As advised by global statesman & our Hon’ble Prime Minster Shri Narendra Modi on 1st November, 2021 during at COP26 Summit in Glasgow, the world needs to move from “destructive and mindless consumption” to “mindful, deliberate, need based utilization of resources”.
We don’t just have to reduce emissions, but also plan for sequestration with equal vigor and determination to restore, repair and rejuvenate our environment in order to avoid the catastrophe of climate change and global warming that is unleashing the havoc of climate disaster around the globe, and no country remains untouched from it. From desertification in California to droughts in France, from flooding in Pakistan to drying of rivers in China, from Tsunami in Japan to forest fire in Australia, we’ve seen in all in just few years, and we all know the cause behind such disaster.
The fact of the matter is, even if we make zero emission a reality today, the temperature will still continue to rise, due to the emissions already done by us across the globe in last 400 years. Therefore, just reducing the emission is not sustainable unless it is coupled with equally high focus on creating sinks and implementing sustainable sequestration methods across the globe.
Therefore, we need to have muti-pronged strategies to combat climate change, which are not just practical & feasible, but also sustainable, holistic and adaptable in contemporary world. Indian masses have a deep understanding due to the traditional knowledge system and cultural ethos of the country, that they appreciate the approach of “going back to the roots” that deteriorates materialism and promote practices that would lead to rejuvenation of soil, water and air simultaneously, with a holistic and sustainable understanding of Nature.
The knowledge base of the country is expanding. There has been an unprecedented growth in research and development for the past few years. The Internet and increasing means of communications are helping innovations and technologies to reach the right spots at the right time.
The focus should be to reinvent & rediscover the Indian way of life, that has always revolved around environmental protection since the Vaidic era. Vedas hold that man should breathe pure air, drink pure water and eat pure food. The policy should be a natural extension of our ancient wisdom that looks to strengthen the thought process for a living that benefits the environment.
Sankhya Yog, the ancient Indian philosophy, says that purusha (self, soul & mind) is not independent of prakriti (nature), and advocates a symbiotic interdependence between all life forms with all natural resources too.
India stands at a crucial juncture today. The country wants to achieve the net zero emissions target by 2070. That’s a holistic idea that implies comprehensive restoration of all the key elements (the Panchmahabhootas) of the environment. so let's understand the five key elements in a bit more detail to build a holistic approach.
- Water or ‘Jal’ is the first component of the “Panchtattavas” that can play the most crucial role in turning the wheel of restoration of all other components. All our natural Waterbodies like rivers, rivulets, canals, lakes, ponds, reservoirs (like dams) – are the conjunction points of Soil, Water and Air, and therefore need immediate attention on the path of restoration for reinstation of the native ecology.
- ‘Prithvi’ signifies soil that witnesses the tragic replacement of organic content with plastic and chemicals that caused loss of soil quality and erosion. It takes thousands of years for the natural forces to create soil; hence, sustainable practices must sink in now and focus areas should be rural and semi-urban spaces where economic activities are directly linked with soil.
- Air or ‘Vayu’ is being polluted not just by chimneys of factories and power plants alone but also through chemical-based farming and chemical-infested households. The society needs to focus on the sources of pollution that are not visible with naked eyes and yet are causing the deterioration of the air.
- Agni or ‘Fire’ denotes knowledge and anthropogenic activities. Shiv Purana describes the Five kinds of fires (Panchagni) that’s responsible for all human acts & activities, which are knowledge, courage, desire, passion and obligation. We can use this element for brain-storming, policy advisory, documentation, and making the roadmap.
- The Cosmic energy, or the “Akash Tattav” is the energy of life that run the entire planet. It’s the pulse of the planet and the energy landscape of the country is heavily tilted towards fossil fuel-based power generation, which is neither eco-friendly nor sustainable. The country increased its installed renewable energy capacity to 166 GW and narrowly missed its 2022 targets. The summit will focus on policy measures and means that could help India install 500 GW of renewables by the end of this decade, but that too needs a lot of finetuning to be holistic and sustainable.
In order to build a holistic restoration approach, we need to understand the five elements in details and build a comprehensive restoration plan. since we don't have another earth to migrate to, there's no second blue planet in our solar system.