Look where are we headed ?

The climate change is not a cliché – it is a real and existential threat, to which little attention is being paid. In the recently-concluded Back to Village 3 programme, that lasted well over a week, there was focus on the development, as it should have been, but the effect of the climate change did not find as much place in the discourse as it deserved.

Concurrently, Jammu and Kashmir is in the middle of mutiple seasons.

One, political, in which the forthcoming Panchayat polls, ways to launch a peaceful agitation in pursuance of the Gupkar Declaration of August 22, 2020, and the emerging contest between the parties and their narratives are playing out -half-hidden, half-in-view.

Second season concerns our health crisis, perhaps this is the scariest season in which the threat of stepping out and getting infected is consuming lives. Its end is not in sight. Straight and simple.

Even though the number of infections continues to fluctuate, but that should not be seen as a guarantee that the disease is over, or on decline. These miscalculation by some of the European countries have brought them face to face with a second wave.

Fast changing patterns of climate has brought upon us a long spell of climate change. This season is going on and there are no signs of its coming to an end unless the world as a whole joins in checking greenhouse gas emissions, and ugly play with the environment. The forests and the bio-diversity protected us over the centuries and now we are hell bent upon destroying our protective layers. We are removing masks in the covid-hit world.

It is mid-October. Temperatures are not showing as much dip corresponding to yesteryear. Our concerns on climate change are not even bookish, because we don’t want to fill our mind with anything that puts blame on us, in part or as a whole.

We have an inbuilt capacity to resist looking inwards. Maybe it is because of the situation through which our generations have passed since mid-20th century. The blame game has been fostered as a staple diet of our daily life in the illusion that the problems don’t exist or someone else is responsible for all the bad things happening to our part of the world.

We have developed immune system to flaws that have shaped our character. This is in line with our thinking and articulation – we did nothing wrong, others have wronged us. It stretches from our economy, politics, to healthcare to environment. We are the best apologists in that sense.

How many blunders should be counted to make ourselves realise that we have ignored the effects of the climate change. We have contributed to this disaster-making adventure a lot, because by nature, we are adventurists and believe that either our actions will have desired results or nothing will change. Politically, we think we are capable of making changes, in other spheres we look other way round. The fact is we are caught in our frozen thoughts in all spheres.

Inaction in saving our environment will make not only us to pay a very heavy price, if we have not realized that the nature has already punished quite enough.

The 2014 floods have gone, but its effects have not evaporated. There has not been any in-depth study why that disaster visited Kashmir, and how. Since that kind of study would have pointed accusing fingers at us, we allowed the matters to die. It is pointless to recall that the catchment areas were choked with construction, river beds were encroached and our insatiable greed led us to uproot trees and invite the disaster that relived a living hell in September 2014.

But there are many more disasters that we created for ourselves. The springs that we thought would last forever deserted us as dry ponds. We cursed the nature.

There was another story, however. The tree line in and around the waterbodies was removed and the land was used for construction. Sources of natural springs dried, and we cursed the nature. Springs have gone is a bitter reality. The tragedy is that the death of springs has been taken as fait accompli, without recognizing the fact that this has deprived several households of clean drinking water. The greed-driven in-built nature of ours that everything is up for grabs has spelled doom. That should explain even to the simpletons that why people are still agitating for drinking water in streets and their petitions to officers during the just-concluded B2V3, too, sought the water supply to the households. The point here is that the political narratives never allowed us to focus on the environmental issues.

Some of the bureaucrats who visited villages tweeted about their interaction with the people and also uploaded pictures of the works they had done or they had plans to do in different villages as per their needs. This is a praiseworthy effort.

Young and dynamic IAS officer Syed Abid Rasheed Shah tweeted pictures of the beauty of mountains, forests and glacial lakes in the Pir Panjal region during his visit to Banihal, the area that lies adjacent to the Kashmir Valley. This showed the consciousness, rather an act of invoking consciousness of the conscience of the people that the beauty needs to be preserved . The beauty and climate are inter-related.

Today, the IAS officer could take pictures and upload the nature’s bountiful beauty, but if the current trend of ignoring and, worse still, plundering the nature continued, the next generation of officers would have nothing to tweet. Look, where are we headed ?