The season of more tricks is here once again – Daily Pioneer

For one observing what is going on, it may be odd or even irksome to see so many tricks and games being played for decades now. At times, these tricks and games are played to achieve a target in the interests of the society and nation and many times, the intention is something else. Now that the 2022 Assembly elections are not that far in Uttarakhand and about half a dozen other states, the frequency and intensity of the games and tricks are expected to rise. The ruling party and all other parties have started picking up the pace of their efforts aimed also at achieving their intended results in the elections. As seen in the past, the public will get easily swayed one way or the other by these actions of the politicians. A range of issues- many of which have been talked about for years- will crop up once again. Development works, schemes and other initiatives will become more common even as one reckons that the big players will make at least a few major moves that will influence the voters further in the near future.
However, amidst all this, no major political party seems to be really working to address that major aspect upon which all other things depend- the environment.
Recently, a group of prominent scientists stressed that globally the economy-centric approach towards climate change has seen the earth’s vital signs deteriorate to record levels. Part of a group of more than 14,000 scientists who have signed on to take an initiative declaring a worldwide climate emergency, the researchers averred that across the world, the governments failed to tackle the root cause of climate change- overexploitation of the earth. Out of the 31 vital signs or the key metrics of planetary health including glacier thickness, greenhouse gas emissions, sea-ice extent and deforestation—they found that 18 had hit record highs or lows.
For instance, despite the drop in pollution linked to the Covid pandemic, levels of atmospheric CO2 and methane hit all-time highs in 2021. Further, both Greenland and Antarctica recently showed all-time low levels of ice mass while the glaciers are melting 31 per cent faster than they did 15 years ago, the researchers stated. There are various other alarming aspects of this study which one could cite here but it is enough to state that the situation is actually very alarming. Mind you, there will be some who can come up with statistics and theories to state that the situation is not that alarming. At the same time, the politicians are and will continue to come up with schemes to actually increase the activities which are damaging the environment while also doing a bit aimed at protecting the environment. The landslides seen in many Himalayan states including Uttarakhand are but only one sign of the devastating effects of unscientific and indiscriminate activities being encouraged. Many thousands of crores  of rupees are being spent on actually damaging the very asset upon which all the present and planned activities depend. In Uttarakhand for example, in about two decades one has not heard any politician saying anything apart from the customary dialogues about the importance of the environment, the need to protect it and achieve balance between development and environmental conservation. One has yet to see any of the political parties which have governed Uttarakhand, doing much concrete and effective on a large scale to actually do what they talk about-especially when it comes to the environment. But as with most other things, it will be illogical and unfair to blame the politicians alone. The voters have not really questioned the politicians about their environmental concerns and plans before the elections- the main focus is income generation, freebies, development or convenience and other things- all of which cannot be sustained without the environment being in good health. The repercussions of environmental degradation and climate change will hit Uttarakhand and its people a lot harder than say Delhi- which will also suffer. Will we realise this and act in time?

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