October , 2019
Let the children breathe fresh air
13:45 pm

Buroshiva Dasgupta

An autistic child, Greta Thunberg, has shaken the world from its slumber. Even the trolling by the President of the most powerful nation could not deflect her from her conviction. Standing on the podium at the World Climate change convention in New York, she pointed out to the leaders of the world of their miserable failure; “You have destroyed our childhood!”

The world witnessed an unusual event in recent times. Children of the world stood united to support Thunberg’s cause. Throughout the world they refused to go to school and protested with placards against the growing pollution levels and the failure of the world leaders to arrest climate change. India has seen many protest meetings, strikes and hartals but a protest of this scale is unheard of. From India, a major climate change activist is 11-year-old Ridhima Pandey from Nainital. While the world’s children protested against pollution, the Environment Minister of India was embroiled in a unseemly fight with students in a Kolkata university.

Children, by their unprecedented protests in the major capitals of the world have given a new dimension to the global environmental movement. It was in poor taste for the President of the US to mock Thunberg through Twitter stating that she was looking healthy and cheerful.

It is well known that President Donald Trump does not believe in climate change and dismisses all concerns regarding the dangers of the phenomenon. But the change is real and we have reasons to be worried particularly for our future generations.

A report states that by 2100 at least two cities in India, Mumbai and Kolkata will be threatened by the sea level rise. Alaska’s sea ice has for the first time in recorded history melted completely. Iceland held its funeral for its first glacier

Okjokull lost to the climate crisis, A plaque reads: A letter to the future. Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. Similarly, melting of ice in Greenland has been unprecedented. We can imagine the impact down below. Blizzards and snow storms are already battering the northern states of the US every year. Sea water is swelling threatening all the sea facing land mass. This August, in Greenland the ice sheet lost a mind-bending 12.5 billion tons of water in a day. It is worth remembering that the Greenland ice sheet contains enough water to increase global sea levels by 20 feet.

July was the hottest month ever recorded on earth since record keeping began in 1880. A recent UN report estimates 2 billion people already facing moderate to severe food insecurity due largely to the warming planet.

The food crisis, the melting of glaciers, the rising sea levels, the warming planet and the increasing carbon dioxide emissions are all interlinked in a cause and effect chain. And yet we have enough strong heads not to believe in the climate change.

It’s the children who will suffer most. India’s Swachh Bharat has won a prize from Bill Gates. Fair enough. But it’s just the first step. We have a long way to go. Who will cut down on the “chullahs” which is still one of the greatest pollutants of Indian atmosphere? It’s time we thought about our environment seriously and comprehensively.


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