A PLEA TO SAVE OURSELVES

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Palzom Tenzing Pradhan

Earth has formed around 4.5 billion years ago, and during its development, it had existed in various forms. At times, it had existed as an ice house with its entire surface is covered with frozen ice, and at other times, it had existed with molten lava, making the Earth much warmer than it is now. Earth took 200,000 years to cool down, but today, it is warming again, and we are responsible for this.

Reckless human activities are not just warming planet and changing the climate but are also altering the Earth’s ability to sustain the lives of human and nine million species living on it.

It is easy for most of us to forget the rarity of occurrence of life on Earth. Of the eight planets in our solar system ̶ International Astronomical Union decided Pluto call as a ‘dwarf planet’, and reduced the list of ‘real planets’ in our solar system to eight ̶ Earth is the only planet where humans can live.

Innumerable conditions have coincided to make possibilities of life on this planet such as a location of Earth in the habitable zone in our solar system and galaxy, nonoccurrence of celestial catastrophes like supernovae, extreme radiation and heat, proximity to the Sun, and the presence of oxygen in the atmosphere.

The minute probability of all these ingredients coming together to form the planet and originate life is no less than a miracle. Thus, Earth is a gift to us and should be treasured and cherished. However, we are not doing this but are treating this planet disgracefully. Our current lifestyles are severely disrupting the Earth’s potential to continue providing life-giving essentials like food, water, temperature, fibre, and others.

It is estimated that in 2030, the temperature of Earth will rise by three degrees, and the sea level will increase by four and a half inches. If this happens, glacial melting, erratic rain, droughts, famine, hurricanes, tsunamis and other calamities will be frequent phenomena.

In 2007, we lost 40 per cent of Arctic ice, which acts as a temperature buffer for our planet that reflects 80 per cent of the sunlight back to space. Once all the ice is gone, the oceans will heat up dramatically, and global weather patterns, wind flows, and water availability will be affected at an unimaginable scale.

Earth has looked out for itself for the last 4.5 billion years but now, we have to take care of it and save the planet in order to ‘save ourselves’.

The writer heads an advocacy program in Climate Alliance of Himalayan Communities, an organization that works to amplify the voices of Himalayan communities, and spur greater participation of mountain communities in social and environmental activities and influence their lives.

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