Wednesday September 22, 2021

Climate issues

July 19, 2021

The floods in Europe, which have killed at least 126 people, most of them in Germany, have already demonstrated – if we still needed proof – that climate change is already here and will stay with us for the future unless we take urgent action. The flooding has also affected other countries including Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. In Germany, entire villages have been submerged, leading Chancellor Angela Merkel to say that she will fight for urgent action to bring an end to the problem, with global temperatures having risen by 1.5 degrees since the dawn of the industrial age.

Industrial production and the release of greenhouse gases are the primary contributors to the changing climate we all face, creating disruptions in agricultural cycles, and in many other natural occurrences. The crisis in Europe is just one manifestation of this. The key question is: what to do? This is something that world leaders need to think about. At the global level, we need rapid afforestation of as many places as possible in each country, in the hope that we can prevent further damage from ozone layer depletion and pollution. We also need to reconsider transport and go for sustainable options instead of getting more cars on the roads. Electric cars have been suggested as one alternative, so that the release of fumes from vehicular emissions can be brought down at the global level – though this is not an option for much of the Global South.

At the same time, experts suggest that people too must be encouraged to act within their homes and in their communities to try and manage the damage that is occurring and prevent our planet from falling apart. Within homes, people can recycle garbage to prevent waste from being turned into dangerous fumes, as is still the case in Pakistan and many third world countries, as well as many homes in the West. In addition, clothes should be washed in cold water to avoid the use of energy when it is not essential, and experts suggest that simply buying locally at the right time of the year and using the vegetables, fruits and other products available at that time could push down transportation costs and the fuel used for this purpose by a considerable degree. The world is, after all, a collective place where there must be collective thinking and individual action to prevent the kind of havoc we are seeing everywhere on the globe, so that there is some possibility that climate change can be curtailed before it destroys us all.