By Tilak Jha
In matters of critical life-sustaining ecosystem and the role of human activity in global warming, we should rather not roar!
I fear if I have not started doubting my beliefs about global warming being primarily man made and that we would mend ourselves. The reason: two things over past two months!
The first incident happened a month ago. In my previous office, all sorts of laughter, chats, gossips and discussions happened over lunch. Everyone shared their food and rarely anyone would have their own food. Interestingly I happened to be an exception there in many ways. One of them: I was the only vegetarian there.
I had a non-veg food lover Punjabi colleague there. He would have home cooked chicken korma or egg biryani every 2nd day. But his veg food used to be equally delicious. I would always jump for his lunchbox for the delicious koftas and biryanis. Once he got at me for my veggy status. ‘I am sure you like non-veg but you are veg because you are religious.’ I defended, ‘I am veg simply because I believe it is more sustainable. When you eat meat, you eat the food of forty persons. Forty unit of grain is required to produce the amount of meat that will roughly give same amount of nutrition as one unit of grain. Also, more energy is required to produce meat. Thus, excess non-vegetarianism is unsustainable. So, you contribute to global food crisis and global warming indirectly.’ We had arguments during lunch time for almost a week. He agreed and disagreed and agreed and disagreed…
What left me with my first ‘doubt’ was something a female colleague said during the weeklong debate. ‘Global warming is a hauaa (propaganda). There has always been a cycle of ice age followed by a warmer period.’ I tried to give her all the ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ logic, only to realise that everyone there agreed upon global warming until you don’t ask them to go veg, avoid tub bath, ACs and cars and get rid of their other non-environment friendly lifestyle!
Notwithstanding what I always believed, I felt: Can we really change our lifestyle???
The second incident happened a couple of weeks back in my new job. One evening, we decided to party after office. This was my first in the new office. I had a fear that I am gonna be the odd man out since I am a teetotaller. Still, I agreed to join. Though I didn’t let the veg vs non-veg debate crop up, somehow global warming did come. And this time there were a couple of powerful logic. ‘The Earth was never cold. It originated from sun and now there is a cycle that is actually heating up our climate’, said an IITian friend. ‘But over last millions of years. There has never happened so much of heating in such a short span of time’, I argued. ‘Well you know, global warming may be a lot less damaging even if it is happening. It can be actually beneficial for some regions. For example, some countries may be able to increase crop productivity’, almost everyone agreed. ‘Finally, many civilizations were eradicated due to floods earlier as well. They didn’t pollute atmosphere. Or did they?’
Listening to these logics from an IITian colleague (who being an engineer should be logically more scientific than me), I am more puzzled than ever about global warming. These two eight-week-old-incidents question something I have believed for years.
More than 99% of research globally approve of the current spate of global warming as a man-made phenomenon. At least there is no doubt that even if global warming is not due to human activity, we would do only good to us by not polluting. The damage caused to every single natural ecosystem is more than visible.
I fear, if we still have time to argue about our role in global warming. May be we should at least agree about going green once. Let’s not go so far, from where, we do not have a chance to give green valleys, snowy peaks, gushing rivers and dashing sea shores to our future generations.
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