Why Effective, Comprehensive Response to the World’s Most Serious Problem is Still Missing

World Environment Day 2021 is marked on June 5. The day is celebrated across the globe to sensitise people about the importance of protecting the environment.

Landscape of Himalaya. Photo - The New Leam

It is by now very clear, for anyone willing to see the accumulating evidence, that a very serious survival crisis has emerged in the sense of the basic life-nurturing conditions of earth being seriously threatened. A baffling and worrying question which follows is—why this is not receiving the attention it deserves? There is evidence that when the main causes responsible for this (climate change and a dozen other serious environmental problems, weapons of mass destruction, some very serious hazards) have been discussed with unbiased younger generation, the levels of acceptance that there is indeed a serious existential crisis are on the higher side. Despite this, an effective  and credible worldwide response that should have emerged by now   has not really been seen yet.

Some people when confronted when such issues relate this to the legends and myths of their religions and sects relating to impending doomsdays. Obviously such a response causes more harm than good. A different kind of response is that as the world appears to be heading for doom so let us enjoy today as much as we can! What can we say to that?

Obviously the rational stand is to say that we should all be deeply concerned with protecting earth’s life-nurturing conditions and will do all that is possible for us to take forward this cause. This is the first essential step . Once such basic understanding spreads then it is possible to mobilize a large number of people on this most important issue.

The next important step is to have a proper understanding of this issue. Unfortunately this understanding is hindered by several powerful interests who are peddling narrow and distorted perceptions of this issue. While it is important to make very basic changes in the world as it is presently organized  with all its inequalities, injustices, dominations, distortions, wastages, irrationalities and narrow selfish thinking, the perception that is sought to be spread is that of business as usual to a large extent with space only for some  fragmented and technological change, that too often of a kind that helps the dominant forces to continue or strengthen their grip. This is promoted by careerist and selfish officials of national and international organizations and political leaders who may be hand in glove with big business interests. Big billionaires have emerged as big players in this area as well, voicing highly distorted solutions and perspectives to push  their interests or eccentricities, or both. 

As against this there is a need to promote a clear vision of world which is based on justice, equality, democracy, peace, protection of environment and all forms of life in all respects and at all levels as it is only within such a broad vision that the most appropriate and credible solutions for protecting the life-nurturing conditions on earth can be found.

Hence the commitment for protecting life-nurturing conditions of earth inevitably lead us to a broader commitment for peace, justice, equality and environment protection. But as powerful interests who are dominant do not want to make such significant changes, hence the much-needed credible, trustworthy, effective effort for protecting the life-nurturing conditions of earth is also unable to emerge.

This understanding of the failure so far therefore leads us to the clear conclusion that future mobilization on this issue should be within a much broader paradigm of creating a world based on justice, equality, peace , protection of environment and all forms of life. Moving much beyond a fragmented approach, there should be  growing unity around this broader task as it is in such a world that it will be possible to take up the task of strengthening the life-nurturing conditions with continuity and in a broad based way.

As a step in this direction it will be useful to declare the next decade as the year of protecting the life –nurturing conditions of our planet. In brief this may be called the SED ( Save the Earth Decade) demand. This writer in a small way has initiated a Campaign for Saving Earth Now with its SED Demand. I have also written seven books and numerous articles, stories and novellas  to provide the base for this campaign. This campaign argues for giving top priority for resolving the survival crisis within a framework of justice, peace and democracy.

 Since my contacts are mainly within India, I obtained the endorsement of many highly respected persons in India and then sent this demand to the Secretary General of the United Nations. Very big issues are involved here in resolving the survival crisis in time but if a beginning is made just by declaring the next decade as the decade for saving earth, this by itself will provide  numerous new openings. In the course of observing this decade in schools and colleges, for example, it will be possible to sensitize so many children and youth on these issue which are likely to be the most critical issues of the times in which they will grow into adulthood yet are not receiving adequate attention.    

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Planet in Peril,  Protecting Earth for Children, Man Over Machine and Earth Without Borders. Web-site bharadogra.in