The recent floods in Pakistan are a stark reminder that we are all connected. How the seemingly innocuous indulgences of the endowed inhabitants of the planet come around biting the most deprived, is not an imagined phenomenon. The habits of gluttonous first world dwellers are not just depleting resources but triggering climatic effects that are taking toll on the vulnerable third world. How a happy meal consumed in the suburbs of North America causes unhappiness, thousands of miles down the Atlantic shows how we are all connected.
Champions of climatic change have, over the recent years, propagated the concept of ‘one health’ where the wellbeing of one species ensures the wellbeing of another. This was boldly exemplified during the pandemic where ensuring one’s own safety against the virus collaterally benefitted other individuals as the spread was kept under check.
The planet is currently going through a midsummer nightmare with floods in Pakistan, earthquake in China, heatwaves across the US and Europe. Climate change isn’t a thing of future anymore. In the wise words of Fat Boy Slim; it’s “right here right now!”
This is a down right, out loud, blaring alarm for the health sector. While healthcare emergencies as a result of natural disasters are one thing, the rising temperatures are unfolding a plethora of diseases. The past century has seen a sharp rise in allergies, non-communicable diseases, cancers and microbial threats, one of which came banging on our doors recently as Covid-19.
The changing climate is not only affecting humans but other species that we share the planet with. Warmer temperatures have fiddled with the eco system at large. Animals are migrating for survival and bringing them closer to human habitats. This not only leads to hostile interactions with undomesticated species but also increases the risk of exposure to the microbial diseases they carry.
Moreover, with polar ice caps melting, there’s a fear that prehistoric microbes preserved during the ice age may come back to haunt us.
So basically, we’re in trouble!
Call it bad karma, but our reckless indulgences in fast food, fast fashion, fast locomotive, cataclysmic industrial encroachment are all coming back to prick us in the backside. We are collectively responsible for the rise in global temperatures that we are currently experiencing.
While healthcare emergencies as a result of natural disasters are one thing, the rising temperatures are unfolding a plethora of diseases. The past century has seen a sharp rise in allergies, non-communicable diseases, cancers and microbial threats, one of which came banging on our doors recently as Covid-19.
The villagers who fell victim to the catastrophic floods in Pakistan have been on the receiving end of nature’s backlash. They have no knowledge of carbon emissions, greenhouse gases or global warming. For them, surviving the day is the maximus de of life. But they are the ones who will suffer these consequences of human fallacies the most. With illnesses coming around to bludgeon the human body like a miserable piñata hanging down helplessly in a ghastly feast of sorts, the time to mend is now. Global climatic events especially those wreaking havoc in the third world are raising issues of global climatic justice. Petitioning the international community to legislate unsustainable use of natural resources in the developed countries seems like an oversimplified solution though.
The past few decades have seen plenty of noise being made against the climatic offences committed by the first world. Interestingly most of these voices have come from the developed West itself. The rise of climate activism through modern history may have actively invoked action on governmental levels to cut down carbon emissions but it is the effect triggered by individual consumption that needs to be addressed more profoundly.
First world citizens have a carbon footprint of nearly six times greater than rest of the world. While simple and healthier lifestyles seem to be the obvious answer, the naivety in such generalisation cannot be helped but smirked at.
The fast-food industry thrives on the promise of feeding you on a budget. With growing economic disparities, happiness comes packed with nuggets and fries and a big can o’ cola all for a dollar or two. To meet the increasing demands of meat for this industry, more cattle farms are reared which means more atmospheric carbon. Just one of the many examples where seemingly obvious solutions to climate correction are ineffectual because of a single most overriding factor called ‘money’.
It will only take a climatic event to bring down these industries, a catastrophe ironically brought about by themselves. Till then put in the coal, turn up the heat, there’s no stopping the industrial bourgeoise. If Hollywood and conspiracy theorists are anything to go by then the latter have already readied their pods waiting to launch amidst an apocalyptic calamity anyway. They’ll wave the planet good-bye as they set on a journey to a near earth like planet to mess up from scratch.
The fast-food industry thrives on the promise of feeding you on a budget. With growing economic disparities, happiness comes packed with nuggets and fries and a big can o’ cola all for a dollar or two. To meet the increasing demands of meat for this industry, more cattle farms are reared which means more atmospheric carbon.
So, if you’re not one of them billionaires just like me, then this is all the planet you and I are left with. How we choose to live will determine the longevity of the human race on this planet.
The recent floods in Pakistan have finally triggered the right debate over climate change in this part of the world. The matter is beyond a handful of schoolchildren cleaning beaches or ministers wafting brooms on roads (touching!).
Massive investment needs to be made in climate change sector. Disaster management needs to be reinforced with ‘disaster prevention bodies’ that would preempt the occurrence of climatic events and take preventive measures. These bodies must include scientists, epidemiologists, health advocates, meteorologists, people who actually have the knowledge of climate and its effects.
In this rapidly transforming global landscape of digital innovation, economic disparity, climatic turnover, a world with ‘never-before-seen’ problems, our policymaking bodies need to make room for knowledgeable, qualified academics. We must seek environmental equity by joining the global discourse and debate on climate change. Now is the time to act.
There’s still five minutes left to midnight!