Written By Aryan Indra (Grade 10)
It is the year 2050… A barren landscape is all that one can see. One can no longer see any sight of vegetation. Man has devoured all the remaining natural resources. The rusting car is parked in the garage as the owner is unable to afford the overpriced fuel. The air is melancholic and pandemonium is writ large. A twelve-year-old little boy lurks the streets. His clothes are torn and his ribs seem to be protruding out due to malnutrition. He roams the streets in search of food to douse his burning hunger. His mother who was the only one to have loved him, was killed by his father in a drunken fit. The little boy walks up to a store selling bread and hungrily eyes a batch of freshly baked bread. The shopkeeper, guessing his intentions, immediately shoos the boy away. The boy is forced to starve for the tenth consecutive day. Finally, on a cold winter morning, in a benumbed society, the little boy sinks to an eternal darkness!
Imagine living in such a world of chaos where life doesn’t matter and people stoop to any level in order to survive. It is rightly said that our planet is an ailing one. It is anguished as each mortal has become so self-centered and destitute of sight, that he is unable to see his inevitable doom.
Since the beginning of time, man has made numerous inventions and discoveries. Fossil fuels were one of them. Fossil fuels are obtained from the organic matter that has been buried under the soil and has been subjected to heat and pressure over a long time. Unfortunately, Nature’s belly doesn’t have an infinite stockpile of these energy gems. As the per capita income of man increases, the usage of automobiles keeps soaring, leading to a crisis of these non-renewable sources of fuels. Moreover, these fuels are not exactly ecofriendly. The conventional fossil fuels are composed of Carbon and when burnt, they emit Carbon dioxide which is a major contributor to global warming. Carbon dioxide is responsible for creating a dense layer that entraps sun’s rays and prevents it from reaching the earth. Thus, the average temperature of the earth keeps rising.
Due to this rise in temperature of the earth, climate change is a common phenomenon. The places located in the northern latitudes, receive more rainfall and the duration of their winters is also short. Due to the increase in temperature, many polar ice caps melt which in turn causes the sea level to rise and causes coastal flooding and erosion. The intense heat has also rendered several species of animals on the brink of extinction. The helpless animals are forced to migrate to cooler places due to the unendurable heat.
Climate change will affect the crop yields drastically. Some crops like wheat and oats are seen to be highly susceptible to an increase in temperature. Also, as the temperature rises, it provides a habitable environment for the microbial decay of crops. This will soon be followed by a shortage of food. There will also be a simultaneous spew in the number of bacteria and viruses infesting our planet. The daunting challenge before man will be to obliterate the new species of organisms arising from the bizarre changes taking place in the environment. Man will be subjected to several fatal diseases that will threaten to wipe mankind from the face of the earth. Also, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics to stop these diseases will further cause mutation in the genetic makeup of organisms and make them more resistant to those antibiotics. Hell will let loose, as these defiant mutant organisms would have become enigmatically resistant and man will be grappling helplessly to overcome these superbugs.
Moreover, water is another matter that has thrown the world into crisis. This is due to the extremely aggressive pumping of underground water by numerous countries which causes the depletion of the underground water. Some people believe that water will be the cause of the third world war. According to some statistics, the Middle East has about 1% of the world’s fresh drinking water and in that region, about 5% of the world’s population is residing. Therefore, there is a lot of conflict among the countries in this region for water and this often leads to the death of many individuals who get caught up in this fiasco.
Our collapsing planet is today desperately trying to attune itself to the tilting balance of extinction. Each passing day and every carbon footprint is swaying the balance towards our inevitable catastrophe. Earthlings do not have another planet for survival. We belong here, on this very planet, though disturbingly not forever. Each one has to rise and own up their responsibility as if it’s their last breath of life remaining. At individual level we all can do our tiny bit to save our dear planet. There must be a change incorporated in our lifestyles that will help to sustain our planet. Small initiatives like walking or cycling to work instead of using a car or opting for carpooling instead of using individual cars should be practiced. Use of public transport should be encouraged in every country to minimize the vehicular pollution. All smokers should make an attempt to kiss smoking goodbye and try their best to reduce the carbon footprint at their end. Water is another resource whose conservation must be attempted in every possible way. Housing societies and individual homes must exercise rain water harvesting techniques. We must not waste water while brushing, shaving or while taking a shower. Cars should be washed using a bucket of water and not by rampant water wastage by spray jets. In this way, we will succeed in sustaining our very own planet and the future generations can walk the ground that we now stand on. I would like to conclude by saying that our world currently is in a state of crisis and we must put our best foot forward to reduce our carbon footprints wherever and whenever possible. It is my strong belief that with our concerted efforts we can save our precious planet and embellish it with our care and concern.
Featured Image Courtesy – NRDC