Embracing Sustainable Solutions: Paving the Path to Undoing Environmental Damage!! 1

Pic Courtesy – https://biochar.co.uk/direct-air-capture-carbon-dioxide/

Since 1970 or in the last fifty years, in India, there have been only two times when the annual average of cumulatively heat wave days exceeded 200 days in a year. They are 203 days in 2022 and 256 days in 2010. If we go for a statistical comparison, the average heatwave days in the 1970s were 96, which has increased to 130 days in the 2010s. This is the news in TOI. The average temperature in India increased by 0.7*C during 1901 to 2018. The global temperature rose about 1.98*F (1.1*C) from 1901 to 2020. Things that we directly depend upon and value are water, energy, transportation, wildlife, agriculture, ecosystem, human health, and many more factors. Each factor of these has been affected by the increase of heat wave days which is the direct consequence of the rise of temperature including what we know about sea rise, changes in weather patterns, and catastrophic climatic conditions. 


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Imagine the environment on Earth being converted into a heat chamber. Imagine living underground for the rest of your life. Imagine taking drugs to keep your body sustainable. Yes, that could be true one day which is not very far off. If greenhouse gas emissions are not significantly curtailed, by 2050, the daily high and low-temperature difference will increase by at least 5*F. from the current level. It can increase to 10*F by the end of this century. This difference is beyond the human body’s tolerance limits. Moreover, heat waves become more dangerous and lethal when combined with high humidity. Buildings, roads, and growing urbanizing infrastructure absorb heat, leading to temperatures that can be up by  7*F hotter in urban areas in comparison to open areas. Moreover, the slow release of heat from the infrastructure can keep the city areas much hotter for longer periods, than the open areas in the surrounding. 

For the past one hundred years, in the name of development, we have been destroying our planet. Global warming, the effect of greenhouse gases, or the climate change problem is bigger than we can think of. Sloppy management and lust for easy money, short-term profits, control over the public, and ideological rigidity of world leaders, lead them to believe that the environment can be sacrificed for economic growth and development. There is a huge emphasis on the formation of capital- whether produced, processed, human, or social for economic and financial growth which are the only parameter of a developed state. But consumption can never be more important than natural harmony and a healthy ecosystem, which can be sustained only by Natural Capital. In the last 4000-5000 years, mankind worked mostly to increase comfort and convenience by increasing consumption. Today we can see its consequences all over the globe. 


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Natural capital is different from all other types of capital. Some elements of it have critical thresholds and mostly have finite limits. Changes in the natural capital are potentially irreversible. Moreover, its impact extends for a long time across many generations. It needs to be used efficiently and sustainably. Renewable resources such as fossil fuels, forests, and fisheries, ecosystem services such as biodiversities, and carbon sequestration must also be considered relative to the rate of recharge and replenishment. Existing commitments to avoid catastrophic climate change exemplifies the need for absolute decoupling from this euphoria of development, requiring a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, even in the face of an expanding global economy. 

The GDP of a country can’t be the only benchmark or the sole indicator of telling the quality of life of its people. A higher GDP does not automatically translate into better living standards for all people. Generally, the increase in GDP benefits only a very small segment of society. It benefits only those, who have a proximity to the system. GDP does not always go hand in hand with other indicators that contribute to a better quality of life. If the standard of living is the objective, quality of life never improves. But if the quality of life is the objective, the standard of living invariably improves. 

If we go for the reasons of global warming, the transport sector accounts for around a quarter of all GHG emissions. To cut down the GHG emissions, we need to develop technology where alternate sources of energy can be put in. 74% of the world’s population eats both animal and non-animal products. Only 3% are vegan. Rest occasionally and eat meat or fish. Today 60% of the world’s agricultural land is used for livestock grazing. Moreover, one-third of all food produced is either lost or wasted. According to the food waste Index Report 2021, people globally waste one billion tonnes of food each year, which accounts for more than 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The fashion industry accounts for 8-10% of global carbon emissions, which is more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Fast fashion has created a throwaway culture. 


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Every year 12 million hectares of forests are destroyed. Together with agriculture and land use changes, is responsible for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions. Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is the process of pumping millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals underground to create enough pressure to create or break apart the Rock and release gas. It leads to water pollution and the spread of toxins in the soil from beneath. All these factors lead to the loss of biodiversity. The ozone layer is a layer that sits 20 to 30 km. above the earth’s surface. It prevents ultraviolet (UV) radiation from entering the earth by absorbing 90-95% of it. But today because of excessive release of chlorine and bromine there’s a depletion in the ozone layer. 

We are living in an era of modern imperialism which has created a mechanism where the fossil fuel and oil resources inside developing countries are already occupied by big corporates, that funnel it to developed countries. The primary source of energy of developing countries is already under the control of developed nations. Systematic imperialism is very hard to escape. This is also the fact that developing countries are not worried about the environment. Because they are compulsively more concerned and worried about starvation, poverty, and diseases. Developing countries don’t have enough adequate resources to spend on expensive technologies and machinery that would help the environment. 

Our fragile planet is hanging by a thread. We are on the edge of a climatic catastrophe. The climate emergency demands action from all of us. The economic growth of any country can’t be more important than preserving the environment. There’s too much carbon dioxide in the air which is warming our planet. We need to focus on reversing this process through carbon capture, sequestration, and storage. For our energy needs, we will have to cut down our dependence on fossil fuels. The use of biowaste in a controlled environment for the generation of energy should be our topmost priority. The crop residue can be used in manufacturing BIOCHAR which has multiple applications from farms to factories. Our sun is powered by the fusion of hydrogen nuclei, forming helium. Unlike nuclear fission, the process of fusion does not result in the production of radioactive nuclear waste. We need to undo the damage already done to the planet through scalable and sustainable solutions or our species deserved the undoing of what we have achieved.


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