Saturday, September 18, 2010

Armageddon is just around the corner!

It's past the mid of September.
Ganesh Chaturthi festivities will be over by the mid of the next week.
It is believed that that Ganesh Chaturthi marks the end of the Monsoon season. But this year seems a bit odd. The dark clouds and rains keep coming back every day. Though the 22% excess rain has contributed to lakes supplying water to metropolis getting full to the brim, putting an end to our water woes, does this point towards a change in climate patterns?
At Yamuna Nagar, my home in the north, two barrages on the Yamuna River - Hathnikund and Tajewala were on the verge of a collapse, which could have disastrous consequences both for my hometown and Delhi downstream.
The recent cloudburst in Ladakh was disastrous.
Though I cannot have any sympathies for the Pakistanis and Chinese, they too faced the fury of floods recently, triggering a mass human migration, the biggest the Indian subcontinent has seen since 1947.
Here in Bombay, the cloudburst of July 2005 still lingers on as a painful memory in our minds.
Beyond the Indian subcontinent, Russia, this year has seen an unusually warm summer, which sparked off a series of forest fires, threatening the country's wheat harvest.

Europe had an unusually cold winter in the beginning of this year.

The Americas were also not untouched. The after-effects of 2005's Hurricane Katrina are still being felt and New Orleans is still limping back to normal.

The Chinese are scourging Africa in the quest for minerals, like the way the humans took to the Na'vi's planet, Pandora, in the 2009 blockbuster, Avatar. Undoubtedly, Africa will bear the brunt in years to come. By then, the Chinese would have walked away, the next stope being Latin America, perhaps.

Just yesterday, I was speaking to a friend from Delhi who had just returned from a trip to Canada and Alaska. He spoke in wonder about the beauty of the Alaskan glaciers. I thought to myself - for how long would these glaciers survive?

The sea levels are rising. That could trigger a mass human migration. The Pacific wonderland of Tonga, Fiji, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Palau, Micronesia and Tahiti will all go. So will the Maldives.

Low-lying like nations like Netherlands and Bangladesh are also at risk. Undoubtedly, the Bangladeshis will take refuge in India, which will have a major security implication for us. Besides, demographic changes arising from such a migration could lead to a lot of social issues.

News has been coming in that some American oil and mining companies are camping in Greenland, lobbying to prospect beneath the ice-shelf. Would that be like opening a Pandora's Box?

Surely, signs of climate change are all over, around us. We are surely, our actions are certainly accelerating the process.

The human race claims to have made a lot of progress, but we are going against the grain of nature, which can have unintended and cataclysmic consequences.

If we don't pay heed now, Armageddon is just around the corner!

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