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Sustainability can’t grow under a Managing Director.

09 May

Every Wo/man wants to leave their foot-prints in the sands of time. But in trying to achieve that very goal we have accelerated our time towards oblivion. We shall try to connect the dots leading us towards that horror.

GLOBE-Net, May 2, 2013 – New research from the Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO), a climate change and finance think tank, shows that the level of public disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions among the world’s largest 800 companies is unacceptably poor. Only 37% of companies are reporting complete data and correctly adopting the basic principles of greenhouse gas emissions reporting. Only 21% had their data externally verified. (read more)

In the recent edition of Energitica India Magazine Ms. Mili Mazumdar; Director Sustainable Habitat TERI asked a very pertinent and thought provoking question – Incentives can lead you to certain points. However, think about this, do you incentivize yourself to breathe fresh air ? (read more)

India Water Portal writes – Contamination from sewage waste, landfill run-offs, pesticides and open drains is the reason for high nitrate concentration in Delhi’s groundwater. Consuming this water can cause many health problems including the ‘blue baby syndrome’ in children. Adults aren’t impacted directly but the fact remains that toxic pesticides are present in most parts of Delhi’s groundwater .Read more at – Delhi groundwater unfit for consumption – Weekly news roundup (April 29- May 5, 2013)

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) 28 Apr 2013 Mumbai – Malathy Iyer : A study by a Navi Mumbai doctor has found a growing incidence of genital abnormality among newborn boys possibly because of increasing exposure to endocrine disruptor chemicals that usually occur in plastic bottles, food wraps, cosmetics, toys, etc.Dr Arbinder Singal noticed an alarming increase -almost 200%-in the incidence of undescended testicles, where the male hormone testosterone is produced. “We found almost 5% of 1,154 full-term newborn male babies had undescended testes,” he said. The last study in India done in 1972 showed an incidence of 1.6%. Singal, a paediatric urologist with MGM Hospital in Vashi, presented his findings at the European Society for Paediatric Urology on Friday. (read more)

In a Country which is obsessed with boys and female infanticide is still rampant, the above news though somber makes a fitting case for the environmental crusaders to argue their case strongly. More so because whether one likes it or not, the effect of poisoning will hit both the rich and the poor alike. More so the rich who can afford to buy biscuits wrapped in triple layer of plastic.

May 6, 2013, 7:25 AM:

For the first time in human history, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will surpass 400 parts per million, according Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which has been measuring carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii since 1958.“The 400-ppm threshold is a sobering milestone, and should serve as a wake-up call for all of us to support clean energy technology and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, before it’s too late for our children and grandchildren,” said Tim Lueker of the Scripps Institution in a statement.The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is closely linked to global warming. The more carbon dioxide, the higher global average temperatures have climbed, according to climate science. (This graphic shows how global temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have been linked in the past 400,000 years).

The reason why we are still in denial mode in almost everything related to sustainability and the ill-effects of Global Warming due to Climate change is very complex. But we will through this article once more try and connect the dots of seemingly unrelated chain of events which would perhaps lead to a disaster so great that mitigation would no longer be possible. And that the situation is almost upon us can be understood through the report above.

But why even after 20 years of continuous efforts by the various arms of the United Nations especially the UNFCCC we have reached this sorry state of affairs ? I would from my personal experience attribute one of the major factor to the designations humans tend to give themselves. While a CEO or MD is supposed to define the scope of work a man is supposed to have within an organization, it is a natural human folly to consider this position; barring a very elite and respected few; as a certificate to rule. Arrogance becomes a part and all that is important is narrow self-interest. This allows for taking decisions which are detrimental to the environment and the society at large while serving to elate the position and power of self using the self-defeating and wrong capitalistic ideas which has led us to this present sorry state. No wonder EIO could only find 37% of Corporates  reporting on their GHG. Business as Usual always comes first. (Business As Usual – a sure-fire guide to kill Sustainable Development Goals.)

Unless a President or a Chairman is made aware that his use of even a simple thing such as air-conditioning and lights in the office has a direct bearing on the environment and health of millions and is made to pay for such luxury; CSR would be a sham which it is in most corporates. (World Water Day – Do you know how much water a light bulb consumes?)The CEO and his/her managers must be made aware that pollution which they do not feel while traveling in closed gas-guzzling SUV’s and drinking bottled water only would not wish away the reality of ground water contamination or keep their newborn child safe from genital abnormality due to plastic poisoning.

Climate change and there related aftermaths would effect one and all.

Washington D.C ! The seat of worlds military and political power. A place were the first citizen and many first among equals reside. And many among those had heard Severn Suzuki speech eons back in 1992 ! And sat smug even 20 years later when she spoke at the Rio  Earth Summit. As one hears her speak it is remarkable to see the body language of many across Nationalities, who had little clue of the storm Sandy growing in the womb of the Atlantic to wreak havoc. A damage so great that the aftermath is still being discovered.

And one of the best examples of it is the related report in Huffington Post Green  04/30/13 12:47 PM ET EDT: Superstorm Sandy released 11 billion gallons of sewage from East Coast treatment plants into bodies of water from Washington, D.C., to Connecticut, according to a report released Tuesday by a science journalism group.(read more).

It is remarkable how Continents apart in New Delhi & Washington D.C ground water is contaminated. We indeed live in a global village. And it is time we recognize that the dangers of climate change and unsustainable living would effect us all.

We all are equally responsible. If one visits the great pacific garbage patch, I’m sure every Nation is represented there in all its ugly mess. The video in the attached link is seriously scary. That this garbage is breaking down into microscopic poisonous particles and getting back into our system may need some more research to be proven conclusively, but the probability that it is being carried back to the land in the belly of fishes or the rain-clouds which helps us till the land for agriculture can’t be discounted.

Humans do what they do; whether right or wrong is because they want to live a life of comfort and luxury. But the havoc they are causing to the environment would make them and is already making them pay a terrible price, as evident from the few reports given above.

But perhaps as a species we change only when the damage is mind boggling in scale. We are perhaps waiting for the incentives we would need to breathe fresh air. Perhaps then it would make business sense to clean up our act.

 

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