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IASbaba Big Picture RSTV Analysis- Is our lifestyle impacting weather?
Published on Dec. 5, 2015, 10:29 a.m.



The Big Picture - Is our lifestyle impacting weather?


We generally speak of how climate change will impact the human lifestyle, but irony is, its Human lifestyle which is and will have long-term impacts on environment if we don’t wake up. But question arises, how exactly our lifestyle impacting environment? Is India more susceptible to natural calamity than others? Are the recent disaster like that in Chennai, Uttarakhand or Kashmir a natural calamity or there is more to it? Which will be the most vulnerable community in all this climate change?

  How our lifestyle impacting environment?
  • For the past 200 years, our model of development has been that of exploitation. Non-stop exploitation of natural resources has led to a stage where whole human kind is on verge of collapse. Building houses after destroying mangrove forests and hotspots is not a development.
  • Colonialsation led to unequal distribution of resources b/w countries with long-term impacts, for example, amount of electricity Times Square in New York uses in a day is equal to Zimbabwe’s whole year consumption.
  • We are pushing limits called the planetary boundaries beyond any acceptable rates which have major implications in the earth's climate and environment.

Source -- VFRC Report 2013/3

  • Coming back to India, disasters are not new to our country but what is new is the extreme changes taking place like extreme rains, extreme droughts, less rainfall in monsoon, el-nino, enso etc.
  • Human dependence on fossil fuels, wars, hampering of hotspots, over-use of groundwater, excessive use of chemicals in agriculture etc. are in fact leading us to  irreversible changes, i.e., increase in temperature by >2o
  • Our lifestyle is not only impacting environment but also the poor people who are facing the brunt of environment backlash and are most vulnerable community

A big question now is- how serious governments across the nations are? Can international meet in Paris solve such problem? Who is to be held responsible for the environmental degradation?

  • Our present model of development is only crushing poor people and no international meet can solve this problem until we move on from this developmental model.
  • Though scientific community has contributed greatly to our environmental problems but lack of seriousness among political and wealthy class has not yielded a good result.
  • Seriousness of governments can be seen from the facts that still there are many parts in world which are involved in war for past 30-40 years. Many countries are spending too much in defence.
  • There is still debate going on over responsibility b/w developed and developing countries.

Way Forward

  • There is a need to change this model of development. We need to move to sustainable development, development which looks after environment conservation first than anything.
  • Agrarian practices need to be changed and farmers should be discouraged in using fertilizers and planting water-intensive crops in low rainfall areas. Crops should be grown according to environmental factors.
  • To stop the incidents of floods there is also need to stop building so-called “concrete jungle”. These are breaking the connection between groundwater table and rainfall; generally, the land absorbs the rainfall and transfers it to groundwater. But concrete surface has disturbed this link.
  • Dependence on fossil fuels had to be lowered. Countries should lower their defence budget and spend this money on researches in renewable resources.
  • Most of the earth is covered by water still there are water-scarce countries. There is a need for research in this area to purify sea water for daily use.

Mains Question 

  1. Assess the factor behind increasing number natural calamity in India. Is the model of development in India a faulty one and leading to more natural disasters? Comment.
  2. Agrarian policies in India have done more harm than good. Comment.