Monthly Archives: September 2018
Every individual needs to introspect on the indirect, implicit or invisible role one would have played against the interests of nature.
Most of us have been caught up in a traffic jam at least once. Never would we blame ourselves for causing the jam, instead we curse other drivers or maybe our choice of the road. Of course, we too have caused the jam, at the least by joining the hold-up, increasing the number of vehicles by one more. Traffic jam is a collective phenomenon with every individual driver contributing to it and it cannot be resolved without every person cooperating to clear it.
On a similar note, if asked what caused the Kerala and Kodagu floods, most of us would not wink our eyelids before blaming climate change at large and human action at the local level. Outsiders like us who do not suffer are only devouring the news as if we have no role in it. Locals are not willing to own the crisis, pointing a finger at the government or greedy investors. The vast majority of people of Madikeri might have never cut the trees, levelled the land and made the roads. So, they do not feel directly responsible, even though they are hard hit by the crisis.
As sensible citizens, we may not like to engage in a blame game, but if we do not locate the causes behind the crisis, we would be inviting the crisis again in future. Curiously, statistics available on precipitation says it rained heavy last year also, disapproving the theory that excess rains are the main culprit.
While many of us sympathised with the owners who built at the river level or cliff edge, equal many would have criticised it as thoughtless actions by the owners. If we were to be in the shoes of those owners, we too would have built so. Our context directs most of our actions, which appear thoughtless to someone outside those punishing contexts.
Let us think why are so many people involved in actions apparently against nature – is it just to earn a living or could it be also to meet the demands of people like us? We demand lifestyle products, construction materials, goods transportation and manufacturing of a million items. By supporting a market economy and creating a supply chain, can we absolve ourselves of the responsibility? Definitely, no.
We all are responsible for the crisis just unfurled. Every individual needs to introspect the indirect, implicit or invisible role one would have played against the interests of nature. It may be easier to realise the harm we are doing, but it will be very difficult to change our course and live differently and eco-friendly. Yet we can attempt a beginning.
We need to realise that the Kerala and Kodau crisis has been caused collectively by every one of us, by the seemingly insignificant individual action of us. That could be an impulse to live differently from now on.
For how long can we continue this way without thinking about ecology.
Floods in Kerala and Madikeri have receded, but the media continues to pour in news and analysis, suggesting the lessons we need to learn from these partly manmade disasters.
Many writers have used phrases like “we should have thought about it” and few “let us think about it now.” Despite the
fact that warning message was as clear as the writing on the wall, why did we not read it? What has the word ‘thinking’ got to do with it all?
Thinking is mostly assumed to be an academic activity connected with learning to get a degree certificate. Later few people continue with it to become scholars, social thinkers, political analysts, writers or public speakers.
Often, thinking is connected to problem solving at a basic level or deep down, it is also central in philosophy suggesting meditation and introspection towards self-discovery. The idea and act of thinking itself deserves a long essay, but on a day to day basis, what do we think of thinking? To confess, most of us think nothing of it. As some subject experts may argue, we do not consciously think at all. We assume we are thinking, but much of it is a routine brain and biological act, happening without us deliberately focusing on any chosen theme.
Even in these days full of choices, options and alternatives, most of us live by few default beliefs, products and lifestyles, suggested by the invisible market forces, peer pressures, urban systems, governance or what could be called as the mainstream general practises. In a so called free society, we are conditioned by our own creations and imperatives set in motion by the larger global, corporate, consumerist and modern agendas, ably and of course justifiably supported by the internet of things.
Given this apparently choice less life, do we adequately think about the implications of our actions? The seemingly convenient car aggregators have increased the energy consuming urban car traffic; affordable fares have multiplied air travellers many folds fuming out greenhouse gas emissions more than ever; the homely comforts of e-marketing with online bank payments are enjoying a quantum jump in sales and high carbon footprint actions like national conferences, star hotels, fine dine restaurants, skyscrapers, driving holiday, weekend resorts and such others are multiplying.
Buyers, builders and investors
Given the comfort and necessity of all that is listed, how can we question them? Our days of struggling to earn has flipped into finding ways of spending, with surplus money coupled with technology prompting us to become buyers, builders, investors, owners, tourists, adventurers, explorers and every other human endeavour that our forefathers could never imagine. What a great achievement of our generation!
How can we ever think that these and many more such human potentials have led to floods in Kerala or Madikeri?
No way, so we analyse the catastrophe from all visible angles, refusing to connect the comfort of our everyday life as the possible cause behind our own sufferings.
For how long can we continue this way, without thinking about ecology?