Recently held Paris summit provided a platform for the Nations of the world to come to agreement on steps necessary to protect our environment by limiting carbon emissions; it aims to limit global warming and its estimated impact by limiting consumption of fossil fuels by the year 2030 and stabilize from thereon. This is a well intentioned statement of intent and a plan of action in the coming years.
As much as we need to agree to the noble goal, an effort on our part to understand this very concept of Environment Protection is necessary. Most of our consumption comes from what nature generates on a daily basis; part of it produced by nature and stored over millions of years. The source of un-sustainability is the difference between what we consume and what the nature can produce; a part of the excess consumption is made up by eating into what is stored from the past. We are already consuming far in excess of the intrinsic capacity to produce. The estimated peak consumption in 2030 is estimated to be six times of what the nature can produce! This should provide a glimpse of sustainability & the time-frame, and the urgency we have attached to our consumption, despite the noble intentions of global community.
Even while we grapple with the issue of sustainability, there is a case for looking back as to where we came from. It has taken billions of years for the earth to reach the current state and earth is nothing but a blip in the overall scheme of the Universe. Human beings entered its civilizatonal phase perhaps 10,000 year back and for all practical purposes it is too small for significance in the Nature’s timeline. Still, human beings must be the prize produce of the Nature as our species is endowed with more intellect and brain power than anything else from as yet known Universe. We are endowed with a highly evolved brain, can memorize the past learning for use in the future and accumulate knowledge to help us progress at a breathtaking speed; and this progress, today we call development and most of development consumes nature. While we know very little as yet of the scheme of nature and the inter-relationships, our consumption levels have started seriously threatening the survival of many other species around.
Given this background, it is almost presumptuous to claim that we are out to save Environment; the same environment or nature that produced and nurtured us! In the grand scheme of the Universe, human beings are insignificant. The world will go on with or without us. If due to our action, over-consumption or a nuclear war, if human species disappear, world is only lost to our consciousness. But the world will make corrections and go on as before. There is no way we can protect environment.
What we can really do is to preserve the ability of the Environment to protect and nurture us; and take the species through the future generations. Taking the very position that we will protect Environment rings hollow and forces us to false actions. It is time we, as humans, realize this and bring in necessary behavioral changes and consumption curbs and stay in line with the limitations imposed by nature. That is to say, start with reduction of consumption TODAY to stay alive in FUTURE.