Date(s) - 19/04/2022
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The Challenges of Equitable and Sustainable Development in India
The overarching problem in the world today is climate change. The root cause of this is the global warming due to the burning of fossil fuels. This has led to the voluminous emission of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases. It has led to what is known as the greenhouse effect. The concentration of these gases is causing horrendous changes in the climate of the planet. Indeed, it threatens the security of the planet and the people. The Human Environment Conference held in Stockholm in 1972 has placed it on the global agenda. Prior to that, Rachel Carson’s prescient book Silent Spring (published in 1962) had warned the world about the cost and consequences of the unbridled growth and its irreversible damage to the life-support system. Her call to live in harmony with nature was highly perceptive; environment and ecology became the issues of serious concern. During the past fifty years, scientists have engaged themselves in documenting impacts and implications of global warming. The successive reports of the UNFCCC have put the facts in the public domain and the Paris Conference held in 2015 has ‘agreed’ to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2°C. Well, many pledges but nottangible steps so far!
During the past few decades, there have been many disastrous catastrophes. In India, we experienced cloud bursts in Kedarnath and Kashmir, the deluge in Mumbai and the recent devastating floods in Kerala. Undoubtedly, the industrializedcountries of the world have historic responsibilitybut we cannot ignore our own rising share and responsibility. India today is the third largest emitter of the greenhouse gases. The growth model and the consumerist lifestyle we have aped from the West is not at all sustainable. There is an urgent need to change the growth-paradigm which is resource-squandering. Agreeably, we have glaring inequalities in consumption, and millions of people lack the basic necessities of life. Keeping this in view, we have to consciously adopt the path of development that is pro-nature, pro-poor and pro-women. Of course, this does not mean blind opposition to growth, but opposition to blind growth. Luckily, we have the environment-friendly options. For this, as Gandhiji said: Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Professor H.M. Desarda
Visiting Professor, IIAS