Developing a Climate Consciousness

August 21, 2018
12 months

What is the issue?

  • Climate change has the potential to massively disrupt and reshape lives.
  • Hence, vulnerable populations should be made aware of the potential risks and how to cope with them.

What are the risks involved?

  • There are several alarming predictions about the increasing erratic nature of world’s weather systems in the future due to climate change.
  • UN Sustainable Goals Report (SGR), 2018 notes that climate change is among the key factors in rising hunger and human displacement.
  • World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that climate change will cause an additional 2.5 lakh deaths per year between 2030 and 2050.
  • It has been predicted that climate change will enhance the prevalence of decreases like malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.
  • Particularly, the vulnerability of low-income groups in developing countries like India is very high, which is also accentuated by its tropical location.
  • Notably, World Bank (WB) projects that climate change could cost India 2.8% of its GDP, and diminish living standards for nearly half of the population.
  • But despite these severe risks, the vulnerable population has little awareness of them, with little knowledge of the changing weather patterns.

What is the current situational awareness?

  • Several initiatives have been implemented to create awareness about climate change and about how to mitigate it and adapt to it.
  • In 1991, Supreme Court (SC) directed the Central government and all State governments to provide compulsory environmental education to all students.
  • Further, the court had directed “corporate organisations, research and education institutes, NGOs” to create awareness on the same.
  • The vision is to inculcate the concept of environmental sustainability and drive home the message for judicious use of food, water, nutrition and health.
  • However, despite these efforts, and the reach of the court’s order, climate change seems to find low salience in everyday lives and conversations.
  • Further, most of the country’s plans for vulnerable populations are towards poverty alleviation, enhancing access to education, sanitation, and healthcare.
  • With climate change emerging as an imminent challenge of a massive proportion, it deserves its due attention.

What is the way forward?

  • At present, climate change is not specifically mentioned as a domain permissible under “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR) mandate.
  • While work in this area can be taken up as part of environmental sustainability, a more specific mention will help it gather more attention.
  • This way, more corporate organisations may be roped in to create awareness, mitigation and resilience-building.
  • Scaling up current initiatives of the corporate and social sectors to regional or national levels would be an early, albeit challenging, solution.
  • Similarly, the film industry, book writers, and gaming companies could design their products with an appeal in this regard.


Source: The Hindu

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