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Hey Man, this is your planet!

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by rvnachar, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. rvnachar

    rvnachar Silver IL'ite

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    WHITHER ARE WE MARCHING?


    I happened to see ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ featuring Mr. Al Gore. It is a wonderfully shot documentary, whatever its intentions. Al Gore deserves the Nobel Peace Prize he has been awarded. But should we all lay back and rest, having awarded him?

    The film is really thought-provoking and sends chills down my spine because there are solid statistics to show that our beautiful planet will not be the same, as few as fifty years from now. It was shocking to realize how fast mankind is today, thanks to his technological marvels, in ransacking nature. What he could not achieve in millions of years, he is able to do in just a matter of fifty to seventy years!

    One sample is the way the population has risen in the past fifty years from about 2 billion to nearly 6.4 billion (India and China alone account for over 2 billion today). The rate of increase shows that this figure will rise up to over 9 billion in just the next thirty to forty years. Scary!

    An interesting feature in the documentary is the comparison of recent pictures of several locations the world over with pictures taken in the last century, showing the shocking changes that have taken place in the meantime. These changes include the melting of major glaciers, clearing of forest vegetation and the drying up of rivers and lakes. Examples of glacier-melting include the great ice-mass of the Antarctic, Greenland and Himalayan glaciers. While the rise in sea-levels is cause enough for concern, the loss of Himalayan glaciers also means the loss of the almost exclusive source of freshwater supporting the 40% of the world population that lives in the Indian subcontinent and China.

    Lake Chad Africa, which was once the largest lake in the world, has dried up to almost nothing in a matter of half a century. Rivers that once fed the Aral Sea in Central Asia have been lost owing to human activities, in particular diversion of rivers for irrigation. The result has been the total death of what was once the fourth largest inland sea. Our rivers face the same prospect unless Himalayan glaciers are protected.

    How can we drive the point about the emergency of this issue to the politicians and policy-makers, who are only bothered about bickering for their positions, earning a few quick bucks for their future generations and building empires, leave alone convincing the common man on the street? Of what use is all this development, when the very existence of the planet is in danger?

    The melting glaciers, rising sea levels, the vanishing greenery, the wrath of nature and the rising number of new diseases are all the warning signals that nature has been giving us, if only we are smart enough to take them.

    Natural resources are not unlimited, as we seem to be thinking. Freshwater is just over one percent of the entire water reserve on earth. With the kind of rise in the needs of its use, this reserve will almost get used up fully in just the next 25-30 years. There are many predictions around the world that the third world war will be fought over water.

    Until now, whenever we read about global warming or the changes that the planet has been undergoing, we would read them as bits of fantasies, because all those would be statistics spread over thousands or hundreds of years and we could hardly feel any of those changes in our small lifetime. The fantastic rates at which mankind has managed to plunder nature have given us the boon of witnessing sporadic changes in climate, sea levels and other features in our own lifetime. A scientist can now study all these things by taking live pictures or studying statistics within his own lifetime, instead of depending upon archives or history!

    For instance, the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere, which had never reached 300 ppm in the last 650,000 years, has risen to much more in a matter of about 30 years. The trend in the average global temperature almost faithfully follows that in atmospheric CO2 levels. The average temperature in the northern hemisphere has almost exclusively stayed below the -0.5oC mark for a millennium. In just the 20th century, it has risen to almost 0 oC. One of the most jolting facts presented in the film is about the ten hottest years (in terms of average global temperature) ever recorded – they all fall within the last 14 years, 2005 being the hottest ever.

    The documentary predicts how because of the rising sea levels, large land areas including the heavily-populated San Francisco Bay area, Manhattan and Calcutta would be gobbled up by the sea in a few decades. Millions of people around the world would be affected.

    Thousands of ecologists around the world have been writing on this issue. But our politicians, planners and people just cannot understand all this. Short-sighted plans are evolved and executed for monetary gains, in the name of development. When our very existence is in question, of what use are money, land and material assets? How can we be so short-sighted not to think even of our own children, whose lives would be miserable?

    Unless each one of us realizes his responsibilities and acts immediately, many of us and most of our children would have the golden opportunity of watching the planet meets its doomsday!

    Sudha Narasimhachar
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2012
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  2. Aspire

    Aspire Gold IL'ite

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    What a pity, that we are destroying (knowingly or unknowingly) the very nature that provides us everything.
     

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