The last couple of weeks haven’t exactly been optimistic. Not for me, not for you and certainly not for the planet we live on. The Amazon forest has been burning for weeks and the president of the country is ever more defying in the face of such a calamity. But that’s not the only place on fire. Central Africa, Siberia, Indonesia to name a few. NASA even has a map that has traced out all the fires that have ravaged the earth which certainly does not make for a pretty picture. I don’t mean to get as cynical as I do, but I can’t afford to be a climate crisis denier like the way the way they do it in America. India, regardless of the beautiful country we are, unfortunately have not been immune to devastation.
This is not the realisation of some ancient apocalyptic prophecy that was predicted by the Mayans or the Bible. What we witness has been the direct result of those seeking to make a profit on something that is free. They taught us in sociology 101, that there is no such thing as free lunch. To be fair, it certainly is debatable. Especially when it comes to our natural resources. They’re literally out there for us to use it as per our needs. Judiciously at that. Our ills began with colonialism, the rotten apple that it is. The Colonisers demonised those people who took care of the forests and seized forest land as they fancied. Post the British empire we are no better. It took us over 50 years to attempt to undo the damage done to our forest community by way of legislation. And yet here we are, taking over the mangroves and forest area while wiping away entire species from this planet forever for trains, planes and cars. The natural ecosystems of India are on the verge of irreparable destruction. All this to cater to consumer capitalism once the sweet dream of Baby Boomers, which has now unfortunately become the bane of our existence. One can’t help but dread the aftermath of the concrete takeover. Is there no hope left to salvage ourselves?
Not yet. The worst is yet to come. At least that’s what Greta Thunberg has to say. It’s a simple question that she poses to the world. If the world is burning, why aren’t we doing something to douse the fire. When there’s a leaky faucet, do you keep mopping up the water that’s gushing or do you try and fix the faucet?
In India, we have become a people of absolute apathy. We rage online and even take out marches once in a while, but where is that act of rebellion? Not like a purge or anarchy, but a rebellion to save ourselves, to go back to a way that is one with nature. Think about it. Think about your own house. Do you take initiative to minimise your waste? Do you think about using more eco-friendly measures of air conditioning? Do you use public transport as far as you can manage it? Perhaps it’s time to rebel against this status culture and rediscover ways to be more considerate. It’s time to care, even if they don’t care about us. Look outside your door. How many times have you complained about how dirty or crowded the roads are? Actions speak louder than words. You have the power to do that one deed to change it all.
It is hardly surprising that Thunberg Thunder has yet to make us stir. But honestly, how do we hear her when we scream and shout to a deafening frequency about petty politics. We rather entertain our brains by bogus science than indulge in real scientific research. We see but we do not observe. Our education system has failed us miserably. We are taught subjects that hold little to no value when it comes to basic survival skills. Our system doesn’t cater to emotional intelligence in a way that would actually make us care enough to save ourselves. The system has created this artificial entity that plays on the maternal sentiment in a way that obligates compliance regardless of the consequences. But anyone who still watches those horrific desi dramas plaguing the internet and television knows exactly how divisive a mother’s love can be. So that does nothing to increase our sympathy and empathy for one another.
So, you see, we have built a world where farmer suicides have become an important political rhetoric but hardly an issue that should have galvanised us into protecting them from a meaningless survival and ultimate death. We see our problems. We see the suffering. Yet it would seem that we wait for some reincarnation of a divine figure to save us. Jai Ho! But the truth of the matter is that long ago, a little prince
by the name of Krishna already told us to protect and preserve the environment. He was quite the environmentalist at a very young age, a persona we hardly speak about.
At this point in history, India is witnessing its worst year in man-made natural disasters. From Floods, to droughts to landslides, and all that in between, yet we continue to be an apathetic people. And I do not speak here of the tussle between state governments and central governments, but I talk of people like you and me. We need to start caring. We need to become empathetic towards one another. Because if we don’t, it won’t be before long that the fire will have consumed us all, metaphorically and perhaps even literally. Sometimes waiting for superman isn’t enough. Sometimes you have to be the superhero you so desperately deserve.
Author is Accomplished young lawyer who has the privilege of having studied in three distinct Legal jurisdiction i.e. UK, India, Saudi Arabia , She completed the LLM from SOAS, University of London