The world is going through a very challenging time right now. While we have our focus on the global economic crisis, Russia-Ukraine war or COVID-19, we are forgetting about the great challenges that are being imposed by the Mother Nature throughout the world. The wrath of nature is not considering if a country is in the category of developed, developing or least developed countries. It is also not considering if a country is rich or not. Hence, along with other issues, the global leaders must put the best of their attention to the environmental causes at earliest as this problem may enhance the existing crisis to a great extent.
Our environment is constantly changing. There is no denying that fact. However, as our environment changes, so does the need to become increasingly aware of the problems that surround it. With a massive influx of natural disasters, warming and cooling periods, different types of weather patterns and much more, people need to be aware of what types of environmental problems our planet is facing.
Global warming has become an undisputed fact about our current livelihoods; our planet is warming up and we are definitely part of the problem. However, this isn’t the only environmental problem that we should be concerned about. All across the world, people are facing a wealth of new and challenging environmental problems every day. Some of them are small and only affect a few ecosystems, but others are drastically changing the landscape of what we already know.
We are currently facing different types of environmental challenges including different types of pollution, soil degradation, overpopulation, global warming, natural resource depletion, unsustainable waste generation, waste disposal, deforestation, polar ice caps, loss of biodiversity, climate change, ocean acidification, nitrogen cycle, ozone layer depletion, acid rain, water pollution, overfishing, urban sprawl, public health issues etc. All these factors are creating a lot of trouble for the world and we need to change our policies to address the environmental damages though not all of these are in human’s hand.
On June, 1988, climate scientist James Hansen testified in front of a committee of the US Senate, telling those assembled that “the greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now”. Today, more than three decades later, the US Congress is poised to pass the first major climate legislation in US history as part of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022. The bill, which has passed in the Senate, directs billions of dollars into clean-energy technology in an attempt to push the country toward President Joe Biden’s ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 50 percent by 2030. Experts however estimate the IRA will reduce emissions by about 30 to 40 percent.
Meeting that goal is necessary to help the world avoid the worst consequences of global warming by keeping the rise in global temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius and ideally less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures. The global average temperature has already risen by about one degree Celsius above that baseline and so time is of the essence in tackling the climate emergency. The US administration has so far ignored the environmental crisis to a great extent but the move of the Biden administration is praiseworthy if they keep committed to the cause.
England is facing the driest first half of the year since 1976. Water restrictions have been imposed across nearly all of France’s 96 mainland regions. Most part of EU and US is under a drought warning. An estimated 55 million people are directly affected by droughts across the world every year, with Africa the worst-affected continent for severity, said a UN report published in May.The head of the European Space Agency (ESA) has warned economic damage from heat waves and drought could dwarf Europe’s energy crisis as he called for urgent action to tackle climate change. Successive heat waves along with wildfires, shrinking rivers and rising land temperatures as measured from space left no doubt about the toll on agriculture and other industries from climate change. In Spain, a prolonged dry spell made July the hottest month since at least 1961. Britain recently issued new “Extreme Heat” warning. That follows record temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) that placed a renewed focus on climate risks.
Not only Europe or the US, but several other countries are facing critical environmental challenges all around Africa, Asia, South America, Middle East etc. in the form of sudden flood, volcanic eruption, sink hole, earthquake, cyclone etc. Australia has experienced one of the greatest wildfire in history in recent months, Turkey and some other country is seeing more and more sinkholes, several countries including Bangladesh has experienced heavy floods, several countries have experienced volcanic eruptions, earthquake is striking at different countries, people are dying at numbers in Europe due to heat wave and many more. The biodiversity is being destroyed to a great extent. Hence, no living creature on earth is fully safe right now.
Moreover, with the current Russia-Ukraine war, which is actually a conflict between the US and Russia, the world is in greater environmental danger. Both the US and Russia controls a large part of oil and gas supply to the rest of the world. But this war is disrupting the energy supply to many countries. Hence, different countries are getting bound to use different sources to create energy and many of these sources like; coal or biomass is not friendly to the environment. Hence, it is important that, despite the war, the world has access to the clean energy as well as food so that the environmental damage could be minimum.
Recently, the general secretary of Awami League, the ruling party of Bangladesh, Obaidul Kader pointed at the global environmental crisis while addressing the economic crisis in Bangladesh and many other countries of the world. Rightly as he identified, if the environmental issues keep inclining, the economic crisis will also incline at a high rate as agriculture and production will be hampered. This is an extremely dangerous situation for the whole world.
Today we are too concerned with the global power game and the economic crisis. But we are forgetting the real menace. The global leaders must learn from their mistakes and commit their highest effort to the environmental causes. If they are not concerned yet, we do not know what will happen to the world as we know it. Bangladesh has been an advocate of global climate change as we are leading different climate platforms for several years under the leadership of Prime minister Sheikh Hasina. But the commitment of few countries cannot bring any result.
The countries, with large number of industries must act strongly to reduce the environmental damages. Use of all substances, damaging to the environment, must be stopped immediately. We should eliminate different factors that increase the heat on the surface of the earth. The governments must act hard to reduce all sorts of pollutions. Waste management in an eco-friendly way must be promoted and adopted. We must proactively work to protect biodiversity also. Along with those, there are many things that the global leaders must do to save the environment as well as to save mankind from the wrath of the nature.
The world leaders must understand the severity of the situation and will act fast. If we could have taken required steps 20 years back, then the situation of today could have been avoided. Hence, we must not be late anymore to address the environmental challenges. If we do not pay proper respect to the nature, we must suffer as the worst is approaching fast.
We hope we will be able to bring Mother Nature on our side once again soon.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Chief Patron, Bangabandhu Shishu Kishore Mela