Saturday, 10 August 2019

Optimism bias



We keep hearing about climate change and the world as we know it coming to an end but we don't see any action at the level it warrants. It puzzles me why, why are we ignoring these evident signs?


Then I realized that it's our optimism, to be precise our optimism bias, the thought that bad things will not happen to me. There is a belief that floods are happening someplace, the ice melting at other and drought is happening elsewhere. The key to the bias is not that we don't understand the situation but fail to account for any negative impact on our lives. Even though this bias seems limiting, it is actually important to function, otherwise we will not be able to take even simplest risks of turning on a gas or crossing a road. 


What we need is a marketing campaign like that of insurance. It has the same applicability of losing something currently to insure your future. That is how we can get people to care for the environmental changes by linking it to their personal future.


Friday, 9 August 2019

The Value of Things


Whenever we think of the value of something, we think of its economic value. We never consider environmental value...the value of an ecosystem, creation, purity. We never consider psychological or spiritual or aesthetic value. But have you ever thought, some of these things, which don't have a price tag, might as well be PRICELESS!!

Let's think for a second. How much value will you put to that sense of relief when monsoon arrives after a sweltering summer? The sense of freshness early morning breeze brings, or the sense of pure joy of seeing that sunrise/sunset or the full moon. How much is your child's happiness worth when s/he gets to play in an open area as opposed to our cramped tiny urban homes? How much money would you spend to make sure that the food your child is eating is free of harmful chemicals?

Environmental value may be long term and comes in disguise. But to realize how much it is worth, just close your eyes for a second and imagine a scenario when it is not there anymore, forever. Will you ever be able to get a clear view of the horizon or play that game with your child to name the constellations in a clear sky with thousands of stars? 

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Animal cruelty



Animal cruelty is everywhere. Animals are treated as properties to be caged, tortured, exploited to earn profits. Premature death, as a result of such exploitation is also common. Artificial over-breeding of animals, cross breeding, fish and meat farming, scientific experiments, leather and fur industry... this list of atrocities against animals is endless. 


Human greed has put the animals in danger. The fine fur of Sea otter's was in high demand in Chinese market. Within 40 years Russian, American, Spanish and British hunters reduced sea otter population from half a million to merely 1000-2000. Atlantic Cod fish was once so abundant in the pacific ocean that it slowed down ships. Now overfishing has pushed them to the brink of extinction. Little over a 100 years back, there were 100,000 tigers roaming the jungles of India and a decade back the number fell to 1,411. 


These are mere few examples, there are many species that have been wiped out from the face of the planet due to human greed. Do we really think that economic gains justify everything? Do we standby while profit redefines what it means to be human?

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Mother



Who do we love most in the world? I am pretty sure for most of us, one of the first three people would be our mother. Our mothers gave us the life that we have today. She raised us, fed us. Without our mothers, we won't exist!!


We have similar emotions for many other things. Our mother tongue for example. We feel the best expressing ourselves in our mother tongue. It gives us comfort. Same for motherland. We can never deny the bond we have with our motherland. Some among us are ready to die for our motherland. Because that's the land that has raised us, flourished us, gave us the values we live by. 


So - is  mother earth not the same? What will we ever be, if it was not for her? She didn't just give us life, she created us. She didn’t nourish only us, but everything else that makes us. Then why don't we treat her like our mother, with all the respect and love? Just as We cannot imagine our lives without our mother or detach ourselves from our motherland, can we even imagine a life without mother earth?


Forget imagine, it is NOT possible. And even if we train ourselves to live an artificially induced secondary life outside of her in a distant future - we will need to be blessed with her resources many times over to make that possible.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Selfish or selfless



Do we consider ourselves selfish? Or are we selfless? By Biological theory, our survival instincts need us to be selfish. By Socio-Economic definition we are rational human beings and therefore need to be selfish for our needs foremost. However, beyond these theories there is an overwhelming sentiment that Human beings are capable of being incredibly selfless. Perhaps the best example is mothers caring for their children.

