Climate Change and Sustainability – The Ugly and the Good

Climate Change and Sustainability is in the News today!

Today’s news on Climate Change and Sustainability is both ugly and good.

On the unpleasant side, a Special Report by IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that the negative fallouts of Climate Change are coming in much sooner and harder

On the pleasant side, the Nobel Prize for Economics has been awarded to two economists working on Climate Change and Sustainable Growth.

And there is a LOT that YOU can do about it!

Read on, to know more…

Not just bad; its ugly – IPCC Special Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (called IPCC for short) is the leading international body for Climate Change assessment. Its mandate is to provide a clear scientific view on today’s body of knowledge on Climate Change by evaluating research being undertaken on the subject. They also, thereby, report indirectly on Sustainability, because they also examine potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of Climate Change.

It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988. In the same year, the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC.

IPCC released a Special Report on Global Warming 08 Oct 18 at Incheon, Korea. It clearly establishes that the world has already warmed by 1.0°C since pre-industrial levels. India, on the other hand, has warmed even more… by about 1.2°C.

In other words, this report shows that the fallouts of Climate Change have come much too sooner and far harder than the scientists had earlier predicted.

Centre for Science and Environment, based in New Delhi, has prepared a Fact Sheet, summarising this report. You can read it here…

Here are some Key Takeaways…

  • At present level of warming of 1°C itself, the intensity and frequency of weather extremes have already increased. The unprecedented rains in Kerala and elsewhere are one such example.
  • The impacts at 1.5°C of warming on people and ecosystems are likely to be far more severe than anticipated in the previous scientific reports.
  • The impacts at 2°C will be far worse than 1.5°C and will be catastrophic for the poor and the developing countries.
  • At the current level of global commitment and initiatives to mitigate Climate Change, the world will heat to 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052… And it is very difficult to remain within 5°C by the end of the century
  • Therefore, the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit warming to 2°C must be revised and must now be firmly put at 1.5°C.
  • To remain within 1.5°C warming, the world will have to reduce Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (relative to 2010 levels) by 45% by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The Good Side – Nobel Prize for Economics

The announcement of the Nobel Prize for Economics on the same day – 08 Oct 18 seems like a silver lining on the proverbial dark and ominous clouds.

William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, two American economists were awarded the 2018 Prize in Economic Sciences for their work on the Endogenous Growth Theory.

William Nordhaus was recognized “for integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis”. Paul Romer was recognized for “for integrating technological innovations into long-run macroeconomic analysis”.

This is what the official announcement has to say – “The contributions of Paul Romer and William Nordhaus are methodological, providing us with fundamental insights into the causes and consequences of technological innovation and climate change. This year’s Laureates do not deliver conclusive answers, but their findings have brought us considerably closer to answering the question of how we can achieve sustained and sustainable global economic growth.

 An unacknowledged environmentalist predicted this long ago…

You will be surprised to note that someone we know well and deeply respect for many other things he did predict this global mess of today a long time ago. Watch this video to find out who that was, and what he said…

 

 Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture – A critical link

The choices we make in our food in our day to day lives are a significant contributor to this problem. Here are some simple facts…

Food production accounts for almost 25% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Of that, the manufacture and use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers contributes as much as 10% – in the form of Nitrous Oxide – which is 300 times more potent a GHG compared to Carbon dioxide (CO2)

Switching to organic farming and food will have a direct impact on the above aspect. That apart, it is also well documented that organic farming captures more carbon in the soil compared to intensive chemical agriculture. Besides, the energy efficiency of organic farms is superior to conventional farms.

 But, what can I do about all this?

All these words “Climate Change and Sustainability”, “Impacts at 1.5°C of warming”, “Net-zero emissions by 2050”, “Endogenous Growth Theory”… We at Bio Basics feel that all these are a just a lot of words, whether good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant.

All this means nothing unless you and I are decisive and willing to bring about change in our individual lives. The writing on the wall is clear – Business-as-usual mode will no longer be OK – not for us and definitely not for our children.

 Be Organic

This is where you can start – Be Organic. What does that mean? Here are some pointers …

  1. Understand that Safe Food that is Priority #1. Safe Food means food that no chemicals have been used in growing, processing, transportation, and storage
  2. Eat local and seasonal. Off-season food requires energy-intensive technologies like refrigeration and chemicals.  Non-local food requires transportation from far, which increases “Food Miles” and again necessitates the use of technology and chemicals for preservation.
  3. We normally associate quality of food with looks, or absence of insects – or maybe an endorsement by a celebrity. But we miss the essential point – that quality = SAFETY first.
  4. Accept “ugly” foods. When we pick and choose vegetables and fruits at a grocery store, do we not reject those that have some deformity or a blemish? Rethink that.
  5.  Understand that “bugs know best”. What we call “pests” is far more sensitive to the presence of chemicals that we are. So the presence of an occasional insect is probably a greater reassurance that exposure of the food to chemicals is less.
  6. Educate yourself. Read up more on the various issues involved. Watch documentaries. Today, we have all the information we need at the click of a button.
  7. Ensure the farmer is paid well. Ensuring that the farmer gets a fair price for this essential service he is providing us is a key to facilitate him to grow safe food for us. After all, why should he care about us if we don’t care about him?
  8. Care for Mother Nature, she will too for you. Protecting our Planet is the most fundamental of our responsibility today. It is an unfortunate ironic fact that Mother Nature needs protection from some of her own children!
  9. Start your Home Garden. A food garden in your balcony or backyard has benefits far beyond the meager food that you may grow there. Gardening is therapeutic – research shows that “soiling” our hands can uplift our mood, and can be an aid to battling depression.
  10. DEMAND SAFE FOOD!! Remember – Safe Food is your right, as much as is clean air and drinking water!
And then… Buy Organic

Many people choose to buy organic purely out of personal or family health considerations. However, we at Bio Basics feel that true sustainability – for ourselves, our farmers and our planet – comes if our buying organic is a fallout of “Being Organic”, rather than an end by itself.

Many complain that organic food is expensive. However, we feel that is not actually the case, as we shall be bringing out in another article to come soon. But for the moment, I shall point to a slightly perspective – of what use is having a lot of money in your pocket, if you are in a sinking ship in the middle of a vast ocean?

If you feel that there is substance in all of the above narrative, and feel that Climate Change and Sustainability is an important imperative, then, you should consider switching to Organic Food. After all, it is chain reaction; only if you buy organic will farmers be incentivized to switch to organic farming – and this one change can go a long way to addressing the Climate Change and Sustainability issues.

We at Bio Basics can help you Be Organic & Buy Organic.

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