A Catastrophe in the Offing

Our physical environment, and the preservation of it, rarely demands our attention. Our world, as we know always takes care of itself, or so we believed, not anymore. Man’s activities, all attained at aiming material contentment, has disrupted nature’s age- old processes, including climatic patterns. Our desires aimed at better technology, is indeed a major cause for the environmental imbalance.


Global warming is one such disruptive phenomenon. The issue of global warming has brought into focus the several ways in which man, the epitome of wisdom is indulging in activities that are changing the climatic make-up of our planet, only for worse.


As we all know that climate has a direct bearing on the health of living species and has a very strong effect on life, through food and other resources. But now the climate is changing and changing for the worse. The average temperature of the earth over the last 40years has risen by 0.5 degree Celsius. These natural fluctuations are indeed overtaken by human induced warming that has catastrophic implications for the Earth in general and all life on Earth in particular.


Global warming can be defined as the average increase in global surface temperature. Climatologists predict a global temperature to increase by 1.4-5.8 degree Celsius by 2100. If we compare it with the fact that global temperatures are thought to have fluctuated by only 1 degree Celsius since the dawn of civilisation, then such a comparison gives us a glimpse of the truly devastating consequences for all life on earth. Warming in the 20th century has been greater than at any earlier time during the past 500-600 years.


The sea levels have risen 10-20cm i.e. 3 times over the past 100 years compared to the previous 3000years. Non Polar glaciers are also receding and the Arctic ice pack has lost about 40% of its thickness over the past four decades. These facts clearly reveal that the human induced global warming is real and has become increasingly clear and compelling. Human induced warming takes place through fossil fuel production, propellants in sprays and any devices that chill, biomass consumption, industrial processes like manufacturing of semi-conductors and cellular phones and vehicular emissions etc.


All of us are very much aware with the aftermath of the warming. Rising global temperatures invite a growing risk that the climate will change in ways that will seriously disrupt all forms of life on our planet. Individual regions will experience different climatic changes and environmental impact. More droughts would result in more and more conflicts for water resources and far reaching changes in food production conditions.


Instead of putting the blame on the government or questioning the competence of the government, we should ask ourselves that what we can do.


We can help reduce consumer demand for heavily polluting goods and services and make global energy supply more efficient. We should also prevent further deforestation which would help alleviate the source of carbon emissions. Promoting cleaner energy and transport technology should be our foremost measure. To avoid climatic changes, we can also reduce emission of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane by reducing consumption of fuels and using technology that reduce the amount of emissions and protect the world’s forests.


The impact of global warming could be abrupt or irreversible and no country would be spared, so every human being should realize the importance of the challenge and take action through changes in lifestyle and attitude, then only we can reduce our vulnerability to Global Warming.


Ashmit Saigal

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