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Climate Change Solutions: Beyond Science And Above Confines

By Abdul Basit

08 September, 2007

Despite the vast research and debates about solutions to global warming and climate change, most of these solutions are confined to science and scientific research. The recent developments in the field of bio-fuels, solar energy, wind energy, Geo Engineering and other fields have indeed provided solutions in reducing the carbon emission. But we have to go beyond the greenhouse carbon emissions and address the environmental issues in totality. Over the past few years, we have come across many new vocabularies due to climate change like Ozone hole depletion, Global warming, CO2 Emission, acid rain, tsunamis, bush fires, soil erosion and others, most of which have been unheard of to the generations prior to that of ours.

Science only deals with the immediate issues and does not see the whole picture. Here we have to take into account the possible natural and man made tipping points and the chain reactions that will follow. So only addressing greenhouse gas emissions without taking into account total environmental crises will complicate problems further and will only add new terms to ever increasing vocabulary of environmental problems.

So the important question is whether the search for solution should be confined only to science or is the concern beyond Science.

Beyond Science

The recent researches have undoubtedly confirmed that human factor is the major reason for the climate change including natural calamities, melting glaciers, rising seas, droughts, floods, extinction of many animal and plant species, depleting water resources and reduced output of agricultural products. Since this crisis involves the question of the very existence of mankind and the habitability of the earth, the solution should not confine to science and it is much beyond. Hence along with scientific research, we require political, religious, ideological, cultural, philosophical, economic, social and intellectual coordination.

Secondly, since human factor is the main reason for climate change, the transformation in the method of lifestyle and concepts of economic development required is much beyond the scope of science. Most solutions provided by scientific research are very limited in scope such as to fill up our automobile tanks with bio fuels instead of fossil fuels. Such solutions will only aggravate the crises and create new problems. What we need is a total transformation from what we have hitherto followed. This transformation requires the change of the basic concept of materialistic way of life and pursuit of wealth. This can only be achieved by cultivating moral and spiritual values among the society and by replacing materialistic pursuits with holistic and simple way of life. For this transformation, we have to utilize all the resources at mankind’s disposal in order to overcome this existential crisis.


Below are some of the issues we have to address on the path to total transformation:

a) How can we instigate a transformation in lifestyle when the identity of every individual is evaluated by his bank balance and his money earning capacity?

b) How can we take hard decisions when instead of love and mutual respect, family and social relationships are maintained by luxurious objects like concrete bungalows, limousines and electronic gadgets that are the very polluters of the environment?

c) How can we convince the common people about change, when their livelihood is reliant on the very companies and corporates that are polluting the environment?

d) How can we persuade the leaders and governments to implement policies, when the support of these leaders and governments rest on the funds and assistance of these big business houses?

e) How can the religious and ideological leadership instigate change and transformation in the society when they are part and parcel of the very ruling establishment who are responsible for the corruption and excesses?

f) How can we persuade nations when their only motive is to attract foreign investment in massive industrial and commercial projects?

Economic Issues

As a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and end of the cold war and the creation of uni-polar world with unchallenged dominance of USA over the world affairs, made the capitalistic model of economic development unquestioned and universally accepted. As a result, many countries like Communist China under Deng Xiaopeng and non-aligned countries like India under Rajiv Gandhi and Manmohan Singh jumped into the capitalist bandwagon and whole-heartedly embraced their model of economic development. Due to this, they started competing with USA in polluting the environment. This universally accepted model of economic development is the greatest hindrance in the fight against climate change and this has to be addressed at the political and ideological level.

Secondly, as we all know, the earth provides nearly all of our basic needs like food, clean air and drinking water that are essential to sustain life on earth. At the same time most of products provided by the Industries are either luxurious or cosmetic. After the Industrial revolution and development in manufacturing and Industrial sector, we were introduced to new products and requirements that ultimately became a necessity. As consumerism and market competition amplified, the over exploitation of natural resources to manufacture these products also increased. These industrial items that made our life easy and comfortable but are not a necessity are the main polluters of the environment. So in effect we have been producing and consuming these unwanted cosmetic and consumer items at the detriment of basic needs that are essential to sustain life on earth. We can sustain life without these industrial products. But can we risk our very existence by risking the basic requirements for these unnecessary industrial commodities especially when mankind lived thousands of years before Industrial Revolution without these fancy products? This is one of the major aspects of economy that has to be addressed through policy decisions and intellectual awareness.


The spiritual and creative hollowness that man is facing due to materialistic pursuit has created a great imbalance in his life. This in turn has affected the family and social relationships between the members of the society and further the society’s relationship with nature. So the major role of religious, ideological and spiritual organizations is to guide mankind to both a spiritually and materially fulfilled life.

But Which Religion and which Ideology?

I don’t think earth has the capacity to face another conflict to answer this question by any further clash of civilizations or religions.

Since we are facing an existential crisis of humanity as a whole, this crisis provides a rare opportunity for people from all faiths, ideologies, races and nations to unite to counter the threat of global warming and climate change. A marginal group cannot solve this crisis of global proportion. All the religious, ideological and national leaders should come together and unite to address this international emergency and make the necessary transformation to guide humanity out of this crisis. Moreover, these leaders should guide their followers within their respective confines to a sustainable and eco-friendly way of life.

Secondly, throughout the twentieth century and the present century saw leaders who have left a trail of destruction to humanity and environment with their arrogant and authoritarian policies and wars. The recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been part of this ongoing trail of destruction. And to further complicate matters, the perceived attack on the nuclear facilities in Iran by self-proclaimed apostle of Democracy will be one of the greatest human tipping points. After this, there will not be much tipping points for the extinction of life on earth. Don’t think that mankind would like to get eradicated unceremoniously by the foolish action of this ‘democratic’ dictator who is trying to promote his self-styled and ill-conceived democracy at the peril of very existence of mankind. By the time he implements his agenda there will be no being on earth. So we have to prevent this attack at all cost for the future and well being of mankind and world peace.

The world must ensure that humanity is lead by visionaries with strong moral and humane qualities who are concerned for the well being of mankind as a whole and its welfare. The recent awards conferred to Al-Gore by a remote tribe in Eastern India provide a glimmer of hope that there are some people at the top with awareness about the crisis humanity is facing. This award conferred by these distinctive and original people to him for his work in spreading awareness about global warming and climate change and the documentary ‘The Inconvenient Truth’, are more valuable than the extravagant awards that are held in glittering ceremonies at world capitals.

To conclude, the present crisis we are facing due to climate change is one of the rare moments in the history of mankind (after Noah’s Ark) in which the survival of whole humanity is at stake. Many civilizations and cultures were destroyed earlier, but never on a global scale. In this hour of crisis, let us unite as one human community and face the challenges together. Let the leaders of all the communities, scientists, artists, academics, intellectuals, philosophers, poets, musicians, sportsmen along with world populace come together and save the humanity. Let us thank the Almighty creator for bestowing this beautiful earth for mankind. Let us convey our gratitude to this glorious planet for allowing the human race to develop, prosper and spread on its magnificent and diverse landscape. These beautiful landscapes and favorable climates allowed many diverse civilizations and cultures flourish for thousand of years. In the end, let us all celebrate the unity of mankind before life gets extinguished.

This is the last in a series of articles. My earlier articles are:
‘Manifesto to counter global warming and climate change’
‘Obstacles to counter global warming and climate change’

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