“Vishnu Dayal Galeria doesn’t know a solar lamp used for an hour means one kilo less carbon dioxide in the air. But a fortnight ago, when his family bought a couple of solar lanterns, they unknowingly contributed to the global green effort, thus suddenly finding a clean, affordable escape from generations of darkness. Thus, more than 15 million (1.5 crore) families are helping India combat climate change.”
Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, June 5th 2009
Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that alternative sources of energy have already made more inroads into India than I had known. Baby steps have been taken and millions across the country are benefitting from these wise decisions. While authorities who hold the reign of our futures in their clammy hands ruminate & debate over what can be done to combat climate change, people in most rural areas are already showing the way. According to various articles, something like a small environmental revolution seems to be underway. That’s definitely something to crow about! Some of the instances mentioned are truly signs of good things to come. Tamil Nadu will soon have a railway coach factory that will run on wind power. Farmers in Kerala are using manure-based gas for cooking, instead of forest wood. Villagers in Orissa are planting trees on barren land. Himachal Pradesh has provided low energy consuming CFLs for free. As I write this, the monsoons have finally arrived in Mumbai and unimaginable respite has swept across the city. The air-conditioners have been unplugged & the humble fan is back in action. Children & adults alike are literally soaking in the weather with unabashed abandon. Still, the rains have been anticipated with a sliver of fear every year since the deluge of 2005, which was one of many disasters across the globe – a small but significant aftereffect of global warming. And the painful memory of that makes these baby steps to combat climate change all the more significant and meaningful
All said & done, these are still remote instances. Can this become a reality ALL over the country? One of my respected professors had once quoted, “Where there is a will, there is a RUNWAY!” Verily, if we will to soar with purpose & enthusiasm, then the mountain shall definitely come to Mohammed. Renewable energy is the new mantra, the manna to help tackle most ills plaguing our climate. Renewable sources of energy like solar energy, wind, biomass et al need to replace the more polluting & redundant coal generated energy and nuclear energy we are so dependent on. India is among the world’s five biggest storehouses of coal and depends heavily on thermal power — a major source of carbon emissions — to generate 70 per cent of its energy. Imagine the sheer curtailment in the amount of greenhouse gases by using renewable energy! But for it to be a successful investment for the future and become the spine of energy generation, it needs to become the main source of energy rather than languish as an alternative. To an extent, this requires renewable energy to be decentralised and be offered at an affordable price. That is something our sarkaar needs to look at. On a mass scale, awareness about the benefits of renewable energy needs to be all-pervasive, consequently catching eyeballs & imaginations of concerned citizens and the government. On this front, the print media and Greenpeace India is doing it’s bit to garner popular opinion & petitions towards the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh to pass a Renewable Energy Law as swiftly as possible to make this fledgling energy revolution an integral part of our future. The Green Idol campaign has already made its’ rounds in Mumbai & Bangalore and is headed countrywide for increased support for the Renewable Energy Law (www.greenidol.in)
Like you, even I am sceptical how gathering petitions alone will solve the crisis that we’re facing today. But if putting in my vote might get our voice & opinion across to those who make the decisions, then I’m all for it. And I’d rather know I’ve tried than sit at home & complain about mundane things. There’s so much YOU can do. Climate change is killing our planet, and consequently killing us. And before you look away, remember that the “US” includes “YOU” as well. Help save the planet for YOURSELF!
Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon had quoted a historical statement and it rings true today for every step we will take towards actualizing a cleaner, greener India.
“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Go on, take that small step, make that giant leap …