Combating environmental threat

Published On: December 16, 2019 08:45 AM NPT By: Bam Dev Sharma

Global community needs to come up with concrete plans and implement them to make the world a safer place to live in for human beings and other living organisms, before it is too late
The quest for economic development and materialism has been almost like Faustian saga in the modern times. As the learned Dr Faustus had to make a deal with evil Mephistopheles who tempted him to exchange his soul for carnal desires, we modern human beings, are exchanging clean environment with the quest for development and industrialization.  

Alarming reports and information are rife in newspapers regarding the environmental degradation and climate change. Horrifying facts come to the surface when we have to admit that many of these factors are anthropogenic: Human population, modernization, the destructions of forest, erosion of landscape and desertification.   

The year 2014 was recorded as the hottest year in the history ever since the record keeping began since 1880. Since then, the rise of temperature is reported constantly in the world. Furthermore, the ice melting in Alaska and other western and North American regions set a new record. Astonishingly in the recent reports, it is said that the hottest years started after 1997. These records indicate that the hottest years would further ensue and climatic change and other natural catastrophe will be rising year after year. The year 2019 is witnessing a great proportion of global warming in different parts of Europe. 

Against this backdrop, many political leaders across the globe are exploring ways to curb global warming and environment-approaches of developments. Recently the United Nations announced Sustainable Development Program (SDP) so as to address the propelling threat of climate change and global warming. This campaign, though approved by most of the global leaders, has not been put into concerted efforts to reduce carbon emissions as yet. Things are going to deteriorating level. The water and air pollution is alarming. This has also created a great setback in maritime waters as fish, dolphins and sharks are dying in dramatic proportion.  Some months back, a newspaper reported heart-wrenching details in some rivers of Brazil where a huge number of fish were killed due to water pollution.

These rather appalling facts are not merely headache for political leaders across the globes but for common people as well. Even religious personality like Pope Francis is repeatedly emphasizing the degradation of nature and environment in different parts of the world congregations. He candidly spoke out during his visit to the Philippines: “God has given us this world as beautiful as a garden, but we, human beings, as sinner, are set to destroy it. Our acts are responsible for all these catastrophes. This is also disturbing the world peace.”  

Already, we have a plenty of bleak signs of environmental problems around the world.  The developed countries are ones which have faced greater environmental threat because of their massive scale of industrialization and urbanization as compared to the developing countries. But the developing countries are also becoming vulnerable. The threat is not avoidable whether in developed or developing countries.  There are some ethical considerations as well. Observers have argued that the developing countries are bearing the burden of carbon emission from the industrialized nations. Needless to say, this is not fair.  The yardsticks for developed countries and developing ones in tackling environment degradations should be based on rational justification. That is, the countries that have actually contributed to environmental degradation should bear greater responsibility for minimizing the threats. 

Emission from Chinese factories is believed to have claimed   about 1.2 million lives.  Similarly, in America and European countries, environment issue is becoming a pressing problem and the governments are trying to rethink and readjust their developmental plans to comply with environmental issue. Therefore environment issue is becoming a top agenda for many European and American nations. Environmental issue has become the main agenda for 2020 US presidential election.    

Amid fear and skepticism, many countries are spending a huge amount of money individually to tackle the problem of environmental degradation and climate change. According to the recent report, Chinese government   in 2013 spent 33.51 billion US dollars to combat environmental threat.  Likewise, the US and other developed countries have also considerably increased their budget to chart out policy in finding alternative supply of green energy to combat environmental loss. 

Obviously, domestic pressures for development have pushed many countries to streamline productions for ever increasing population and global markets.  China’s massive production is directly linked with the environment. So is the case with India and other emerging economies. 

All is not gloom though. Environmental degradation has made the common people aware about its consequences. The local governments, agencies, and institutions are waging campaigns against environmental threats in different parts of the world. In some universities, the environmental protection courses have been introduced and researches are being conducted. Likewise, environment production has been included in school curriculum of social studies. There are campaigns for tree plantation and people have come to understand that trees are lifeline to ecological survival. Trees release oxygen, consuming carbon dioxide, and cooling air, preventing soil erosion, maintaining topsoil and checking the ever increasing rise of desertification. Countries can take such preventive measures. But this alone does not help. The global community needs to come up with concrete plans and implement them to make the world a safer place to live in for human beings and other living organisms, before it is too late.

The author is a lecturer at Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus, Kathmandu

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