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The reality of Climate Crises: What, Why & How – Part 2

How – So what can we do?

The Technology Myth

At the outset we need to dispel the ‘technology as the saviour’ myth widely prevalent today. We are being shown a mirage that technology will solve all our problems and life as usual can continue. Non-existent technologies to suck Co2 out of the air, atmospheric shields to halt warming, desalination to solve water crises, drones to plant forests, and so on are being touted as miracle technologies that can magically pull us out of the rut. This is being deliberately done to mislead us and lull us into complacence; to prevent us from having to make hard choices that will undermine this monster economy; and to enable these very forces to make more money in the name of environment.

Let’s be very clear. It’s the technology which enabled us to fiddle around with highly complex natural system with very little understanding of them and mess them up totally; Its these very technologies, created and driven by corporate greed, that have created the crises and brought us to the current state of affairs and hence cannot get us out of this rut. If we take this path it will only hasten our race to the bottom and take us to a point of no return much sooner.

Plan of Action

We need to take action at two levels – decisive policy action at the macro level and equally decisive personal action at the micro level. But firstly we need to start with an acceptance of the grim reality ‘as it is’ and make hard choices based on that understanding of the reality. No compromises, half way measures will work and hence are not acceptable. Our house is literally on fire and we need to act as such.

A fundamental and total break with the past and charting of a new path is the ONLY option. Traditional wisdom from our past embodied in all ancient cultures around the world can certainly show us the way and technology can be used as a tool to aid us in this radical transformation.

At the Macro Level

A resolute, decisive and rapid plan of action and policy measures to radically alter course towards a sustainable economic model needs to be implemented on a war footing. Such a plan of actions has to be based on the following core principles

  • Protection of all remaining natural habitats – forests, mangroves, oceans, mountains, glaciers and ice caps. This is non-negotiable and has to be implemented globally with immediate effect

  • A radical shift (rapidly leading to a complete stop) from fossil fuels to renewal energy on a global scale

  • Policy measures like taxation, penalties, laws and rules to induce a rapid and drastic shift in societal production and consumption patterns (discouraging consumerism), mobility patterns (discouraging air travel & cars and encouraging public transport), plastic usage (an immediate and complete stop to manufacture, sale and use of all single use plastic & water bottles; a radical shift from all plastic packaging; moving towards a zero waste model) and eating habits (disincentivising animal products ad incentivising plant foods)

  • Incentivise rapid shift from corporate-chemical farming towards small farmer-natural/organic farming.

  • A radical shift away from global trade and globalization towards localization and local-community centric development.

  • Dismantling of free trade agreements and a shift of power from transnational corporations to nation states, provinces, municipalities and communities.

  • Massive global effort at renewing and restoring the highly degraded eco-systems, water, air and soil around the world

  • A funding plan to enable the above based on the principles of equity and climate justice

This may sound utopian and undoable given the global momentum in the opposite direction. But we need to push our leaders and governments through a plethora of non-violent democratic avenues including social media, elections, non-cooperation, civil disobedience, selective boycott and so on based global mass mobilization.

It’s in this context that Greta and her FridaysforFuture movement – which within a short while has galvanized the youth globally and created an unstoppable momentum for change – has rekindled hope in an otherwise bleak and helpless situation. When we adults have given up and become cynical, its children who have risen up with a single-minded focus, steely resolve and utter honesty to show us that Change is possible. We need to wholeheartedly support them and join them in this sacred struggle to protect our common future!

At the Micro Level

Greta has shown the power of personal individual action when its backed by total integrity, honesty and commitment and complete alignment of thought, belief, words and action. She has single handedly galvanized the entre global climate movement like never before with her solitary actions. We need to follow in her footsteps.

Live Simply so that others may simply live’ said Mahatma Gandhi. Ultimately our current lifestyle is simply not sustainable and cannot continue as is. It requires drastic change in every aspect of our life. We need to make hard choices, take hard decisions and live by example while resolutely supporting the global mass movement. Without such committed personal action our words will be hypocritical and will have no moral authority. Like Mahatma Gandhi said ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’. We need to walk the talk. Such personal change commitment and action when its done with pure intentions and firm resolve for a higher cause will have a ripple effect. After all its we, the consumers, who have kept this monster economy going by our lifestyle. And so, we can through our individual and concerted actions strike at the very edifice of this monster economy.

What can we do?

  • Stop (or drastically reduce) flying; stop buying cars and two wheelers; and if you already have one substantially cut down on their usage. Use instead public transport – trains, busses and better still, use bicycles or walk whenever and wherever possible.

  • Stop eating all animal products (meat, fish, milk and eggs) and shift to plant-based foods. Animal farming is the 2nd largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. You will also benefit immensely in terms of your health and well being

  • Stop buying imported agricultural produce. Apart from its massive carbon footprint, global trade in agricultural produce also plays havoc with local farmers and wrecks local economies. Buy local, seasonal and preferably organic fruits and vegetables.

  • Stop using all single use plastic, stop buying bottled water. Switch to cloth bags, carry your own water bottles & coffee cups

  • Avoid buying processed and packaged food, junk food, cosmetic and personal care products, especially from transnational corporations. Shift to simple traditional, local, home-made products, and fresh and whole produce instead. Apart from reducing carbon footprint and waste generation, it will also do a world of good for your health. Tap into traditional practices and knowledge. Just explore and you will find plenty of alternatives around.

  • Stop buying clothes, gadgets, vehicles and travelling unless it’s absolutely needed. Need is not change of fashion or launch of a new model with new features or competing with the neighbour – these are desires created by manipulations of our mind by the corporate media and advertising, and corporate sponsored cultural spaces.

  • Avoid going to malls, supermarkets, cinemas. Buy from neighborhood stores, local farmer markets, small businesses and spend time with family in natural surroundings.

  • Cut down on screen time and spend more time with your family, community and nature. Practice mindfulness.

  • Use water sparingly, switch to bucket bath instead of showers, fit water saving nozzles on taps, etc

  • Stop buying online and patronize your local stores instead. Apart from the massive carbon footprint and packing waste generation of such online transactions, they ruin local businesses and drain money from local economies without contributing in any way.

These are lifestyle and behaviour changes very much within our control and hence very much doable starting immediately without waiting for any policy changes at the macro level. Make a resolute commitment to live simple-sustainable lives along these lines. Talk to your family, friends, acquaintances and in community forums about your lifestyle changes and the reason for these. As more and more individuals start committing to a simple-sustainable lifestyle making a radical shift from our current acquisitive-consumerist lifestyle it is bound to have a ripple effect, create its own social and cultural momentum, creating peer pressure in the opposite direction and influencing more people embrace a similar transformation. Soon we will see a positive reinforcement loop in operation which can spread like wildfire.

To Conclude

If a single 16-year-old girl can make such a huge global impact, I am sure that all of us, inspired by her and acting in unison, actively supporting and participating in the global climate mass movement and committing ourselves wholeheartedly to the goal of simple sustainable living and taking personal action in sync with this commitment can strike at the root of this rotten crumbling monster economy. Change is indeed coming!

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