“27/03/2010 — 20.30 p.m. IST — EARTH HOUR. Get Ready! ” reads a status message of a friend from my college on gtalk.
“26/03/2010 — 20.30 p.m. IST”, My neighbour in the hostel left his lights on the whole day while being just a little lazy considering the need to switch them off.”
We humans are cynics, hypocrites and are rightly compared to viruses by some misanthropists. We begin something, discover the goodness or a miracle, start using it, cultivate it, grow with it, feed with it, then earn with it. Once we start earning, we grow more of it, use more of it, earn more and feed more. Then we come to that stage of the cycle, where we develop a monster out of it and need to find ways to survive. We change the whole world in order to satisfy ourselves and then we evolve. We start something else with a new name, new state and new place. But never realize the need to inhibit the reflection we see of ourselves.
Our world uses a colossal 16 TW of energy per year as Energy. This amounts to more than 1820 kg of oil per person per year in the world. In 2007, we were emitting only 28,692 MT of CO2 into the atmosphere. So, isn’t it that we as humans are signing a blank cheque to nature so that in its wrath it can make us pay prices unimaginable? Yeah right! What can we do? When explained as a collective responsibility it is always Greek and Latin to understand the macro effects of the individual ways of contribution to the world. Let’s see what has happened regarding this,
‘Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour to make their stand against climate change.
In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour. Over 4000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off to pledge their support for the planet.’
An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) has been set up to provide the world with a clearer view on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences. Many institutions, both private and public like that of Al Gore, the former VP of USA, WWF, etc. are creating awareness regarding Global warming and the need for sustainable renewable energy sources. Governments throughout the world are adopting Solar Energy, Wind energy and Bio energy solutions and providing huge incentives to public-private institutions for renewable energy generation. TERI, IEA and BEE in India are nodal institutions that can be referred to with regard to Indian government initiatives.
Many countries and cities have started adopting efficient energy devices, set ups by higher investments for public uses and thereby setting examples for the rest of the society. Eg: Solar operated rooftops and malls in Germany, Windmill operated farms,etc.
The recent Copenhagen summit at Denmark was a failure of sorts for the world as a whole. The developed nations were obstinate in protecting their private institutions, their energy sources and citizens even though they are responsible for majority of the emissions and energy usage. The developing countries on the other end, were asked to keep themselves open to monitoring which eventually ended with a deadlock and prolonging of the whole global emission control issue to the next summit.
In the race to globalisation and power, many industries overlook their energy usage and emissions and in turn lead to a chain reaction among the markets and people to disregard these sensitive issues. India stands at emitting a whooping 253 million metric tons of carbon per year.
We as individuals forget to consider our contribution to this felony of sorts. Simple measures of light control, vehicle regulations, usage of innovative and energy efficient lighting systems, devices and eventually propagating awareness among others are our obligations.
“ When we look at the graphs of rising ocean temperatures, rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and so on, we know that they are climbing far more steeply than can be accounted for by the natural oscillation of the weather … What people (must) do is to change their behavior and their attitudes … If we do care about our grandchildren then we have to do something, and we have to demand that our governments do something.” — David Attenborough.
When we evaluate, we see that we are driving ourselves towards correcting our mistakes, increasing scope for better and efficient energies and reducing emissions, but we also are growing faster, consuming more and wasting equally higher. So isn’t it time, we realize that instead of just sitting there, reading this article or watching some documentary we need to introspect. The Earth hour isn’t a bad time to start.
Else, the cheque is already handed. We can only pray. But wait, to whom?
The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.