These lines are being written on Basant Panchami, a day whose significance is widely acknowledged not only on the spiritual calendar of India but technically even in the climatic calendar. The people who had a social orientation in the British version of Indian climate were known to dawn their winter suits in the larger part of North India on the 1st of November. However, the declaration of the closure of winter took place on the 5th day of the Basantritu (season). To mark the festive spirit of the change, the men wore mulmul fabrics and the women donned a dress in yellow colour. There was gaiety in the air and many places celebrated it with the worship of Goddess Saraswati and a smattering of religiosity. Marigolds were the favourite flower-marked again by their deep yellow hew.
Over a period, the idiom has undergone some change. Some of the changes, a few lay at the doors of climate change. Illustratively, in many parts of North India, on Basant Panchmi the daily temperatures are such that wearing light clothes of summer can be a matter of daring. They lay it at the doors of climatic change. Whether climate has changed or not is something on which the jury is still out but seasons are not always as predictable as they used to be. The conservationists very often end with reflections on the changes in energy sources, patterns and fallouts.
Green is the favourite colour in energy matters today. Notwithstanding the fashionable talk of ‘green energy’, no airlines, no railways, no large production lines of industry seem to be using green energy in any significant way. Reliance on conventional sources of energy is still the theme and even in the so called post pandemic scenario there is a strong likelihood of carbon rebound. Both formally and informally plans are afoot for resources being ploughed back into carbon related industry.
Like it always happens, when a new fashion appears overnight specialists turn up. Vaccines are the current favourite.
Even if one were to overlook the ground conditions, for the sake of scenario building, at the level of governance from US to China, there is little cognisance of new modes of governance for funnelling of fresh investments for energy usage. The re-doing of the shopfloors of industry with a green energy base if a far cry!
Those in the business of managing business have to recognise the ground conditions. This is part of the much needed and inevitable ‘reality check’
There are other harsh realities. The last seven years have been the seven warmest years for the planet since 1880. Global warming faces the human race, as never before in planetary history.
Responding to this change cannot be a matter of efforts at seminars, webinars or other endeavours often seeking personal visibility. Like it always happens, when a new fashion appears overnight specialists turn up. Vaccines are the current favourite. Aesthetic, one almost said ‘delightful designs’ are proclaiming webinars led by geriatric leaders, aspiring middle aged people and newly emerging youth. By implication they claim special knowledge on vaccines, its rollout and more. There is nothing wrong with that. New age fashions attract, eternally, much in the same manner as gender attraction. Such is human predisposition.
At a more serious level the problem is that such crowding of ‘nouveau’ experts can cause losing of the plot, itself. Not enough people are really, absolutely, certain of predictable efficacy, durability and range of Covid vaccines. However, it has in the last some months become one of the biggest industries. The millions of dollars riding on it will ensure that the media, the elite clubs and whatever goes with them, would be wallowing in promoting vaccines.
Precedence’s are well known even though, imperially, the learning from precedence’s is rather low. One is referring to what has been done to alternate sources of energy and talk related to it, in the last twenty years. ‘Sustaining change’ has been the favourite slogan even though change had hardly begun. Ecosystem approach was the fashion even as huge forest fires raged in South America. It led to much drama. The history of Homo sapiens is a testimony to the fact that when there is human drama, conspiracy theories are never far behind. The media played its role and the raging debate was, was it a genuine fire or deliberately engineered? Who could or did gain?
The truth is simple. Sometimes, so simple as to arouse credulousness! Little change takes place unless one realises the fault lines of folly. No sustainable change is possible unless it can demonstrate visible advantages of change in comprehensible spans of individual human life. Perhaps the time has come for an authentic reality check.