The ‘election season’ is about to begin and all political parties are going all out with post-poll promises- from quotas to free electricity to employment, farmers’ grievances and ‘development’, the platter is vibrant and attractive- but where do the biggest challenges that humankind is facing today- wrath of nature and change in climate- feature in this? Does additional investment in health sector, better management of third wave of Covid pandemic if and when it hits us, and financial compensations (including ex-gratia) to those affected or dead due to ‘natural calamities’ is all that it takes to shrug off responsibility from the actual issue- climate change, overexploitation of nature and ecological imbalances caused as a result of blind, unscientific urbanisation? No, the Nation should come united in the stand that its people will support a political party that will take an honest oath to actually take measures to undo the harm already done to our biosphere and environment, scrap off nature-unfriendly projects no matter how ambitious they might be, and have the guts to take bold steps in nature, biodiversity and green cover conservation. Afterall, if a near-to-impossible demonetisation decision can be pulled off – and that too so successfully- then other pro-environment proposals should not be so difficult to turn into GOs and implemented with iron will and strictness!
Environment comes last when it comes to funding. It is always construction, health, education and transportation etc. that get maximum funds from both the government and the corporate (social responsibility fund). It is always a man first approach where nature and environment come a sorry second (actually last)! What is being done in the field of solar power generation is not actually as big a contribution in environmental upliftment as is being projected. Green energy at such a small, stumbling pace is hardly a help. Then the missions to clean all rivers, including Ganga, have nothing much to boast of either. Isolated victories don’t really mean a thing. There is no concrete work being done on a national level for our nature and biodiversity. Internationally held summits and goals are just talks that most participating nations don’t take seriously. Carbon trading is another way of exploiting natural resources and getting away with it. On the other hand, a number of environment threatening projects have been given a nod in ecologically sensitive regions about which we have written in our previous editions too. The point to understand here is simple: If we address the root cause, there would not be so many calamities to deal with! Whether it is the Tsunami or jungle fire, earthquakes or cloud bursts, flooding or droughts, extremities in weather or new viruses or their variants, every problem is the direct result of man’s conflict with nature and his extreme abuse of environment. It is the responsibility of the political parties to make environment and nature top agenda in their poll campaigns and the duty of every honest citizen to demand their inclusion. But, are we as aware or even bothered? All that we care for is a free dose of vaccine and maybe a discount in electricity bill! - Saumya Misra
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