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India may suffer many climate-based disasters

By now, most of us have nearly forgotten Irene, the hurricane that wasn't quite. We shouldn't.

tech reviews Updated: Sep 04, 2011 23:20 IST
Bharati Chaturvedi

By now, most of us have nearly forgotten Irene, the hurricane that wasn't quite. We shouldn't.

Perhaps the hurricane itself is not due to climate change, but data from blogs all over suggests the speed of the winds, the amount of rain and the intensity with which the waves hit were greater because of effects of climate change. When, just seven years ago, the film The Day After Tomorrow, was released, it showed snowfall in Delhi and devastating floods in New York. We laughed at this exaggeration.

But what seemed absurd in the near past is reality today. Perhaps the hurricane itself is not due to climate change, but data from blogs suggests the speed of the winds, the amount of rain and the intensity with which the waves hit are all greater than they would be otherwise.Let’s take this seriously. India is expected to suffer many climate-based disasters. The government must learn from this scare and plan for climate change adaption in the 25% of the country’s most vulnerable areas.

This means plan with communities, make resources available and share all the information transparently. In cities, it includes planning to absorb more migrants and basic living standards for everyone. The current budget was a cop-out as far as climate change goes.

Watch out for the next budget, and see how serious the government is this time.

Chile’s Green Irony
Recently, I returned from Chile, a bit surprised. Chile’s 6400 kilometre long coast is one the most productive areas for fishing. Their catch ought to be part of the diet of an average Chilean. Unfortunately, the smaller fish are used as feed for meat and chicken, the preferred food. Ironically, Chile is experiencing high rates of child obesity. Peruvians, with a similar fishing industry eat 3 times more fish than Chileans and face less of an obesity problem. Food apart, there is exercise. The civic infrastructure in Santiago, where a third of Chile’s population lives, is also very pedestrian friendly.

Yet, you hardly see any school children walking or cycling, another solution for obesity. The story of Chile tells us nature’s bounty and green planning are not enough — public awareness and action are key to taking advantage of local resources.