The article below is my attempt to provoke and cajole the media both print and visual to be more responsible and take the lead in spreading awareness of the dangers of Climate Change. It is no more good enough to just report an event as it is happening. But being part of the society and having the might of the proverbial Pen need to be a little more responsible than the rest.
Cyclone Nilam -triggered rains kill 22 in Andhya Pradesh. PTI -Nov 05, 2012
Hyderabad: At least 22 people have died in rain-related incidents in Andhra Pradesh as heavy rains continued to batter several regions under the influence of ‘Cyclone Nilam’. Coastal Andhra Pradesh continued to bear the brunt of nature’s fury as villages and towns were inundated by swollen rivulets.
Standing crops, including paddy, were affected in 2,43,634 hectares. The death toll in rain-related incidents like wall collapse and drowning rose to 22, state disaster management commissioner T Radha told reporters here on Sunday. The government has set up 86 relief camps in which about 68,000 people were provided shelter, he said.
Quoting form the article Growing Rice,written in the Blog Dobighazameen, 4 – 5 tonnes (one tonne = 1,000kgs) of rice is the yield expected from one hectare of well maintained paddy field. One hectare is about 2.5 acres.
Therefore if I go by what we can grow in the district of Pune,Maharashtra and apply it on the state of Andhra Pradesh; 2,43,634 hectares would have given us a rice yield of – 2,43,634 x 5 = 121,81,700,00 tonnes of Rice.
And this piece of extremely important information gets the place in page 9 of the DNA Newspaper. Which most would skip.
I have yet to read any newspaper which has actually translated this ” Standing crops, including paddy, were affected in 2,43,634 hectares.” into actual damage a common house-wife would understand while standing in the queue of mofussil India in the hot summer. So I take this task with my limitations as a dyscalculia, please pardon if the change from numbers to words are inaccurate, although I have used an online soft-ware for that too. In Indian parlance we are looking at One Arab Twenty one Crore Eighty one Lakh Seventy thousand tonnes of rice if only paddy is taken into account. Aandhra Pradesh by the way sends large amounts of vegetables to the City of Mumbai.
That is1 Billion tonnes plus of food grain destroyed by just one Hurricane. As mentioned in my previous article,Hurricane Sandy & Cyclone Nilam – “Our cousins would be visiting soon”.the world will be facing more and more climate change induced disasters as mentioned in the IPCC 4th Assessment Report.
Being a lover of fried rice, I could connect to this loss of stupendous amount of rice, I don’t mention the 22 people who died, because none were related to me and its just another statistics hai na? (Hindi = isn’t it). Coming from a capitalistic self-centred society I’m as good as my neighbour is. After all I too need to maintain the famous Chalta Hai ( all is ok ) attitude, even if the next one hits my city Mumbai and living close to the Marine Drive have my hat blown off. Being a little economically well-off gives me this sense of security that no Hurricane / Cyclone can kill me. I get this comfort from the rich and the politicians who live around me.
I can as always give many more examples and statistics of how we should build resource efficient cities and follow the sustainable living methods, but what is most important and is becoming most urgent is the recognition by all Governments the need to Advertise! To spread the message in simple language which most literate but hardly educated populace can understand.
If I may so humbly suggest, it is the time for the UNSC to take cognisance of the matter; is the destruction of a Nation not a matter of utmost security concern? And use its vast economic resources to provide grant to the UNFCCC and UNEP to popularise the concept of Sustainable living and the dangers of not having done so.
In another article by Vivek Kaul in the DNA newspaper, Michael J Sandel one of the foremost political philosophers in his book What Money Can’t Buy:The Moral Limits of Markets argues that we have drifted from being a market economy to being a market society. “….We have drifted from having a market economy to becoming a market society. And the difference is this. A market economy is a valuable and effective tool for organising productivity activity. And market economy has brought prosperity and affluence to countries around the world. A market society is different. A market society is a place where almost everything is up for sale. It’s a way of life in which uses markets to allocate health, education, public safety, national security, environmental protection, recreation, procreation and other social goods”…. (Source:Do we want a society where everything is up for sale?)
Why else a National daily like DNA, could not find front page space to put as Headlines, the news of loss of lives and crops caused by Cyclone Nilam? A loss which would lead to further inflation and death of the underprivileged in time to come in this corrupt and crony capitalist market economy?
And what is most painful is that India needs the endorsement for moral guidance from the west, as we debunk our traditional way of conducting business for the more “advanced” version.