We humans are like the pigeon, which sits on a high-tension wire, thinking it is safe. It believes it is the lucky one and no harm will come to it. In how we perceive the environment, its use, conservation and preservation, we are like that pigeon. We build houses on mountains, cutting them to build resorts and roads, and expect landslides and flash floods to never occur. We do illegal sand mining, change the course of rivers and expect them to never die, or the ecology to never wither. We build infrastructure in floodplains, and pray there are no floods. We build cement cities, and then, rue the effects of global warming. We dump plastic waste in nullahs, khads and rivers, and expect fish meat to be nutritious.
Our un-ecological actions go on and on. We shirk our responsibilities towards nature and expect it to bless us with abundant resources.
Several international conventions like Bonn, Rotterdam, CITES and CMS have been working for the conservation of environment, but it has not percolated down to the grassroots. Else why would developed countries continue with coal emissions? Why is the green action climate fund empty? Or, here in India, why swachhta has to be an abhiyan? It should be a part of life.
Perhaps the concept of a welfare state has made us totally dependent on the government for providing and provisioning everything. We do not want to stop using plastic, but we want the administration to take care of all garbage, whether flung across a valley or littered in nullahs. We do not want to pay our taxes fully (India’s tax to GDP ratio is about 4 per cent), which can be used to fund the expensive R&D to build cleaner technologies. But we want low-cost technological solutions to green problems. We strive less to keep public transport and public facilities clean, and then, make that an excuse to use private transport and seek private facilities everywhere, taking the carbon footprint a thousand notches higher!
Why, even after so much research and awareness about ecology and need to be environmentally conscious, our greed knows no bounds? Why do we exploit our resources like we are the last generation? Why do we hoard land and water to become rich while communities out there are languishing in inhuman ghettos? If epidemics originate from such ghettos, they will reach us too!
Population is out of control. The earth’s carrying capacity has remained a topic for books and examinations. Campaigns regarding this are many in the social dimension, but is the urgency of the issue understood? The pigeon in us is not only resting on dangerous ground, but also has its eyes closed, thinking the cat is away. It is time to open the eyes and see: disasters await if we do not change our way of life.