric devices with 5-star ratings, get energy consumption down and stop wasting energy. Every unit saved at home means 2 units saved at the power station."
He continues, "We have to change our lifestyle behaviour. Food wastage is increasing, and this has to be reduced. People are going for exotic food which has a very high carbon footprint, for example, avocados coming from South America, this should stop. We also need to reduce our consumption of non-vegetarian food. Non-veg food uses a lot of energy to be produced. We also need to consume food which is grown locally. Waste segregation at the domestic level is also extremely important, as this helps in recycling the waste in a major way. Also, we need to buy and use more fuel-efficient cars, we must use more public transport, such as metro trains and slowly shift to electric cars."
As leaders of environmental change, Climate Reality Project has taken many efforts to make people aware of environmental concerns. Their environmental leader training equips individuals with the right knowledge to increase awareness of the environment. They also work with governments and policymakers to come up with environment-friendly prospects.
Their Green Campus projects raise awareness among schools and organizations. On the grassroots level too, they have helped vulnerable coastal areas such as Odisha and Sundarbans. In addition, they have facilitated water harvesting projects in many water-scarce districts of Maharashtra.
Watch the complete interview here