India which signed the CoP 21 Paris Agreement in 2015 December ratified it with much fanfare on 2nd October 2016. The birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, who can, without a doubt, be called not only the father of the Nation. But also perhaps the visionary who saw that Sustainable Development is the only way towards the progress of the human civilisation.
As the Earth Patriot, I wanted to pause and see the difference, the long awaited Paris Agreement make. For with the Paris agreement in place, I presumed that there were no more doubts left and the routine Earth Day, Earth Hour & so many other events, that have been created over the years, would not just be empty gestures, as they were turning out to be, but real change on the ground would be felt.
I was not looking at the big changes that would shape the future but the smaller ones which make the building blocks upon which a future stands.
As always, I can not talk about other Cities and Nations, but briefly, touch on certain events that may happen there which would impact my Country too.
Filmed on December 5th, 2016..the below Video captures many thoughts which are best spoken by someone who is regarded as an authority in the field rather than some passionate novice, which I consider myself to be on many a subject I feel strongly about.
Just as Poor Nations, Small Island States & Developing Nations point towards the USA and the rich EU Nations in particular for the calamity that has manifested, similarly its the large Indian cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata & fast catching up with them are Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Bhubaneswar & others who pollute and pillage the National wealth more than what should be their fair share.
If one were to take a sample survey of the lifestyle of the well-to-do in these cities, they match with those living in New York or London. It is but the citizens of these mega-cities who should have been in the forefront of change..for they are the direct contributors to climate change in this Anthropocene Era. And they must be held accountable and make the changes required towards fulfilling the goals envisaged in the INDC’s submitted as per the Paris Agreement by India at the UN.
Industrialists & Entrepreneurs of all sectors, with deep pockets, somehow can not believe that they need to pay back to the Planet from which it extracts and is trying their level best to circumvent the situation. Either through bribery or through lip service. And the biggest tragedy for the planet is that they have and even now would succeed.
And one of the major cause would be an event that happened on the 8th of November 2016.
November 8th, 2016 was not just any ordinary date. Two events unfolded. One in India and the other in the USA. But both the events impact India.
In the history of human civilisation, 8th Nov’16 would go down as the day when the USA elected someone who could destroy planet Earth, not by utilising any Nuclear Bomb but by utilising his intellect or rather choosing not to on a particular subject which affects the whole World!
While it is known that the Brain has the superpowers yet to be discovered by modern science, we might be at the threshold of experiencing the horrors of someone extremely powerful, refusing to apply them when it comes to Climate Change.
The most dangerous aspect of this event is a thought no one is seeming to ask is, would the United Nations (here representing the World leaders) sit back and allow a person’s personal belief on Climate Change bring the World to the brink of disaster?
Will the death of Island Nations and the drowning of its people consider as a genocide? Should the USA buoyed by Climate Change denial, increase it’s GHG emission manifold & other countries follow suit? Or a Natural Disaster?
When we have a superpower Nation and its supreme leader as a Naysayer to Climate Change, the damage it does to 22 years of hard work by the UNFCCC is enormous.
Let us then link it to the events that unfolded on that day in India and see how dangerous it can become for my country should the balance of powers between climate change believers and deniers change.
The anti-corruption drive of Shri Narendra Modi, by demonetizing the ₹500 & ₹1000 Notes have no parallel in the history of the World. A brilliant master stroke is what many including me believe it to be. For, whether or not the corrupt would be punished for failing to pay taxes, the humongous amount of cash having come back into the system would make many a Government INDC programs into a reality.
But if we have Mr Donald Trump convince the World that it does not agree to the Paris Agreement but it could be the death knell of Swacch Bharat Yojana!
Swacch means Clean. It not just means clean municipal drains. It also denotes Clean Air, Water & Food. It could also denote a transparent and clean way of conducting sustainable business to attain the goals envisaged in the Agenda 30. The UN Sustainable Development Goals, which is the bed-rock of the INDC’s the years of effort given to achieve the Paris Agreement stands threatened.
But when you have a Naysayer in Mr Donald Trump, whose background is also that of a builder. Yes, we have Trump Towers in India too. And certain high-end residential projects are being built in Joint venture with his company, Green Building and Sustainable Development goes for a toss!
Indians, especially city-bred have the propensity to drool over anything that is Western. Harrods and Hollywood have more credibility than Hindi Cinema & Himalayas.
So, it would not be surprising to see the much maligned [ and rightly so in most cases if not all ] builders working towards “Smart Cities” & AMRUT Towns & Adarshgrams which completely divorces the idea of sustainable development practice, barring the lip service it has been giving. And this lip service has nothing to do with the conscience to make a social commitment but to garner any and all government incentives. The Water stressed peri-urban and rural landscape could suffer more and this would have an enormous strain on the social order, which is shimmering at the best of times.The cities of India are as parochial as is the society. A sprawling ugly forever expanding juggernaut which keeps pushing the marginalised to oblivion while at the same time its unplanned and ugly buildings consume energy in every form from this resource deficit planet.
But when the attention is diverted by someone sitting across the Ocean with Presidential Decrees which have ramifications in the immediate socio-economic fabric of my country. Better building design and other INDC programs would take a back seat while the Nations looks for solutions as of how to safeguard its position as the biggest software solution provider & other goods and services which churn the economy.
As certain set drivers of Indian economy are set to change, it would be impossible for the Government to focus on the good work of the INDC’s but take a step backwards by the pressures that would be created by the unscrupulous to allow them to continue with Business As Usual.
But before I end this page, it would be important to state that even though the policies of the President of United States may be bringing to end the Status Quo, the World has been in for so long. There is a glimmer of hope within his inward-looking policies, should he but agree to the Climate Change Agreement and endorses it.
And those advantages I would present in the next article.