Since 1780 (pre-industrialization), the average global temperature has increased by about 0.85 degrees.
The earth has warmed, the ice is melting, and the sea level has risen. Since 1901, the average sea level rise has been about 19 cm due to global warming. The Arctic’s sea ice level has been shrinking since 1979 in every successive decade, with 1.07 million km2 of ice loss every decade. Industry causes a quarter of total GHG emissions. The concentration of CO2 is nearly 412 ppm – about a 41% increase, half of which, since 1980 and 1 quarter since 2000. Concentrations of Methane have increased 2.5 times, almost since 1980. India may lose up to 1.7% of its GDP if the annual mean temperature rises by 1 degree compared to the pre-industrialization level. 54% of India faces high water stress. All these may result in changes in weather patterns, cyclonic disturbances, sea-level rise, changes in agriculture yields, changes in freshwater supplies, and impacts on forests, natural ecosystems, and human health.
Although natural calamities, such as earthquakes, cyclones, tsunamis, floods, and cloud bursts, excessive thermal variations have been seen since civilizations, the frequency, and the intensity, both on domestic and global fronts, have multiplied in the recent past.
Global warming, resource depletion, and increasing pollution (both for people and resources) generally emanate from increasing population, ambitious lifestyles, ever-increasing needs, greed, and careless attitude of the human race. Excessive use of energy and good water for mining, exploration, and production of natural resources has its own burden on already depleting resources. The absence of thoughtful, adequate, and organized efforts, systems, and effective motivators for eliminating wasteful practices, material conservation, waste recycling, energy efficiency, and water management systems have further aggravated the already distressed resources and climate.
A careful glance at recent calamities in India and around gives a very depressing and disturbing picture of impacts, disruptions, fatalities, and financial losses. A brief of a few major calamities over three decades is given hereunder to understand the extent and depth.
|Financial Loss (INR)
|14 Countries, including India, affected (9k Cr loss in India)
|1.67 lac injured; 3.4 lac structures destroyed.
|Hudhud (124) & Fanni (19) followed in 2014 and 2019 respectively. Amphan/Tauktae/Yaas also followed recently.
|4500 villages affected. Tapovan (35) followed in 2021.
|Floods in Kerala & Chennai followed
Besides the above-mentioned impacts on the environment and nature due to excessive industrialization, urbanization, and increased population, there are also other reasons leading to such calamities happening so often:
- Tsunami is caused due to the displacement of a large volume of water in an Ocean or a large lake due to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other underwater explosions (detonations, landslides, glacier calving, and Meteorite impacts).
An earthquake is the shaking on the surface of the earth from the collision between tectonic plates that results from the sudden release of energy in the earth’s lithosphere, creating seismic waves.
- The word tremor is also used to refer to non-earthquake seismic rumblings.
- A cyclone is a large-scale air mass that rotates around low atmospheric pressure, counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. The largest low-pressure systems are polar vortices and extratropical cyclones of the largest scale (Synoptic Scale).
- Human environmental changes often increase the intensity and frequency of floods, such as deforestation, removal of wetlands, changes in waterways control, climate changes, and sea level rise.
Having understood in brief the rationale behind these calamities and indirect factors on the environmental front, it is still not in the utter control of human beings to divert / bypass /avoid possibilities of such catastrophic events having vast adverse impacts on humanity and life. This is despite over 5000 years of civilization coupled with large-scale developments and industrialization in the recent past with added information technology, automation, and meteorological data. Humanity, at the most, is at the mercy of nature except for some limited contingencies and post-calamity damage control exercises. One can only keep tabs on developments based on forecasts and take all possible measures not to control the calamity but only to safeguard people and infrastructure interests.
From the foregoing, it is evident that how we deal with nature and the environment has a tremendous impact on how nature responds. Although direct linkages are not established for every event, it provides fairly good directional inputs on expectations from human beings. In the given situation and to endeavor our best to protect humanity and facilities,, we could take a few steps/initiatives in the medium to long term:
- Bring and spread higher awareness of Sustainable Development
- Align with SDGs / INDCs and Government Directives / Policy Framework effectively
- Draw only needful resources and review existing consumptions
- Material Conservation and Waste Management
- Efficient Water Management, including recycling and capturing rains
- Depend more on renewable sources of energy
- Energy Efficiency and continuous improvement in utilization and application
- Avoid building an emotional empire at the cost of nature just to impress others
Despite low predictability on environmental issues and related events, there are enough evidence, data, experience, and best practices one can leverage to put things on track and save the environment and humanity to a large extent.
The Environment, Energy, Food, Water, and Survival nexus is real and should not be ignored.
Sources: Author’s experience
Citation: This Insight may be cited as InfEneTy ‘Nature has its Say. Handle with Care!’ 08.06.2023
Tags: Nature, Environment, Global Warming, Calamities, Energy, Waste Management, TechnologyAbout InfEneTy
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