According to WHO, ambient air pollution accounts for an estimated 4.2 million deaths globally per year due to stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and other chronic respiratory diseases. Because of its high fatality rate, air pollution is one of the world’s leading risk factors for death.Another pressing issue is climate change which has the potential to prove itself as the most horrendous disaster for the mankind, whose inception can be clearly seen in form of the shrinking cryosphere, ocean acidification, heat- waves, mass extinction of numerous species, many cities turning into gas chambers, droughts, changing rainfall pattern etc.But individuals, Governments and society are not reacting much on the climate change issue because of the fact that it is intricately linked with the economy which is the basis of their livelihood. The effects of climate change may not be felt inside our living rooms but scientists clearly witness its prevalence in many climatic phenomena. Due to its intangibility, media is also not covering climate change vehemently and because of the less awareness, people lack environmental prudence, especially in developing and least-developed nations.However due to coronavirus pandemic amid lockdown whole world slowed down, the factories were devoid of workers, streets were partially empty, flights were cancelled and the entire economy was in a coma. But from an environmental perspective, the lockdowns in many countries proved a panacea for an environment whose glimpses can be seen in Venice’s canal water, visuals of Himalayan range from the city of Jalandhar. Also, the satellites images shared by NASA shows a drastic decline of green house gases and the improving quality of air which ultimately allow people to inhale a better quality air even in the top ten polluted cities of the world.But before we celebrate this, we have to inquire whether this change in environment is long-lasting or not? Well to answer this question we have to see that what the human’s course of action would be after normal life begins.After this pandemic will over surely the countries try to grow with double digits and for that, they require huge resources and human efforts to put the economy back on the track. But to avoid any such environmental disaster in future, we have to take some unprecedented actions which require huge courage and determination and to materialise such vision we need multiple technological revelations which will possess the potential to change the way, we lead our life such as we need a paradigm shift in the way we produce the energy by using fossils. Rather we have to put more emphasis on the production of renewable energy which leaves comparatively very less carbon footprint, we need to shift the focus from thermal power plants to solar panels, windmills, Bio-gas plants, hydropower plants, geo-thermal power plants and many other sources of clean energy to meet the increasing demands. We need to reduce the methane emissions coming from livestock industry, we need to meticulously scrutinise our eating habits, we need to garner the run-off of toxins in the river waters from agricultural fields, we need to mitigate the effects of other natural and anthropogenic causes for climate change like forest-fires, ozone depletion, glacier melting, rising seawater etc.Interestingly, in the domain of renewable energy India can be the beacon light for other countries by making its International Solar Alliance (ISA) more vocal and by increasing its presence in the international fraternity, a carbon-tax can also be used as a tool to curb the carbon emissions at the first place, as an alternate to livestock industry emissions veganism can be a viable option, in the lieu of fertilisers, zero budget organic farming concept can be promoted and as a response to natural disasters many sustainable and effective disaster management techniques and policies should be adopted by countries especially the low-income nations who are at the greater risk of climate change.Although, we are not as resilient as we think we are, as this virus showed us the vulnerability of humans to environmental shocks. So, this is the time to respect the might of Mother Nature by making ourself compatible to it rather than to put unsuccessful efforts to mould nature in our shape. After all, “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrowed it from our children”.Sourab Puri
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