OPINION

We are doomed — are we?

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By: Aayat Mir

The end of human civilization has become a consequence of our day to day actions, climate experts say. Among many climate scientists, gloom has set in as they believe the situation is worse than we think.

Climatologists state that the Arctic carbon release – warming seas, and rivers discharging more methane has only caused more warming- carrying on in a vicious circle. These make the conditions for global heat an emergency. Many climate scientist have even flagged the current situation as “We are doomed!”

This is alarming — as for scientists to make such distressing claims is a response to the severity of the situation.

So, does this mean that we will all have to crawl under a rock and shelter ourselves until the end comes? Don’t worry! I’d say as the weather gods are still on our sides as we stream through a now ice-freeing zone.

Despite some incredible breakthroughs in developing renewable energy and supportive international leadership, carbon emissions are still rising. One of the most effective ways to tackle this problem is for the individuals to be active participants in the actions to salvage the damage to the environment. It’s not just the job of global governance but you and me as well. Individual values have helped work towards better climate change conditions.

The anchors of environmental issues are linked with that of social problems as well, particularly in regions of the Indian subcontinent.

For instance, the Kashmir floods of 2014 or the 2013 Uttarakhand cloud-bursts impacted economy and society in a negative manner. As one can notice, global warming has already made dislocation and financial hardship a real problem due to these calamities.

Bangladesh, often referred to as ground zero for climate change, and many other islands are almost underwater. But does sinking into this chaotic problem help? Saying or thinking ‘we are doomed anyway’ and not taking any action does not incentivize anything.

In Kashmir, for instance, the Wular Lake, which is among the Asia’s largest fresh water lakes, has surprisingly been converted into a waste dumping site. Many locals have raised their voice about this, but without any concrete resolution to the problem yet. A similar issue with deforestation has been noticed about the Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary.

Some religious preachers have been vocal about taking care of the environment as it is our religious duty to do so. “We need to follow the teachings of Islam to practice sound ecology.” It is encouraging if the religious preachers use their clout and influence to create awareness about the issues of climate.

There are social activists as well who are aghast at the lack of care and concern on part of the authorities when it comes to preserving Kashmir’s hill and dale, its water-bodies in particular. But thus far most of their cries have, as if, fallen on deaf ears.

For instance, the Wular Lake has tremendous potential for being a tourist spot besides of course its unparalleled contribution to the Kashmir’s environment. Therefore, it’s important to assess and monitor the human influence not only on this lake but all other water-bodies and even solid land masses.

Kashmir has already lost a lot of its pristine environment to the human greed. It is time that both the people and the government start rectifying the wrongs – lest there won’t be much left in the Valley, certainly not the things which have attracted praises to it in the past. The land and the waters may remain, but in the wake of altered geography Kashmir will no longer be “Earth’s paradise”.

The human-induced climate emergency is a real dilemma. Giving up on hope will only worsen the situation. We always have a choice. Active participation on an individual level can positively impact our environment along with social problems that are linked to it. I always say that ‘it is our moral duty to leave this planet in better conditions than we inherited it in.’ Well, I didn’t say it first, but I guess we can all live by it.

  • Aayat Mir is a Kashmiri student based and studying in Toronto, Canada, and can be reached at aayatimir@gmail.com

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