–Chinmoyee Deka |
Climate related organisations played a critical role in the youth powered victory of Biden, which was possible because of his inclination towards the Green New Deal and advocacy for climate. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was praised by all for passing the landmark Zero Carbon Bill. It sets a net-zero target for almost all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This policy also included a promise to plant one billion trees over 10 years and ensure that the electricity grid runs entirely on renewable energy by 2035.
These are few of the many examples of political movements that were made keeping in mind the environmental consciousness of the youth. Governments are finally realising that instead of stressing on short term goals, it is better to work on longer commitments that guarantee a healthier and safer living condition to all.
This is the time when environmental journalism must focus on turning a new leaf, especially in countries like India, China and other South Asian and Middle Eastern countries. In developing countries, basic issues like employment generation, sanitation, healthcare and food security are still major influencers for policymakers. However, what many fail to understand is that a cleaner environment and healthier climate will take care of all these basic needs at once. Better climate ensures better food, clean water and also generates employment. Problems like health care and sanitation take care of themselves when steps are taken to create a better environment.
What is disappointing is that even now newspapers, media houses and many other information platforms in India are focusing on political rallies, community-based agendas and commitments made by candidates instead of creating an awareness about issues that the public should actually be concerned about. The media has a big role to play in motivating the people to raise issues that really matter and benefit humanity as a whole. As a developing country, which is not always economically buoyant we must focus on solutions that assure us permanent results instead of adopting short term measures that only last one election term. India’s successful production of vaccines against the Coronavirus and famous space initiatives like Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) prove that we have the manpower and intelligence required to devise these permanent solutions. Then what is it exactly that is stopping us from doing so?
A major reason why we have achievements like MOM and Covaxin under our belt is because of the huge public demand and impact it had in India’s journey as a global superpower. So, it is important that people understand that environmental degradation and climate change are popular problems. It is impacting the life of the 7.6 billion people living in this world. To top it all, it is a problem that does not only affect the ones who are causing it. We may be living thousands of kilometres away from a forest fire but a sudden cloudburst in our area may very well be a consequence of it. Similarly, the precautions we take also impact people far away from us. Hence, we should not only applaud the efforts of the many governments who are taking actions to curb the impacts of climate change but also become a part of it by contributing our efforts.
Media in India and other developing countries must use this global opportunity and strive towards creating an impactful change. This will not only put the country on the global map but also force the government to take decisions in favour of the environment, which the current government is infamous for not doing. But instead of blaming political parties, people must start asking the right questions and the media must point them out to the public in an unbiased and professional manner. Some online platforms and citizen journalists are talking about climate change and solutions but it needs to become mainstream, soon.