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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightFlood speaks; but...

Flood speaks; but will we listen?

Flood speaks;  but will we listen?

Kerala is confronting a colossal crisis. Torrential rain and flood have caused massive loss of lives and property. That the entire state is unison facing this and at least in this people have set aside their internal hatred and animosities, is undoubtedly a major positive of the scene.

These are occasions when the innate good and mercy of man come in display. Faced with a helpless situation, human beings shed their pride and deceit. Indeed, this tragic picture of nature's fury sets us thinking. However, do these thoughts succeed in influencing our life and behaviour for a positive turn? The scientific world is citing two simple truths. One, most of the natural calamities currently experienced are a result of man's wrong interventions in nature. The second is that adequate steps have not been taken to eliminate the damage caused to climate by all this. Three steps were recommended by scientists decades ago. Remedial gimmicks culimating in the Paris climate agreement have not brought any result so far. For, if corrective steps are to be effective, giant corporates will have to resist the urge for excess profit and exploitation of nature, and people will have to eliminate from their lives habits incompatible with nature. All that requires strong political decisions and will of societies. That does not happen. In Kerala itself, we have seen the fate of the Gadgil report. If they were implemented, scientists point out, the intensity of the current disaster would have been milder. But we wonder if any one has heeded this point.

It was this very Kerala that had severe drought in immediately preceding years. Even now, if it is flood that is causing hardship here, in the Gulf countries and some parts of Europe the issue is high temperatures. When there is flood in China, the killer in Canada is unbearable heat. In Japan and African regions too, soaring mercury wreaks desctuction. Wild fires keep destroying large forest areas. In Australia drought is wiping off entire agriculture acres. Suffice is to say that over a few years, extremities of climate have been increasing. In this July alone, as pointed out recently, 118 all-time records were created in climate. Till2 022, the earth will be moving to extreme heat, as warned by 'Nature Communications' journal. Studies conducted into the lowest layer of atmosphere - the troposphere - do not give us encouraging indications either. All these studies not only give clues about climate crisis, but also prove that most of it is man-made. Man's plunder of nature creates global warming and distorts climate. Numerous studies have brought it out that such phenomena as rise in atmosphere temperature, sea temperature rise, melting ice in the poles, and sea level rise are all related to man's deeds.

Even when studies show all this, there is the threat that government leaderships are not ready to accept them. America, which is responsible for most of the atmosphere pollution, was not prepared to recognize climate change as something caused by man. Finally Obama accepted it and was getting ready for a change, but his successor Trump was reverting to the earlier corporate side stance. Although countries in general had agreed to reduce the quantum of emissions that causes greenhouse gases, that is not enforced as due. On May 14 this year, the carbon dioxide level of the earth carossed 412 ppm. The scientific premise is that it was several millions of years ago that earth crossed the level of 400 ppm. The wild fires of Greece and California, and the floods in France, China, Northeastern India, and Kerala are diverse manifestations of the same crisis. That crisis is telling us a few things. They include the message about the need of adopting an ethical approach to nature and its creations. But will any one listen?

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