17th Confederation of parties (COP) where over 190 countries assembled in Africa to reach decisions on the growing climate problem world over. This was one of the most important meetings since Kyoto will be expiring in 2012 and countries debated on whether a renewal treaty should be put in place or not. India's role took a tongue lashing from environmentalists and adamantly refused to co-operate on lowering carbon emissions. The country's per capita global emission is far less than the total carbon footprint, agreed, but what Jayanthi Natarajan our honourable environmental minister misses out is that we are a growing population of 1.2 billion. People's carbon footprint increases as more than 50,000 vehicles are added on the road every year, employment has shot up in cities increasing numbers, mining in South India is taking an ecological toll, Wiping out forests and disregard to wildlife in the name of development increases, hence there are many many reasons to growing India's carbon footprint.
Highlighting this issue, the root of most of India's problems stems from: Extreme poverty. Lack of education, health, security, benefits, unemployment and zero access - a trend of problems arise. One is of course high growth of population in India. Contraception and family planning is virtually unknown in most parts of the country with no education in this matter. The other issue is the demand for the male children, which results in having more children the better likelihood of producing a male, many parts of India don't want girl children. The problem largely falls on lack of education and knowledge, inadequate health access which leads to bigger families. With development centered on urban centric locations we miss addressing the root of the problem which lies in most underdeveloped and neglected areas of India.
Our agriculture, food and water security is in deep trouble today. The population still largely sits in villages and small towns and little or nothing is done on upliftment of those livelihoods which are directly responsible for the food on our table. Bureaucracy, corruption and exploitation leaves a trail of tragic endings to agriculture farmers who are completely helpless in the face of an insensitive system. The climate crisis is affecting their livelihoods at a greater level prompting many farmers to turn to alternate sources if possible.
But where there are problems, who says solutions are not possible? It's not that we can't, we don't. India has made tremendous progress in the last 10 years, catapulting the country in the paths technology, science, energy and gaining respect world over. A 360 degree view needs to implemented right away in this way. Green employment today is becoming a growing sector, the terms solar, wind are a trend witnessed everywhere. Providing alternate energy is not only 'green' environmentally healthy but generates employment opportunities in rural and urban sectors. Sustainable livelihoods with indigenous tribes/ forest people of India is important ground level opportunity. The country still has one of the largest natural capital, the need to protect these areas is vital for economic growth. Education is 'the' most important, it provides the backbone to any growing economy. Health, food and water security are of course natural demands.
As business takes importance and ecological takes a backseat many forget that its because of ecology we thrive today. If we take her for granted business and economy will fall, it is inevitable.
By Kavya Chandra