“I am Gorilla I am flowers, animals, I am nature. Man koko love. Earth koko love. But man stupid. Koko sorry … koko cry. Time hurry.. fix earth. Help earth.. hurry… protect earth..nature see you… thank you.”- a compelling videotaped message left by Koko, a captive and trained Gorilla who died last year at the age of forty seven with a communicative skill of more than two thousand spoken words in English and over a thousand signs.
Today, we no longer need an expert to explain the effects of climate change and the resulting global warming. Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.
Described as the most important report ever published in the 30-year history of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and an “ear-splitting wake-up call to the world”, the new report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C made headline news around the world with its stark message that limiting warming to 1.5 °C would require unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society. The report stresses the huge benefits to human welfare, ecosystems and sustainable economic development in keeping warming to 1.5 °C compared to 2 °C, or higher. While previous estimates focused on estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by 2°C, this report shows that many of the adverse impacts of climate change will come at the 1.5°C mark.
The report also highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2ºC. The report underlines that we are already seeing the consequences of 1 °C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes.
Despite the overwhelming evidences and negative experiences of the consistently rising temperature, we have yet to see a sustainable, committed and concerted effort on the part of the government both at the national and state level to implement policies to counter the situation affecting the world without exception. While the problem is a global in nature, the solution should start at the grass root level, literally and figuratively. And the solution should start with finding the root cause of the problem, which differs with different region and way of life. It is therefore imperative that a thorough study is carried out to understand the ways in which the people in the state is damaging the environment and contributing to global warming and draw up policies and programs with its effective implementation to curb and hopefully reverse the situation.
One of the best ways to ensure effective implementation of the policies is to mobilize the public into contributing towards understanding and preserving nature and the environment, and a few passionate groups of people are making efforts to spread awareness of the importance of preserving the environment and appreciating the beauty of nature like Green Manipur and Lamkoi, to name just a few. It is only when one develops a connection with the natural environment and begin appreciating the beauty nature has to offer that the urge to protect and preserve it will automatically emerge. And there is no dearth of natural beauty in our state. We only need to create better infrastructure and improve facilities for exploring and utilizing these gifts of nature without damaging or altering the surroundings. The most prominent example of such a gift of nature is the Langol hill range which is being visited by numerous nature and fitness lovers daily as it is perfectly situated with the potential to be converted into a natural short hiking trail for the people of the state and even visitors looking for a short hike without going out to the far hills. There are also numerous places which can rival the most famous natural tourist destinations and hiking trails of the world. We only need to feel the connection with nature to start appreciating and think up ways to preserve it. the state government need to take these passionate nature enthusiasts into confidence and work with them at the grass root level to initiate positive change. It would be unacceptable and perhaps too late if we wait for another Koko to tell us that we have failed and destroyed mother nature. We have to tune in and sync up with nature and not the other way around to ensure our continued survival.
Jeet Akoijam, Resident Editor of Imphal Times hails from Singjamei Liwa Road. Has been with Imphal Times since its start. A National level Rugby player and a regular Trekker and Nature Lover, loves spending time in lap of Mother Nature. Jeet is the father of two lovely kids. Jeet can be contacted at [email protected]