Zenab Batool, Student (Jammu University)  

   "How dare you!" Greta Thunberg,16-year old Swedish student activist and the face of the youth in the ongoing battle against climate change, emphatically rebuked them of continuous inaction on the crisis despite scientific evidence of its threat to the future and the youth. She continued, People are suffering, people are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing are in the beginning of mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy-tales of economic growth"

        CLIMATE CHANGE is without question a very controversial subject. Being an environmentalist, I came in contact with number of people who believe in climate change but also, we come in contact with all sorts of different people who don't believe in it for example politicians, industrialists, policy makers etc. Or we can say that this subject is a meeting place of scientists, mathematicians, policy makers etc.

       During 2019, when climate change strike was having more than 7 million people's participation and was reported in 185 countries, the media and many big personalities didn't support them. Many people criticize it by giving an argument that these many people should plant trees rather than making slogans. I don't personally believe in that. I think that both things are equally important.       

·                    Individual Action: means that planting should be done at individual level, you don't need a huge terrace or balcony all you need is a little space right inside your home for these beautiful and useful plants.

·                    Spreading Awareness: helps in addressing the people about climate change, spreads knowledge about it.

·                    Pressurizing Government: By doing strikes, rallies a pressure is made on the government to stop climate damaging activities. For example:

1000's gather to protest NHAI’S (National Highways Authority of India) road plan in Aravalli biodiversity park.

BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) approves felling of nearly 3,000 trees in Mumbai’s Aarey forest and people protest against it. Then what’s the motive of planting trees if the government will do deforestation on a large scale without considering the efforts and need of afforestation. According to one report, the top 100 countries are responsible for 71% of global emission. Out of which China is leading and there is an EXXON company (imperial oil, AERA energy, EXXON mobile chemical company) which is on 5th rank, came to known about climate change before 50 years but they hide it by giving millions of dollars to media and different personalities to talk in favour of not believing in climate change. In 1982, this company did a study and predicted the worst climate change in 2020 as 420ppm of C02 and temperature will rise at speed of 0.8-degree Celsius. Now if we will see the conc. Of C02 in May 13 2019, its 415.50ppm and temperature rise is 0.8-degree Celsius. They also predict the global temperatures on track for 3-5-degree average rise by 2100.

              As we all know about the Paris climate agreement where 197 countries signed and promised to decrease the temp. by 2 degree Celsius or less than that. I want to ask “where is the decrease”? More than 4 years after this agreement was adopted,7 of 197 signatories have formally backed the deal. One of them is US which is still on the procedure to withdraw from the accord. President Donald Trump doubts that Greenhouse gas emissions risk causing dangerous levels of global warming.

             For this issue of climate change we known the answer that we have to move away from the fossil fuels and start using sustainable energy and the best part is that these sustainable energy cuts emission by 50% and keep temperature rise less than 1.5degree Celsius. The bottom is line is that we can create a better life for us. We should look at this as a time that we can create a brand new, better future, better jobs. So, we should benefit the economy benefit the environment and make it clean. If we are talking about climate change, we can clearly talk about The Artic and The Amazon. They clearly seem to be the two places with the biggest effect of climate change. The Amazon forest is getting burned and slashed very quickly, it getting dried out and if it will not be taken into consideration it can turn into savanna. Right now, it is acting as a carbon sink and helping us in slowing down the consequences of climate change. Same thing is going on with the Artic and permafrost. The Artic is warming at a rate almost twice the global average and reductions in Artic sea-ice and permafrost and changes in weather are increasingly visible.

The impacts of climate change include warming temperatures, changes in precipitation, increases in the frequency or intensity of some extreme weather events, and rising sea levels. These impacts threaten our health by affecting the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the weather we experience. The severity of these health risks will depend on the ability of public health and safety systems to address or prepare for these changing threats, as well as factors such as an individual's behaviour, age, gender, and economic status. Impacts will vary based on a where a person lives, how sensitive they are to health threats, how much they are exposed to climate change impacts, and how well they and their community are able to adapt to change. People in developing countries may be the most vulnerable to health risks globally, but climate change poses significant threats to health even in wealthy nations such as the United States. Certain populations, such as children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with low incomes, face increased risks.

In India the air pollution includes all northern India covering Punjab, UP, Haryana, New Delhi, Bihar and even West Bengal. According to Central pollution control board OCT 2019, Varanasi was most polluted city of India. When pollution is severe in Delhi, Graded Response Action Plan is implemented. But it is unfortunate for other cities because no such measures are taken for them. According to research of SAFAR (System of air quality and weather forecasting and research) a govt. organisation of Ministry of Earth Sciences as of 1 November 2019, share of stubble burning in Delhi’s pollution rises to 46% highest this year. From 2018 to 2019, stubble burning incident were declining but in 2019 ,40% of increase was seen because of ineffective work of govt. of Haryana and Punjab. They failed in compensating the farmers for getting incentive of stopping stubble burning. The report by the Climate Impact Lab in collaboration with the Tata Centre for Development at University of Chicago estimates that by 2100 around 1.5 million more people could die in India each year due to climate change.

            The planet is at risk, which means we need much more out-of-box thinking .Although the impacts of climate change have the potential to affect human health in the India and around the world, there is a lot we can do to prepare for and adapt to these changes—such as establishing early warning systems for heat waves and other extreme events, taking steps to reduce vulnerabilities among populations of concern, raising awareness among healthcare professionals, and ensuring that infrastructure is built to accommodate anticipated future changes in climate. Understanding the threats that climate change poses to human health is the first step in working together to lower risks and be prepared.

“Twenty-five-years ago people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse.”  -Desmond Tutu

About the author: Zenab Batool is pursuing her master’s In environmental sciences from Jammu University. She is an enthusiastic environmental activist who loves to talk about environment and climate.