The current news trending across India is the terribly hot weather tormenting every other state except the north east. Chennai too, is undoubtedly, reeling under the intense summer heat. But I soon found that several other places in Andhra, Orissa and the north are facing much severe heat waves. One amusing thing that I found was that Bangalore’s maximum temperature had been higher than Chennai’s for more than a couple of days and I couldn’t help smiling to myself. At the same time, a sense of foreboding crept inside me. Even yesterday night at roughly 9:30 PM, Bangalore’s temperature was 34 degrees and Chennai’s temperature was 31 degrees. However there was a difference in humidity with Bangalore having 34% and Chennai having 79%, which would tilt the scales towards Chennai in terms of sultriness. Anyway the point is that, this is a very disturbing anomaly.
With every passing year, I get the feeling that the climate during summer is hotter than the previous. Hardly January ends and immediately the place starts to heat up which actually should happen only by end of March. During my childhood, which is the early 2000s, I can actually remember rains making an appearance starting from July itself. The rain then intensifies during October and November (North East Monsoon). But now, especially after 2010, climate has been both extreme and unpredictable. Several times I have thought the summers are becoming longer or atleast the sun is omnipresent and the number of rain days is reducing. In these recent years, rains don’t make an appearance until late October. In the aftermath of the 2015 floods, it was widely said that the rain that is normally spread out across three months lashed in just a week. The reasons stated for the floods were aplenty. One could read it in detail here. In recent weeks, news related to heat waves are coming daily. People are dying from strokes. The cricket board is in the midst of a problem of conducting matches in grounds in Maharashtra due to the dearness of water, which is required to maintain pitches. More recently, 11 of 12 hydro power stations in Karnataka are not functioning due to negligible water flow in the Cauvery.
Now the question is whether this particular season is just a random event or if it is really climate change. The meteorology department reckons that this is a consequence of El Nino. Thank God, if only that is the reason. But then, we mustn’t take to an attitude of complacency. It is not as if climate change is not happening. What if this was climate change in disguise?
The number of private vehicles is increasing by the day. And it looks like both automobile and banks aren’t going to do anything to lessen it, what with the constant release of ever new models and attractive EMIs. Trees are felled regularly and there is never going to be a reduction in demand for air conditioners. Plastics and fossil fuels are still in use. I won’t deny that I am also part of this
contribution destruction. Ofcourse, there is
also an optimistic side to look at this. Solar power is seeing increased
patronage, Tesla has entered the Indian market with its hybrid electric cars,
New Delhi has come up with the odd-even car day concept etc. Most importantly,
more people are becoming aware and the clamour surrounding pollution especially
is growing. Agreed, positive change is happening.
But this is not enough. Remember Leonardo DiCaprio’s speech after he won the Oscar? Climate Change is real. There are small yet definite signs of it. We are extracting and consuming way more than ever needed. Way more that the conservation and preservation attempts by us are almost negligible. Have we caught ourselves in an irreversible chemical earth reaction? Are we too late to reverse it? Are we at a point that whatever green effort we take will not be able to cool down Nature’s anger?
Some people reading this may be thinking, “Sure! You are one to talk! First you change instead of writing about it!” To them I quote, “Words have power. They affect the mind in a pronounced way. Whether they are spoken or written, they are powerful influences. While what you say to others is important, even more important is what you say to yourself”. I also say that change comes from within and little changes come together to pronounce a big change. Change can be as little as consuming less and preserving more or as big as developing, mass producing and marketing a green product.
One thing is for sure. If we don’t do or create something or find a solution that is so phenomenal – phenomenal enough to the extent of Apple’s iPhone or Google’s search engine, it will be very late. Nature will have the last laugh but we won’t be laughing alongside it.