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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Drought in US a chance to re-imagine environment

Bharti Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times   August 26, 2012
First Published: 23:07 IST(26/8/2012) | Last Updated: 23:14 IST(26/8/2012)

It is well known now that the United States of America is facing its most severe drought in the last quarter century, with 80% of the agricultural land facing this grim scenario.

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About 75% of the corn and soyabean production is likely to be impacted in the country. Food prices will be climb. And, as many environmentalists point out, this is likely to be an outcome of climate change.

A drought in an election year can be both a disaster and an opportunity. President Obama’s term has not been the revolution it could have been for the planet. Still, the drought, with all it’s undesirable misery opens an opportunity to re-imagine the environment and how Americans engage with it. 

For example, bio-fuels. With soaring food prices, the question is not only about bio-fuel viability, but also, about whether the near future is about cars or other forms of transportation? Americans, stuck with the drought, must ensure their Presidential candidates steer them and many others in the world into a more sustainable future.

We should be bothered because of the deep impact the United States has on our lives and lifestyles, both directly and as a result of production. Instead of wanting to live the American Dream of the 1990s and 2000s, what if there was a low carbon footprint, less consumptive reality instead?

Don’t Mess with the monsoon

The Indian monsoon came late and as giant outbursts. 

Predictably, it has created sticky, muddy patches everywhere in rural and urban India. But more than ever before, this year, I am reading and hearing more and more about the need to make pucca, or tile over, such slushy surfaces.

Please don’t. 

Rainwater belongs in the aquifers, or storage tanks. Without surfaces to percolate from, it will simply flow off, and become a wasted resource. Even if you know this, be alert.

Several beautification projects involve tiling sidewalks and mud-based surfaces, with many people believing it to be a good thing. Watch out for them and nip this in the bud. Climate change gives us no other options.


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