A Lifestyle Disorder
By Virender Kapoor
“We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.”
Barack Obama, Former US President
The most discussed topic which is debated on TV, Radio as well as fancy conferences organized by nations or NGOs is ‘climate change’. There are thousands of not for profit organizations across the world and cutting across all countries working for reversing this change or at least arresting it. Millions and millions of dollars are given to them by way of charity and grants.
After all this noise being made , money being constantly invested and visible protests being held every day, the glaciers are still disappearing, temperatures are rising, oceans are rising, ice capped mountains are shrinking, there is shortage of water and also we lack fresh air!
Today many have acquired a celebrity status internationally by protesting alone! Some non descript have ridden the wave of climate change crescendo and become celebrities and some big celebrities have acquired the status of saints just supporting it- after all it is a good cause- to save humanity.
Hundred years ago there was nothing known as climate change and no one talked about global warming! The key to the solution is in this statement itself. In fact Wallace Smith Broecker coined the word ‘Global warming’ in 1975 in a paper he wrote about warming. According to some estimates (which are at best estimates only) half a trillion US Dollars are being spent to combat ‘climate change‘every year. For energy sector alone there are discussions on investing at least 2.4 trillion Dollars.
Plastic was invented just over a hundred years ago- you heard it right- just a century old invention and look what it has done to us or what actually we have done with that- raped the environment, messed up our oceans, damaged and destroyed marine life massively and created garbage which is not easily disposable in Billions of tons. Don’t blame the inventor — Leo Baekeland who created plastic in 1907 for mass-producing plastic- blame the people who use it or abuse it.
‘I can smell bullshit from a mile away but it’s so much harder to detect when it’s around you all day.’
Why life style disorder?
Life style disorders are the ones which affect individual’s health because of addiction to something. That ‘something’ can be anything like Smoking, drinking, eating unhealthy food, not exercising enough, wrong posture while sitting, too much use of smart phones/computers and so on. These are related to personal conduct and not getting out of your comfort zone. A lazy fellow will find it difficult to get out of the house every day and hit the gym to pump iron. All these habits are addictive and that is why difficult to get rid of.
Today unfortunately we have become slaves/addicted to too much comfort. We have got addicted to gadgets that make things comfortable for us. We don’t want to let go of that comfort which is technology driven and hence inadvertently become slaves to technology. We don’t realize it but we have become slaves of comfort and easy life.
“The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free”
― Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Everyone is saying do something but no one is doing anything is the basic problem. No one wants to slow down; no one wants to get out of the comfort zone and expects others to do it! As Ralph Waldo Emerson said ‘People are very inclined to set moral standards for others’
Nations default on contribution to pollution and climate change but nations are not only pieces of land- they are made of people. When you blame a nation you blame first the people and then the policy makers.
Globally, the largest electricity consuming countries are the People’s Republic of China (25.9%) and the United States (17.5%), who together account for over 40% of global consumption. America is just 5% of world’s population but consumes resources upwards of 20%. It is the American people who have been spoilt by an over reaching and over benevolent administration. If fuel is cheap you will use petrol guzzling cars. If electricity is cheap or free you just don’t care. People are conscious about what others do but are not ready to look within.
We attend a debate on climate change but need a separate TV for each room. We need an air conditioner for every room. We started with 165 liter refrigerator for our family and today a 600 liter fridge becomes smaller for just two of us. We have over pampered ourselves.
Iceland for example of all the countries in the world, including the richest and largest oil producers, consumes the most energy per person. How can that be? The reason is basically overabundance. With most of Iceland’s energy coming from hydroelectric and geothermal power, Icelanders are some of the planet’s least energy-conscious.
UAE, Qatar, Most of Europe and Canada are also not very far behind- their people are guzzling comforts too.
We collectively have deceived ourselves and are continuing to do so. We are 7.6 Billion Comfort Guzzlers. We guzzle whatever we can lay our hands on.
“We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. ”
Most remedies therefore fall on our own laps. Are we prepared to cycle instead of using a car? No. Are we prepared to share cars? No. Can we stay without 24*7 Air conditioning? No. Then why are we shouting about climate change?
Height of Hypocrisy is when hundred plus rich men and women drive down thirty Kilometers to the venue for candle light march against ‘Don’t pollute your city’ in their big Petrol Guzzling cars. The following statement by Oscar Wilde may be apt for many noise makers. ‘How clever you are, my dear! You never mean a single word you say’.
Unless we change at an individual level nothing will change. No treatise and agreements by nation states, no organized protest marches, no amount of NGO’s or celebrity endorsements will work.
The buck stops at you.
“Climate change is real. It is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”
Leonardo Di Caprio, Actor & Environmentalist