Summers like never before

Here comes my first column. Since it’s my first feature I would like to keep it purely non-controversial yet candid. I want it to be more germane and nothing seems more relevant than the “scorching summer of ’10” to me these days. But what is so different about summers this time?

So let me tell you. Have you ever heard of Shimla’s temperature reaching the boiling (as per Shimla at least) 32 degrees so frequently. Its maximum temperature was recorded six degrees higher than the average for this time of the year. Places that fall under Himalayan range like the Mandi district records a maximum of 34.4 degrees Celsius, Kullu district saw 30.8 degrees Celsius. The idea behind placing this data is that areas like these which go down under the class of hill stations has never shown such baking temperatures before. Recently I went to Uttranchal. On talking to natives of Mussoorie, I got to know that this year Mussoorie too had its own yarn to tell. They said previously it never exceeded 24-25 degrees Celsius but the very day itself it had 30 degrees Celsius. Now while writing this column when I checked today’s (May 31, 2010) weather forecast of Mussoorie, I see a blistering 32 degrees. For places like Delhi & Hyderabad that reported a maximum of 45.4 degrees & 42.4 degrees respectively in the last few weeks is too a record setting temperature in the last so many years.

Well, all these are mere essentials but the veracity of these facts lies in our ill-equipped war against the sizzling heat that we face every day now. How are we going to validate that summers have always been the same when this time it’s not like before. Now no more can we beat the heat with revitalizing lemon sodas, nariyal pani, sub-zero ice-creams or even by staying indoors. It’s so searing that these hardly help now. For such an improbable climate we are to thank our own selves for making this blue planet a red hot pumpkin. We are all very sentient of the no more fanciful GLOBAL WARMING.

Conferences held, issues discussed but decisions deferred and amidst all this global warming takes its course. So far, all we have done is talks, talks & only talks. It was until last year’s Copenhagen summit that Global warming was the burning issue. Today you won’t get to see of it in newspapers. Has the disagreement between the nations led to its departure or is it the unbending nature of world leaders that has caused this ignorance? What about our leaders who too are a part of the inconclusive silence? With such status in quo, they can never get to recognize that India is facing the high temperature which is even higher than western Asia’s 40 degrees and has claimed 300 deaths so far. We need tangible steps to tackle this problem and not only a forum jam-packed with dialogues.

Our planet has so much grandeur and diversity that we barely know. How can we let those thousands of undiscovered majestic species die even before their matchless exquisiteness is discovered? Time has come when we really need to act and not sit back and ask for 2050 to come while we wait for the countdown to begin. After all, each of us is a part of this mêlée. Following much said, trouble-free eco friendly habits can help save a lot. Using compact fluorescent bulbs in place of incandescent bulbs can help. Plant trees in your locality and encourage others as well. Buy eco friendly products and organic food products. Use of public transport is always appreciated. Employ products that are made from recycled material and most importantly learn to recycle. Switch off appliances when not in use and prefer the energy saving ones. If the above measures are followed meticulously, they will definitely bring a major reform. Rest is for the world’s best & few to perform which I am not capable of suggesting but expecting and so are you!

Advisory: To all you readers out there, a personal suggestion follows….watch the BBC documentary called ‘Deep Blue’ and trust me you’ll fall in love with your planet. Subsequently, nothing will stop you from saving this exotically mesmerizing planet ‘Earth’.
“Don’t blow it — good planets are hard to find.” ~ Anonymous

Shelly Mahajan