World Environment Day: Is Climate Change leading to an Apocalypse?

The last 30 decades if nothing else have demonstrated how humans cannot take the environment for granted. We celebrate the World Environment Day on June 5 every year, however, what we are forgetting is that nature has started showing us the true consequences of our actions. COVID 19 has been claimed to be a result of constant deforestation. With the doubling and tripling of carbon dioxide emissions and contamination of land, sea and air, even the lifetime of our planet is diminishing at a faster rate. The, effects of Climate Change, if put on a graph would only see a drastically upward trend especially post the 1980s. If some calculations and research are to be believed, our Earth will soon be facing an Apocalypse by 2050 if we are to continue with our unsustainable form of development at the cost of our future generations and their well being.

The trailer has already begun with several vagaries of nature hitting different parts of the world. Every year one or the other state is facing a severe drought or flood situation. As per Indian Meteorological Department, rainfall in 2018 was the 6th lowest since the start of last century i.e. 1901. Even if the last 4-5 years are observed, the number of rainy days is constantly on a decrease while intense rainfall in short periods is increasing which is leading to the problem of floods, landslides, flash floods, etc. This at a time when mindless urbanization in the form of extreme concretization, carbon dioxide emissions through vehicular traffic, decreasing groundwater, constant pollution and overuse of plastic is already making things worse.

The ongoing situation in Bihar and Assam due to the disastrous rainfall, last year’s Kerala floods or the 2015 Chennai floods all will point towards certain man-made causes that led to the nature’s wrath on these States. Currently, in Assam, over 80% of the Kaziranga National Park, a World Heritage Site, is submerged making the wildlife run helter-skelter and come in direct contact with humans. A news item on how a lion is resting on a certain local’s bed has been given a comic angle however, it is just another cause for concern and not a comic relief. The spread of diseases like COVID 19, Black Fungus, Acute Encephalitis Syndrome and Japanese Encephalitis coupled with the flood situation has weakened situations everywhere. If you want to do your bit and donate to this case, please click here.

While Assam, Bihar and even parts of Mumbai are reeling under the effects of floods, Western Maharashtra especially Vidharbha and Marathwada are facing one of the worst drought situations. This contrast is what makes scientists wonder at the makeup of our planet and how we as humans cannot afford to disturb the ecological balance which makes our planet habitable and a Goldilocks zone. In today’s date, what is important is dedicated efforts towards sustainable development. The Paris Agreement of 2015 did provide a ray of hope with its ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ and the ‘Green Climate Fund’. However, the progress has been relatively slow and the USA’s withdrawal from it will prove more disastrous in future.

All around the world, due to rise in global temperatures, the glaciers are melting thus posing a direct threat to coastal areas. The decrease in temperature between the Equator and the poles is leading to more intense storms, droughts, hurricanes, floods and so on. Another casualty of climate change is the loss in diversity. For example, due to rising sea temperatures a lot of sea life is at grave danger and some of the species are driving towards extinction. A process called Ocean Acidification is already affecting the diversity of the Great Barrier Reef.

A strange phenomenon has been observed in Alaska’s Pavlof volcano. This particular volcano is affected by small sea level changes that happen seasonally. The volcano mostly erupts during autumn and winter, when there is an increase in water levels adjacent to this coastal volcano. According to geophysicist Steve McNutt of the University of South Florida, this is enough to bend the crust beneath the volcano, allowing magma to be squeezed out “like toothpaste out of a tube”.

Thus, not at once, but slowly and steadily, climate change is definitely affecting the intensity and recurrence of natural disasters thus adding a lot of anthropogenic causes to it. If the situation continues, the end of this era is not far and that time none of the economic development or lifestyle changes would help. Everyone will be awaiting the same fate. It is therefore important to start the change at our homes with however small the effort is. Future lies in all our hands. It will turn exactly how we want it to.  

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