In the aftermath of the Chamoli disaster, where a glacier broke off killing at least 34 people, with around 170 people still reported missing, it is important to take stock of where we are heading to. While the cause of the flash floods is yet to be fully ascertained, it is clear that climate change is one of the factors that played a menacing role. The flash floods have served yet another warning to treat the ecosystem of the hills with sensitivity and make greater headway in research to curb such disasters. It’s ironic that Raini, the village where the disaster struck, was the cradle of the Chipko movement initiated by the villagers in the 1970s, to save trees.
Climate crisis has severe economic consequences. The Global Climate Risk Index 2021 report, which was released last month, ranks India as the seventh most vulnerable country in the world. The same report pegged India’s losses due to extreme climate-induced events for 2019-'20 at $68 billion or a .72 percentage point loss in the country’s GDP. Climate change was one of the issues that figured in the first telephonic conversation between US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on February 8. At the micro level, while we cannot stop global warming overnight, we can slow its rate and limit its amount by being mindful of the carbon footprint of the choices we make, move to cleaner energy alternatives, like solar and wind energy, and by reducing the use of plastics in our daily life.
Please browse through the latest Tatsat Communique that spotlights more such concerns.
Sumi Gupta, Director, Tatsat Foundation