And yet, inspite of either capacity, we are incredibly inert to the degradation of the environment that sustains us. If we have really evolved to be selfless, shouldn't we care about all the animals and plants we are killing, driving them to extinction, the baby animals who are losing their families, their homes because of us.

And even if we are primally selfish, it is a bigger reason to start caring about the environment. Environmental degradation is heavily affecting us. Human health is getting affected due to toxins released in soil, water, crops. Every country is trying in vain to deal with property and life losses resulting from the ever increasing unpredictable climate hazards. Food production is getting affected as soil is becoming less fertile due to over exploitation. Pollution is making people sick, especially our children.

Or Is there a third category? Like, ignorant. Ignorant to the level that we blissfully dig our own graves and dream of it being our ship to that heaven we crave.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Biophilia



There was a time when I liked this city I live in. There was limited natural beauty, but I didn't mind. Weekend getaways during monsoons right outside the city was blissful with fresh greenery, magic of hills, waterfalls and mists. But, as the population grew in the city, so did the crowd, pollution and garbage in my once blissful destinations. Involuntarily my travel choices started getting me further and further away from the city. And before I knew it, I was spending more time outside my home than inside. 


My travel choices got me to many places. Mostly natural, some more pristine than the other. I saw ocean so blue that it hurt my eyes. I saw sky full of thousands of stars. I saw forests so colorful that it looked like a palette of a painter. I saw beautiful sunsets, heard birds singing and smelled fresh air. I saw animals minding their own business as if I was not even there.


A few years passed. People kept asking me -- "why do you always have to go out. Why can't you stay at home once in a while? You live in the convenience of a metro city, you can do so much here as well.. " can I? For a while I gave it a thought. I could amp up the luxuries - get some ambience, maybe host a party, step out for some retail therapy? Or eat at some classy joint - how's that for a change? Then one day I looked out from my 16th floor balcony and got my answer. There was a splash of skyscrapers, but the sky was a dull grey - it had lost its colour. The streets were busy but all I could see was a layer of smog. I couldn't see the stars at night even when there was no cloud. Pollution had taken over my city. And subconsciously triggered in me an intense inner desire to be with nature. It was this biophilia that dragged me out of this city, every time, and this was a way of life that I would choose over all luxuries now.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Climate change



Scientists are saying that climate change is the biggest problem facing the world now. Barrack Obama did acknowledge: 'We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.' Closer to our everyday - we have even more proofs - a lot many more. Can you still predict rains as we did 20 years ago? Did you hear about so many droughts, floods, cloud bursts, wildfires, cyclones when we were kids? How many people do you catch complaining about the intolerable heat every summer? If anything - look at your electricity bills over the years in summer. It will tell you how the mercury has been rising up and down unexpectedly. 


Everyone thinks 'what can I do alone?'.'Let the government start it, I will join'. Un-egged, unlike other issues - religious, racial, regional or cultural - no sentiments get hurt. Our government - unanimously acknowledged as corrupt but surprisingly also unanimously acknowledged as a spoon feeder - does not prioritize. Years go by and some "ointment on wound" equivalent is what so ever taken. Never anything vaccine nor even antibiotics.


So what can we do? A lot - if we stop underestimating our "outside social media" abilities to change the world. We can plant a tree and more and let the trees speak for our efforts. We can reduce paper usage; opt for ebills, e tickets, ebooks, soft copies of documents, online newspaper and guaranteed  we will be saving significantly more trees in a year. We can switch to energy efficient electrical appliances, light bulbs, fans. We can be a lot more prudent with the Air Conditioning. We can opt more for a little less convenience and choose public transport and save fossil fuel consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emission. And, we can raise our voice against deforestation. Let the government and industrialists know where our truest sentiments get hurt and where our real priorities lie - we won't support destruction of this beautiful planet anytime soon. 


If each of us alone can make so many changes, imagine what our social circle is capable of doing! If even a few more get influenced by our efforts, we can change a good part of the world- for better. So let's stop expecting someone else to take all the actions for us, and let's shape our future ourselves, together.