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Manifesto To Counter Global Warming And Climate Change

By Abdul Basit

15 August, 2007

The natural calamities due to global warming and climate change have ignited a total reassessment among the western thinkers about the western way of economic development and lifestyle. The recent articles by Mr. Eamon O’Hara and Mr. Matt Prescott in BBC green room provides hope and and at the same time shows the change of track in thinking about the concepts of development and lifestyle.

Further to their reflection, I would like to address some basic concepts and aims that has been the driving force of the modern civilization and to suggest solutions.

As we all know, the growth of modern civilization is due to its materialistic ideology, which is propelled by the motive for profits and for attainment of improved standard of living. As a result of economic growth and prosperity and new technology we attained during the last century that made our life more easy and comfortable, now we realize that these years of competitive growth and development was at the cost of the environment and the very existence of humanity as a whole.

As we move recklessly forward with the so called economic progress ignoring the signs of nature and the writing on the wall, its time to address some basic questions about the goals and objectives set by ourselves as individuals and nations. We must also reconsider whether the present way of economic growth and development will lead to our true progress or to the total destruction.

The recent scientific research and conclusions and the frequent natural calamities confirm that if we continue to pursue the present growth and development, we are on the path of destruction.

So the immediate and most important step is to put an immediate halt to this method of progress and development that we are pursuing which will lead us to ruin. This task as we all know is at the moment next to impossible, as we will be facing thousands of new problems.

So what is the short-term solution to these crises that has been unleashed due to our extravagant and unsustainable way of life?

Promote sustainable development

The only short-term solution is to slow the pace of economic activities by promoting sustainable growth and development.

How can we promote sustainable growth and development?

We can promote sustainable growth and development on individual, social, national and International level which are mentioned below:

Individual Level

a) We have to bring awareness among the individuals of the society about the demerits of frantic- economic activities and its consequences to the environment and to convince them that by these activities, instead of progress we are working for our own destruction.

b) Promote simple, holistic and eco-friendly way of life.

c) Encourage and implement green activities among individuals that will help to reduce emissions and improve the environment.

d) Organize and train individuals in farming and to encourage earning through farming

e) Promote creative activities and family & social get-togethers as replacement to economic activities

f) As Mr. Matt Prescott referred to in his article we have to promote eco-friendly competition between individuals of the society. Also discourage attachment for luxury.

Social & National Level:

a) Implement and enforce laws to reduce and regulate the economic activities of the society and nation to reduce the carbon emissions and pollution to the environment. The governments can also take steps to reduce working hours and instead encourage green activities that will improve the environment.
b) Organize voluntary organizations for planting trees, forestation and retrieving dead rivers and other environmental activities
c) Provide guidance and awareness to the members of the society about conservation, sustainable development and natural resource management.
d) Impose fines and take stern action against companies and individuals that are polluting the environment and over exploiting the natural resources.
e) Ensure that all the members of the society receive the basic amenities like food and shelter.
f) Promote social cohesiveness and encourage creative and eco friendly activities among the members of the society to replace economic activities.

International Level

The major cause for the deterioration in the environment which most of the intellectuals have not addressed so far was due to the wars and conflicts between the nations that took place during the last century and which are continuing to this day. The imperialistic foreign policies followed by the western powers and the resulting wars for maintaining their hegemony and dominance and for spreading their culture caused irreparable damage to humanity and environment. The two world wars and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had a wide consequence to humanity and greatly affected the societies and environments for generations. Further the cold war between Communists and Capitalist countries and the arms race for nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction further complicated the state of affairs. The Chernobyl incident and the vast deposit of nuclear waste which are being dumped in the oceans have also seriously effected the environment. At the end of the cold war, Western powers turned their attention to the Middle East . The war for liberation of Kuwiat, invasion of Iraq and war in Afghanistan , along with human cost, have further aggravated the environmental situation by using depleted uranium and other weapons. I wonder why Al-Gore, a prominent campaigner to counter the effects of global warming and climate change and who was also the Presidential candidate against Mr. Bush, seems to remain silent about the damages to the humanity and environment caused by the countless wars and invasions conducted by the United States of America during the last 50 years.

The present wars have caused damage to the humanity as a whole and there have not been any clear victors in these wars. In fact the conquerors of the current wars have to suffer more than the conquered. The recent US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan proves this point. At the same time, the humanity as a whole has to face the consequences through the environmental damage of the wars.

So the major role of International Organizations and Inter governmental organizations are as follows:

a) Prevent any further wars and conflicts for the benefit of the whole humanity and to bring awareness about the direct and indirect consequences of war on humanity and environment

b) Promote harmonious relationship between nations and religious communities to promote and maintain world peace.

c) Guide nations to implement eco friendly and sustainable economic development.

d) Promote leaders with humane face and vision of sustainable development and world peace

e) Implement fines for countries that are not implementing environmental safety and over exploiting the natural resources.

f) Conduct world environment day, by stopping all economic activities including movement of vehicle for one day every 3 months, 6 months or annually. In some areas of India , people conduct bandhs or total strikes as part of agitation. During these days all the economic activities and vehicular movements come to complete halt. Despite all its demerits, I felt that the day of Bandh helps to reduce emissions for at least one day.

These are my suggestions to prevent global warming and improve the environment and life of mankind. Please note that these are only the short-term steps. We will have to make harder decisions in the long term.

To conclude, we must realize that time is not on our side. We have to take immediate action before matters go out of control. I hope the articles and opinions on these topics will instigate a change for the good.

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