Climate Urgency : the Earth story...

Throughout history, human beings always thought that they were utterly dependent on nature and that nature will provide forever. People knew that in this world everything is interconnected and thus, every action has repercussions and responsibilities. Over the past century, that myth and sense of this protective well being has been shattered so we no longer see it with clarity. Today, we buy tropical food in winter without asking about the environmental effects of shipping it halfway around the planet; we buy clothes without asking where the materials were grown and under what conditions; we rush asthmatic children to hospitals in SUVs without linking our lifestyles with the respiratory crisis. We acknowledge climate change but turn a blind eye to the way it's altering our fragile ecosystems.  

Climate change is a subtle form of human rights violation. There is no direct and apparent persecution or threat, but combustion of fossil fuels in industrialised nations has jeopardised the ability of certain societies to maintain their traditional practices, diminishing their cultural identity and their connection with their natural environment. We may find the words of Kofi Annan (former U.N. general secretary) interesting and relevent here.  "By the end of this century, our planet may look very different from how it does today. Many small island nations might no longer exist, inundation of coastal areas could lead to the displacement of hundreds of millions of people, and former agricultural lands could become unable to support crops. While all countries are vulnerable to the consequences, developing countries are especially at risk. Their economies will suffer most from the heightened frequency of extreme droughts, floods and storms associated with climate change. There is a real risk that climate change could undermine human development. We must not let that happen".  - Kofi Annan (former U.N. general secretary).  

In  1998, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recognised that global warming could lead to a wave of environmental refugees: some suggest as many as 150 million by 2050. African Voodoo priests used to say that Nature has a brilliant sense of humour, however dark, dry and twisted it may be, and if you give her a space to negotiate, some wonderful hard-hitting jokes are supposed to come your way...well here they are :- We see that every one of the hottest 15 years has occurred since 1980,and we suddenly find that we don't actually have much time to even plan to spend our efforts and money that delivers the biggest and fastest CO2 reductions possible. Ironic? Worry not, there's more. The real impact of climate change still remains worryingly uncertain, with consequences for all communities, species, and environments across the world. However what remains constant is,  

1. changing weather bringing drought and flooding, affecting drinking water supplies and agriculture.

2. irreversible loss of many species of plants and animals.

3. rising sea levels and threatening freshwater supplies because of salt water intrusion.

4. melting glaciers, threatening millions of people who depend on glacier melt water for their needs and irrigation.     

The most severe impacts of flooding and threats to public health from global climate change will be felt in our cities, which could end up getting routinely flooded. Climate change has been exacerbated by the unsustainable lifestyle of the wealthy developing world, which therefore must take responsibility and leadership in   both mitigating carbon emissions and resourcing adaptation strategies. The ongoing negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is aiming to achieve a global response to climate change agreement post 2012, but it's still all talks and no works. So coming to the bottom of the story, we find that  Leadership on climate change requires an understanding of the situation, an acceptance of responsibility, a commitment to action and clear strategies and targets. For government, climate change leadership must involve taking the issue from the margins to the mainstream to help guide policy and action. For businesses, it must be more than simply ticking a box marked 'corporate social responsibility'. It should be harnessing of dynamism, innovation and determination and turning obstacles into opportunities. We find the moral imperative for action compelling, along with substantiated scientific facts and clear business ends. 'Cause the wooden Kashmir willow clock is ticking, effectuating the change in climate every minute...and our actions will determine whether we win or lose the way for a habitable planet.