Saturday, 22 March 2014

Up and up and up

In a world that is obsessed with higher and higher growth, expressways and XUVs, where SUVs are becoming passé, where development  is equated only with highways, roads and spiffing airports, where man's insatiable consumption need  has to be met at any cost , where a desire to monetize any and everything , deforestation at the light of speed , where the slow dying of our coral reef does not seem to matter , where unsafe and high pollution levels make our cities unfit for us to breathe in or live in, the dropping dead of bee colonies by the millions, the drying up of our rivers, the destruction of wetlands that give way to sky scrapers, chemical riddled food, where nuclear contamination and radiation uncertainty is accepted, where we are unconcerned  about the acidification of our oceans and parts of our seas being declared sea dead,traffic jams

on the 8,848-metre high Everest caused by people who came from far away countries to “conquer” the peak ,instead leave behind  waste on the pristine white mountain , where dams are not good enough, but mega dams is the answer,  where glaciers melt rapidly, where peak summer temperatures are reached more frequently than ever, where we want growth at any cost,  a significant change happened to our planet.

We crossed 400 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide (C02) in the atmosphere again, earlier this month. To preserve a liveable planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 400 parts per million(ppm) to below 350 ppm.  But instead, we are rapidly and rapaciously adding more C02   into the atmosphere, making a planet that will not be habitable by humans.
It is then that I am reminded about what Gandhi said that distinguished modern civilization from our ancient civilization - the distinguishing characteristic of modern civilization is an indefinite multiplicity of wants ,where ancient civilization were marked by an “imperative restriction upon, and a strict regulating of these wants “. He detested the thought of the distance that man would go to in search of their satisfaction – “If modern civilization stands for all this, and I have understood it to do so, I call it satanic .“   This was in the year 1927.
While I contemplate our present and brood our future, I often ask where is all this leading to, who gains and who benefits  - for it is in this pursuit of what we call a "good life"  that  the falcon cannot hear the falconer.