The weather conditions in India during the last few weeks strongly indicate the disasters that await our world due to global warming. The months of May and June saw North India wrapped in an unprecedented heat wave. Temperatures in Delhi soared to levels that I had never experienced during the 10 years I spent in Delhi during the 1990s. Even from the cool confines of Bangalore, it wasn’t difficult for me to imagine the plight of Delhiites and other citizens of Northern India living through the heat wave.
The monsoon showers were a welcome relief, but only for a brief period. Within days several parts of the country, including cities like Mumbai and Kolkata, were submerged in water.
As the flood waters start receding, India is bracing for the arrival of certain unwanted guests from Africa. Heavy rainfall in the region has created unusually favorable breeding conditions for desert locusts, who are likely to travel all the way from Ethiopia and Somalia at the speed of 150 kilometers a day. A small part of an average swarm of these locusts and grasshoppers are capable of eating as much food a day as 2500 people, and can destroy vast amounts of farm land.
The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already warned of a severe water crisis in India in the near future and has called for collective action from the government and citizens to conserve water resources.
With no affirmative action coming from the powers that be, the average Indian is hoping for some divine intervention to save the world. But, help from those quarters seem unlikely at this moment, with even some holy places losing out to the man-made climate catastrophe. The naturally formed ice Shiva Lingam in the holy shrine of Amarnath, where it has existed for thousands of years, has completely melted this year.
I have personally witnessed the recession of the holy place of Gomukhi, where the great river Ganges originates, by approximately 150 meters in a span of ten years.
The implications are not hard to imagine. The glaciers in the Himalayas feed Indian rivers. Once they melt, the great Indian plains will experience floods like never seen before. And with global warming, the glaciers will not form again, drying up these rivers forever.
However, leaders of G-8 countries have decided to cut emissions by half by the year 2050. Is it not too little, too late? Do they not realize that we do not inherit this world from our ancestors but, actually, we borrow it from our children?
Anupam Mukerji • Bangalore, India • www.mmi-india.com