Why Climate Crisis Strike during COVID-19 Lockdown?
By: Muthu and Sriram
Greta Thunberg, renowned climate activist once proclaimed ”Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fuelling the flames by the hour”
Why talk about the climate crisis during the COVID-19 lockdown?
Let us put up a rational perspective to the argument, metaphorically we may say, we are all grounded by Mother Nature for being beyond inconsiderate to our own planet and our future generation.
Firstly, the changing climate is an emergency but unlike the COVID-19 pandemic, which we can’t predict, the climate crisis is obvious and omnipresent.
This January was recorded as the hottest January of all time, exceeding the 20th-century average by 1.14 degrees Celsius. Many species have attained extinction due to the aggressive Australian and Amazonian wildfires which didn’t only dump tonnes of carbon and exceeded the annual carbon budgets of the respective countries but also drove the initiation of severe droughts.
Antarctica recorded its highest temperature, a whopping 18.3 degree Celsius this February. The list goes on. How is this not visible to us?
COVID-19 lockdown not a reason to ignore climate crisis
COVID-19 lockdown cannot be a reason for us to forget or ignore the ongoing climate crisis, we should keep our voices consistently and implacably high, so as to not let our sea-level rise.
So, we must and can start acting now to nullify the harrowing climatic catastrophe’s effects from unfolding, which can set up uncontrollable chain reactions making the Earth uninhabitable for all beings.
Secondly, this is the hour to speak about how we have affected nature, evidenced by the reclaiming of urban spaces by animals as the lockdown ensues.
Dolphins have begun to revisit Italy’s coast, swans are flocking at Venice and in India itself, the presumed extinct Malabar Civet cat was found parading a road in Kerala and Sambhar, Barasingha and Nilgai deer have also been seen in towns across India, never heard before birdsong plays in the concrete clusters of our so-called Smart cities.
The rivers are crystal clear, air quality index is mending itself in all cities of India (50-100), approximately telling the carbon emission is also brought down. All these owe to the minimal human activities during the lockdown, we are finally experiencing the beginnings of living in sync with nature, with fresh air and clean water around us.
But why does it take a minuscule virus to teach us all this? Why don’t we realize it ourselves?
Human beings are always anthropocentric, believing the world rotates around them. This lockdown has left us scrambling for toilet paper while nature has set about reinstating itself to its former glory, reminding us that it may not need us, but we need it for everything!
Living a sustainable life means being considerate to other living beings, the future generation and beings yet to be born. Standing up to abort the climate crisis permanently is of paramount importance, the future generation must not pay for the mistakes of people in power now.
We are the crew members of an environmental club, the Planet Personnel, studying medicine in Government Stanley Medical College, Chennai. We rise now to strike against the changing climate and urge everyone to follow.
We are joining Greta Thunberg’s persistent strike against the climate crisis by throwing an online campaign with the hashtag #ClimateStrikeOnline to make people listen even during this pandemic. We’re happy that even our nephews and nieces aged below ten, are joining us in the strike.
So what part do we play in the strike? We try and convince others to see the dire reality and begin acting promptly.
How exactly do we act? A recent US-based study conducted to assess the awareness among people about the climate crisis concluded that despite a near-universal awareness about the need for climate change mitigation, there is much heterogeneity about who is to be responsible for this .
To them, we quote Albert Einstein “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
Looking at it at the National level, we must take heed from international agreements and surveys, say for example according to the Paris agreement, India needs to cut down its deforestation and needs to focus more on afforestation and increasing its soil carbon sequestration. (which can act as additional carbon sinks). We can help here by planting trees.
We should closely follow Sustainable Development Goals 6,7, 12,13, 14 & 15 and act accordingly as Global citizens. We must continuously resent the government and the political parties when they dilute environmental laws.
We must create awareness and influence the people around us to do sustainable things. We should stand against MNCs which ignore the environment. We urge one and all to think globally and to act locally. No more of nature shall we sully,so that all beings may drink and breathe freely.
(The views expressed in the article are the author’s own. Let Me Breathe neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)
Muthu and Sriram
Medical Students, Chennai who are passionately involved in eco-friendly activities campaigns and plogging; with an emphasis on ecology and advocating sustainability, as a way of living.Know More