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Global warning

I list five such perils and implore you to bring it to the notice of activists. Otherwise we’re all doomed and may just die — as opposed to staying alive forever, writes Indrajit Hazra.

india Updated: Nov 21, 2009 23:37 IST
Indrajit Hazra

On Monday night, I stubbed my toe against the door. Earlier, I would have blamed it on my increasingly deteriorating foot-eye coordination skills. But I now squarely lay the blame for my accident at humanity’s door. Or, to be more precise, I blame our despicable role in instigating and accelerating global warming.

The accident had its roots in my colleague KumKum Dasgupta going on an aborted Greenpeace-sponsored trip to Indonesia. She had gone there to witness first-hand the extent of deforestation being carried out in the forests of Sumatra. But instead of documenting dastardly lumberjacks and pretty ladies hugging trees, KumKum and an Italian journalist were detained by Indonesian officials, then interrogated and then threatened with deportation (while her hosts sent out information about the real damage being done to the ecosystem). If there was no global warming, KumKum wouldn’t have been in Indonesia courtesy Greenpeace. And if KumKum hadn’t have gone to Indonesia, I wouldn’t have banged my toe into the door while trying to desperately contact her over long-distance phone even as I fumbled to enter my house at night after a few rounds of extremely biodegradable barley.

So you see, climate change affects us all in small and big ways. Thankfully, there aren’t any global warming-deniers any more. Show me a person who’s not worried sick about carbon emission these days and I’ll show you a smoking cyclist on the road. But there are some less obvious perils triggered by global warming that experts like R.K. Pachauri, Al Gore and Kareena Kapoor may not be aware of. I list five such perils and implore you to bring it to the notice of activists. Otherwise we’re all doomed and may just die — as opposed to staying alive forever.

Exactly a fortnight away from the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, the organisers have banned conference ‘gift bags’ and bottled water to conserve energy. But apart from a few who will be cycling, para-gliding, walking and crawling to Copenhagen, most of the 14,000-odd delegates, media, industry lobbyists and environmental activists descending on the Danish capital will be transported into the city by airborne vehicles that burn a lot of jet fuel. Apart from the hot air to be generated, that’s a lot of carbon emissions for one event. I implore the powers-that-be (including the forest deity of the Sunderbans, Bon Bibi) to submerge Copenhagen by a freak tsunami. And what is the reason for hosting this catastrophe-triggering summit? Yes, global warming.

Out of the delegates from 180 countries attending, at least a few will be from countries whose visitors are bound to recoil as soon as they see the statue of Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid sitting on the rock wearing not a stitch. This will lead to a fatwa against the mermaid, which in turn will lead to a Danish cartoonist drawing a culturally insensitive depiction of a carbon footprint — which, of course, in certain cultures is not allowed to be pictorially represented. Clashes between civilisations will sadly ensue.

After a suggestion by the wise and wisecracking Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, beef-eating will stop in the West so as to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, a-fifth of which comes from meat production. As a result, rich westerners will move to a corn-based diet triggering a global food crisis that will wipe out poor people.

In keeping with the ‘butterfly effect’ of chaos theory, global warming will cause a butterfly in the Amazon to be too sapped of its energy to make it flap its wings and thereby trigger a storm in Texas. With perfect weather conditions, many teenagers will sneak out and drink with friends, some of whom will ultimately become obese alcoholics. Thanks to global warming.

I had another climate change danger in mind. But the fear of the end of the world triggered by climate change has made me wet my pants, stub my toe again and made me realise that there are so many other things I need to do apart from finishing a Sunday column before I die, die, die!