The Case For An ‘Environment Cess’ To Clean Up Our Ecological Mess

WhyOnEarth logo mobEditor’s Note: Are you bothered by the drastic changes in our climate, causing extreme weather events and calamities such as the Kerala Floods? #WhyOnEarth aims to take the truth to the people with stories, experiences, opinions and revelations about the climate change reality that you should know, and act on. Have a story to share? Click here and publish.
Students from private schools in the city convened opposite American Excelsior School near Wazirabad Bundh in Sector 53 to demand tangible actions against climate change on March 15, 2019, in Gurugram, India. A simultaneous protest was also held in Delhi’s Connaught Place. (Photo by Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Earth is under the grip of climate change which, in turn, is the result of increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases [GHGs] due to deforestation, urbanisation, industrialisation, pollution and increasing human population, melting of polar ice, ocean acidification, increasing global temperatures, floods, droughts, increasing sea level, and depleting biodiversity.

These are important impacts of climate change, and these anthropogenic activities are raising the level of carbon dioxide by about 2 parts per million a year in the atmosphere. India is not far from feeling the impacts of climate change. In India, hundreds of people have died due to summer heatwaves, roads have melted due to high temperatures during summer, and coastal cities like Mumbai are under danger because of rising seas due to global warming.

India’s ecological balance, which was maintained due to ponds, wetlands, lakes, trees and forests’ ecosystems, is being destroyed due to increasing population pressure, agriculture pressure to feed large populations, urbanisation, unsustainable development, and industrialisation. This situation is rapidly leading India towards a climate emergency.

In a research paper published in the February 2014 edition of the journal ‘Population and Environment’, researchers Mason Bradbury, M. Nils Peterson, and Jianguo Liu identified how the total number of global households are growing much faster than the growth of the world population itself, and that the world is on “the brink of a ‘household explosion’.”

“Increasing number and decreasing size of households mean the same number of people live in twice or more as many homes and requiring twice or more as many resources to build and furnish them.” the paper read. This situation is worrying because “smaller households are on average less efficient as they cause more pressure on forests and environment and will enhance degradation of the environment, deforestation, and biodiversity loss. Such conditions will enhance global warming and climate change.”

According to the 15th Indian Census provisional reports released on March 31, 2011, the Indian population increased to 1.21 billion with a decadal growth of 17.64%. India is projected to be the world’s most populous country by 2025, surpassing China. The major concern is the increasing household numbers and decreasing household size. Per the 2011 census, India has about 247 million households.

There were 151 million households in the 1991 Census and 192 million households in the 2001 Census. The household size in India has dropped in recent years. The average size of households in India as per the 2011 Census was 4.8 members per household, while in the 2001 Census the size of a household was 5.3.  

We can reduce the anthropogenic impact on the environment and protect the environment. I feel that for this, every household can donate or be surcharged with at least 1% of their income per month for ‘environment protection apart from other measures like afforestation, grass-root level awareness, banning clear-cutting of forests, sustainable development, etc.

On a household basis, the average income in India was $6,671 per household in 2011, and these households produced a GDP of about $1.7 trillion. A possible solution might be that every household contributes or donate at least ₹4,717.60 ($66.71) for ‘Environment Protection’. A huge amount of approximately ₹11,65,220 ($16477) million will be collected every year, in terms of household income in 2011.

This large amount of money may be used for green technologies, plantation, ecosystem protection, renewable energy, sustainable development, making eco-friendly products, energy conservation and causing awareness at the grassroots level. This collective responsibility and green step may bring about an ‘ecological revolution’, and climate action and environmental protection programs will be speed-up with such cooperation.

Environment, oxygen, and carbon dioxide can never be partitioned. Earth is under severe pressure, and according to Global Footprint Network, humans have used as much ecological resources as if we lived on 1.75 Earths. According to the ‘Global Footprint Network’, humanity has used nature’s resource budget for the entire year. Humans have used up this year’s supply of natural resources in seven months due to the increasing demand for resources by the world population.

Earth Overshoot Day 2019

We have only one Earth, not 1.75 Earths.” A ‘United We’ can fight climate change better than ‘Isolated I’. Climate change is on the verge of becoming irreversible. Each nation will face this climate crisis if immediate, collective, and effective actions are not taken. Increasing household numbers will add pressure on ecosystems and so, a one percent cess on household income is a better option to reduce environmental degradation and reduce the anthropogenic impact on the environment. 

Featured Image Credit: Lotus R/Flickr
This post has been written by a YKA Climate Correspondent as part of #WhyOnEarth. Join the conversation by adding a post here.
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