By now accounts does the 16-year old girl Greta Ernman Thunberg need an introduction. So much has been the media attention given to this Swedish girl who made a solitary fight to recapture the climate and gift of nature bestowed on mankind, but is gradually being lost.
Greta's beginning was in last September. Her strike, in the form of getting out of her classroom demanding reduction in carbon emissions with a board reading 'School strike for climate', stood out from all other environmental protests witnessed by the world thereto. It did not take long for that form of protest to spread to schools in other parts of the world. Put in other words, the student movements under Greta's leadership were reminders for governments everywhere about the basic lesson of ecology politics: that we are bound to hand down to posterity our planet with all its native features. When they boycotted classes en masse giving environmental politics a new dimension, naturally Greta was becoming a star, her speeches attracting worldwide attention through social media.
She got an opportunity to lead a protest conducted by environmental activists outside the European Union Parliament in Brussels, and also to make a speech at the World Economic Forum summit at Davos about the dangers of global warming. She was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Last week she spoke at the British parliament too. And that speech has resulted in major changes now. For, Britain has declared a 'climate emergency' imbibing the seriousness of her speech as also of the agitations by environmental organizations for the last few months in the country. It is for the first time for a country to declare such an 'emergency'.
Already conservationist bodies like Extinction Rebellion have been in strike path before the British parliement, highlighting the hazards of 'environmental crisis'. It was when Greta was able to take that voice inside the parliament hall that the government declared 'emergency' for taking steps to arrest global warming. The goal of the 'emergency' is to bring the hazardous greenhouse gases emitted by factories and elsewhere, down to zero by 2050. That means the carbon- emitting smoke pipes of the country including those of the factories will disappear by 2030. Instead, all these industries will work on green energy sources. And what happened now is only a first step towards realizing that goal. It is not going to be an easy march. There is a powerful industrial lobby that works behind the screen to torpedo such strikes. And they are the ones that often control governments. It was under the infleunce of such mafia that rulers like Donald Trump rejected the Paris Agreement's resolution that every country has to reduce the scale of carbon emission by at least 35 % by 2035. As such, it will need remarkable political will to achieve the goals through 'emergency'. It is another matter whether Britain, already weltering under the Brexit crisis, can be expected to measure up to that.
On the footsteps of Britain, Australia's parliament also witnessed similar moves. News of this kind can also be expected from other countriess as well. In fact this is a time when all the countries should in unison declare such an 'emergency'. Remember, the scientific world is talking about the possibility of this disaster hitting us in ten or twelve years. In other words, we already late. Even as of now, aren't we seeing the reverberations of climate change in land and sea? It is not a folk tale any more that as a result of disporportionate rise in sea-level, several regions have been effaced from the face of the earth. The cause of the recent unusual climatic phenomena in countries including India was nothing different. As per estimates, in India in 2017 alone 2,300 people have died in this dangerous climate. In a span of 10 years the number of people killed in heat waves exceeded 8,000. Despite all such happenings, the country has not yet taken up this issue as a political subject. In the Lok Sabha elections this time, climate change did not figure as a theme in the manifestoes of mainstream parties. No leader uttered the word of climate even by mistake during the campaign. Even as eco-friendly social life is becoming a slogan of the new era, our governments have always been turning their back to all of it. Therefore, this 'emergency' is now essential in India too.