Going Green – Then, Now and Later

         Everywhere you go, people are ‘talking’ about going green. I mean, they are just talking! So, you hear the word ‘green’ more often than any other word nowadays. But why is it becoming so important? Why can’t they just forget about it? Oh! There might be a catch. We are humans after all, the smartest species on the planet earth. We like talking about it not because we care, but because deep inside somewhere we know that the non-renewable resources are depleting at a rapid rate and with our current world population of 7.46 billion which is growing at the rate of 1.13% per year, the day is not far when all the technology and machinery that we are using for extraction and processing of resources now will be irrelevant and useless. So instead of sitting and waiting for the world to turn around, why not exploit this inevitability and take the so called ‘first mover advantage.’ But what does this attitude tell about us? Are we so sophisticated that we can turn every muddle into a vantage or we are so naïve that we cannot even comprehend that we are excavating an abyss for our own destruction?

            The situation is exacerbating with time. Oil accounts for 40% of our all energy use. As per EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2013, we have enough oil to last for just 25 years. Post that period, the difference between the quantity supplied and the quantity demanded will be so immense that the prices will shoot up to such an extent that no ordinary person will be able to afford it for personal use. But why do we care!

            Freshwater accounts for only 2.5% of the world’s water. But considering 70% of that  freshwater is present in the form of ice and snow, we are eventually left with only 0.75% of water which we can use for our personal needs. But we choose to throw our trash, garbage, and litter in the freshwater streams. If we talk about the holy river Ganges, it provides water to 40% population of India across 11 states. But instead of preserving and using its water judiciously, we choose to dump all our untreated human and industrial waste directly into the river. It doesn’t matter if the scientists say that the Faecal Coli Level are off the charts or the level of chromium is 10 times the permissible limit; we choose to dive and take a bath in the holy Ganges because it is pure and thus washes out all our sins. We might catch some water borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A, dysentery, etc. in the process, but it is alright. Because why do we care!

            As per UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 18 million acres of forests are destroyed every year; which is close to the size of the country Panama. As a result half of the world’s forests have been cleared already. But did we stop? You are right; we didn’t! Though we know that deforestation is responsible for 12 to 17% of greenhouse gas emissions annually, but I guess, this reason is not valid enough to stop us from cutting the innocent trees. So we choose to pay ₹10 lakh/m3 for exotic ‘African Blackwood’ instead, as if other avenues of spending are not lucrative enough. We choose to participate in our local ‘Tree Plantation Drives’ voluntarily (not sure though) and then boast about it proudly after planting 2-3 trees as if we have done a great deed indeed. Because this is it; this is where our responsibility ends. After all, why do we care!

            We Indians celebrate Diwali, the festival of light, with full enthusiasm and zeal every year. We light candles, lanterns, diyas, and… crackers(unfortunately!) with as much exuberance as possible. Though we know that firing crackers is not good for environment and consequently for us, but we choose to fire them anyway. The PM2.5 tiny particles suspended in the air reached to 1238 on the day of Diwali in Delhi, the capital of India. However, WHO recommends PM2.5 to be below 10. It says exposure to annual average of PM2.5 of 35 or greater may lead to 15% higher long term mortality risk. But Delhiites chose to fire cracker anyway. Because why do they care!

            The world is slow in realizing the fact that it would do no good to bury our heads in the sand like an Ostrich in the wake of the looming crisis. Forming the protocols would not help until you ratify it and live by it. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted nem con by the member countries in 1997, whereas it entered full force only after 8 years in 2005. And even 11 years after that, there are still 29 countries in the world who have not accepted it. Moreover, developed countries like the United States of America which accounts for only 4.38% of world’s population, and uses 25% of world’s resources; burning up 25% of coal, 26% of oil, and 27% of world’s natural gas, has just signed the protocol and says that it will not ratify it (make it a law that they must follow). Now, how do you expect the small developing countries to ratify it when the developed global power itself is not doing it.

            The other major event organized by the United Nations in the past was Earth Summit also known as Rio Summit in 1992. This summit is considered to be relatively successful than the Kyoto Protocol in a way that 172 governments participated in the summit. And they unanimously came up with ‘legally binding agreements’ on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Also, to ensure that the member countries comply with the agreements, Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was formed. Though some of the issues raised in the summit have not been addressed yet, but still it should be considered as a big achievement because they could address at least some of the prominent issues pro-actively (which is such a rare thing these days).

            Hence, if we take the learnings from our past, for an initiative to be successful, I believe that two things are necessarily required. Firstly, the people should feel responsible for their actions. They must find the answer to the question, “Why do I care?” An initiative can be successful only when people are ready to take responsibility by themselves. And it can happen only when they are self motivated. Secondly, the initiative should be legally binding and its compliance should be assessed at regular intervals(if possible). Initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Clean Ganga Mission, Toilets Before Temples and Water Conservation can be successful only when the government is fully committed to it. Young India will definitely draw inspiration and come forward if the government shows commitment in its actions. Of course, it will take time as castles are not built overnight. But with mutual coordination and accountability, it can definitely be achieved. We just need to walk the talk, as talking certainly isn’t enough!

