Sheikh Nissar

All life and survival depends on the health of earth

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“Our destiny is in our hands”, the phrase that guide us to shape our future and the phrase that invite us to learn from past experiences must be understood in broader perspective. Man is the only creature on planet earth that has innate ability to quantify things that make him the most powerful creature. By the power of calculation, man predicted how much resources are hidden deep inside the earth. He could measure the amount of water in seas and glaciers, percentage of gases in atmosphere, etc.

Efforts to understand what is going on today and how future would be, statistical observations reveal ‘man’s selfishness is catastrophic for the health of this planet.’ Man himself admits that the human induced changes in his own environment are more catastrophic than natural ones. Yes, some changes in components of environment are independent of anthropogenic influences but the rise in sea level, warmer oceans and atmosphere, declining snow and ice, unabated increase in greenhouse gases and changing pattern of precipitation has been directly influenced by anthropogenic factors. Man also admits that human induced changes that we face today could bring us water shortage, hunger, diseases, and floods.

Over the billions of years of existence of planet earth, climate has changed many times in response to natural causes like ice age, steady increase in the number of sun spot, etc. The oceans are warming faster than previously estimated, polar ice caps are shrinking, alpine glaciers are receding resulting in serve water shortage and there is great habitat loss—aquatic and terrestrial habitat. Climate changes caused by anthropogenic factors are one of the biggest challenges faced by man. Though dynamic and unpredictable, yet it is possible through modern techniques of geo-engineering to trace changes that happen in climate of an area or even globe.

Increase in green house gases which are capable of capturing quanta of outgoing terrestrial radiation warmed planet earth at global average of 0.9°C. 95% greenhouse gasses are produced through anthropogenic activities. Addition of particulate matter and suspended particles decrease earth’s albedo (reflective property) making earth much warmer than it would have been few decades ago. According to DNA the average temperature of Kashmir valley had increased by 1.2 ˚C over the last century, higher than global average of 0.9˚C. There is a sharp rise in temperature in last four decades. Not only sea level and atmospheric temperature have risen, many species also disappeared due to unbearable rise in temperature.

According to some estimates, by 2050, the scale of destruction caused by human induced climate change would be beyond our capacity to cope up. May be, human civilization may come to an end. The wide spread global destruction of nature is mainly provoked by lack of awareness and selfishness. The myth that resource regenerate itself has caused much harm. Does a resource regenerate itself and is there any possibility that it would stop? Contemporary environmental ethics misguide us by saying ‘nature has reliable laws for remedying environmental destruction.’ Of course, some resources get renewed but the pace is too slow. Nowadays, it is responsibility of present generation to confront these dire and unsustainable social and environmental problems. Morality and justice must jointly constitute the foundation in stopping the barbarities currently being committed. Forests are dying. Water bodies and wetlands are disappearing.

We are losing biodiversity. The planet is suffocating. If not me who? If not now, when? We should come out of slumber right now. Each year we burn fossil fuels containing 7 giga-tons of Carbon. All the CO2 thus produced is released in atmosphere. Our survival depends on health of planet earth. Man as product of earth should think about health of planet and planet earth would nourish man in return like a mother. We should not ignore it; man induced environmental destruction is making ‘no point of return.’

Our life and survival depends on health of planet earth. Solar, wind, electricity and tidal energy that are the clean source of energy could have been replaced fossils fuels but all these sources of energy are much costlier than fossils fuels. Also, these resources are not available ever where and all the time. Tackling climate change through human engineering may seem small, but the collective impact on sustainability of planet earth is overwhelming. Inspite of all the destruction occurred, there is a glimmer of hope, and that is many people have understood the serious of current situation. Many communities, NGOs and international organization are working to safeguard both natural and cultural heritage.

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