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Seeds of positive change


“We want the world to act with urgency. We want a comprehensive, equitable and durable agreement in Paris, which must lead us to restore the balance between humanity and nature and between what we have inherited and what we will leave behind” – urged Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India to the leaders of more than 190 countries- the largest gathering of world leaders- in his address during the World Climate Change Conference 2015. The summit, popularly known as the COP (Conference of the Parties) 21Climate Change Summit in Paris is the result of the realization that climate change is a very real and serious threat to the very existence of the world, and leaders of the world must come together and share responsibility in a united effort to reverse the impending catastrophe. The problems of environmental degradation have been on the rise, and the increasing threat to the very survival and continuity of the world has been staring us in the face for long. The manifestations can no longer be ignored- upto 17 degrees rise in temperatures in frozen Antarctica, floods in the arid Atacama desert of Chile, four concurrent cyclones in the eastern hemisphere, and closer home, the worst flood in more than a century in Chennai. The year 2015 saw the hottest year in the history of the planet, but will almost certainly be beaten by 2016. There had been reports of experts predicting droughts in the North-Eastern region of the country in the year 2016, and further deterioration in the amount of rainfall and availability of water with a concurrent rise in temperature. The warnings are dire and consequences unthinkable.
According to experts, a 2-degree Celsius increase in global temperature from the current level will be catastrophic, but at the current rate of emission, the world will be warmer by 3.6 degree Celsius by the middle of the century thereby making Global warming irreversible.

The vital question that begs an answer, then, is: what-if there ever is one- can we, as individuals do to mitigate and reverse climate change? The answer, unfortunately, is not so simple or straightforward. More importantly, we need to delve deep into the details and understand the genesis, the present scenario and the consequences of the rapidly changing climate and the increasing imbalance of nature and ecology. However, simple everyday acts do go a long way in reducing emissions which are the biggest cause of climate change and Global Warming. Some of them are: switching off unnecessary electrical and electronic appliances, reducing use of cooking gas, coal, fossil fuels etc, switching to LED bulbs, adopting solar energy harnessing equipments, planting trees and greeneries, reducing trash, using hybrid vehicles if affordable, buying energy-efficient gadgets and appliances, using public transport or bicycles whenever possible etc. We can sow the seeds of positive change if we consciously make small yet consistent efforts on our parts without waiting for the government or the authorities to act. In closing, the following line might just spur us to sit up and start acting today: “We don’t have a Plan B to save the earth”- Prince Charles.

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