– Akshay Kaushal

An Unpayable Debt

An unfeigned hollering, with concomitant glinting eyes, animadverting at the infirmary to woo the dear ones – yeah! That’s how… that is how we all begin our journey (or say life) as an infant. May be the most joyous moment for parents. This fugacious moment transforms their whole world at the blink of an eye. Just one touch of soft feeble hands and all the priorities are changed forever. Thus, parturition leads to the offset of not one but three new lives at the same time.

You must be wondering, why am I telling you all this?  The reason is simple. Have you ever pondered, what could have been your lives without parents? What could have possibly happened if no one was there to hold your hand when you had fallen? What could have been the prospects of survival? Who would have squandered their life to make your existence worth? Who would have spent umpteen watchful and ungratified nights for you when you fell ill? I have been cogitating for months and all I can say is… even one day without father or mother, whoa! It’s horrifying. A shiver runs down the spine. Had not been there my parents, then who would have hold my hand and taught me how to walk? Who would have impelled me to eat that extra bite just to make sure that I wasn’t hungry? These countless questions keep on gyrating in my head every day and night. But to be honest with myself, I don’t want an answer to anyone of them, because the answers are obvious and crucifying.

“Family is the most important thing in the World.”

Dictionary says, Family — A social unit living together. Really? Is that so? I don’t believe so. If it were just a social unit, then how could it be the most important thing? You don’t outlay your life for a social unit. You don’t strive for well being of a social unit, do you? Then what is it that makes this so called social unit ‘A Family’, where your needs and wishes are given prime importance. The connection remains a mystery for obtuse mind like mine. I consider myself lucky… lucky enough to have an adorable and caring family. But I wonder how I would pay back the debt of their love, tutelage, affection & care.

All I am I owe to my father. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from him. He usually says that I am his whole life. He works tirelessly day and night just to make sure that I get what I want. Well, for me he is no less than a genie. I don’t know how he does it or why he does it. All I know is, I sleep soundly at night and wake up gayly in the morning. I make mistakes intrepidly because I know my genie is gonna catch me whenever I fall. I walk down the road to Damascus blindfoldedly at times because I know he is there to steer me in right direction.
Papa, thank you for being there. I want to tell you, I love you more than anything else in this world. I owe you my life. But I can’t repay the debt… for this debt is unpayable.

– Akshay Kaushal.

I Wish We Could Run Away

How do we define ‘LIFE’? A kiss of bliss or a wrathful gloominess! A gift of eternity or just a shackle to pinion the impeccant! Plainly, this debate has always been a hot potato for agile minds, because even the wittiest brains find it extremely difficult to reckon life incisively. Every person has a different perspective of life. A world of 7 billion people and thus sequently a world with 7 billion eyeshot, all bidding to build a fancied Utopia of their own. A Utopia where resides ecstatic joy, pristine love and felicitous life. Everybody including myself is endeavouring to chase that implausible dream, cogitating that one day… One day will come, when there will not be any marauder hounding our precious dreams.

“Life is a game made for everyone and Love is the prize”

Love, as if a person gets enamoured with another person blindly, is an intense feeling, which emancipates hearts and souls from the bestial imprisonment of ferocious abominators of happiness and joy. The person in love does realize that the best blessing life can possibly offer is love and love only. The world which seemed futile and effete once, transmutes into the Eden Garden on the spur of the moment. The stranded wishes suddenly seem granted by Aphrodite — the love overlord. But again, it is just an intuitive feeling and is greatly associated with its acceptance at an individual level and even more prominently at a societal level. Though India is a secular nation, but some (or I should say — myriad) orthodox natives of India still dwell in a world of favouritism based on religion.

So, in a country that favours favouritism, duo crusades not only to prove its worthiness but also to comport against malevolent loathers. Well, of course, some of them who are lucky enough, and confront no detestation, are able to incarnate their dreamworld (which is no less than a jackpot). Whereas others are curbed to daresay that society, religion and creedal values are above all and are ecumenical. Those who resist to comply are ostracized and are sometimes even banished from the exalted society. And thus, life no longer remains a kiss of bliss.

I wish we could run away! I wish we could stay in a secluded place away from the vicious sight of this evil world. A concrete Zion, where no one else, but us could rusticate. And then just like juxtaposed akin colours, luminance of our kindred souls could perfuse the sky of our dreamland. Stuck in a moment, we could live in abysmal depths of each other’s eyes forever. Like a pair of dunnock, we could sing our love-song together. I wish we could build a dominion, where I could be the King and you could be my Queen.

Alas! I wish it wasn’t too complicated to play this game. Talk of conservationism.

– Akshay Kaushal