Wednesday, March 11, 2020

My City My Responsibility - Is Coronavirus an Alarm call!

Dear All, 

With all the hype and rapid spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the city made me realize that though the infection is similar to a flu it can get serious if proper sanitation and medication is not undertaken. So first things first - be alert, don't panic and get proper treatment ASAP if required!

However, I am curious if  the virus is such an evil or not! Since the virus has stepped in suddenly all the news in the country is zoomed in this issue. While all other blood boiling issues happening around the country like Delhi riots, JNU attacks, NRC and CAA, war like situation, all has taken a back seat. Everyone is sanitizing their lives, right from the corporate businesses, industrialists, governments, individuals, schools, colleges, organizations and especially media channels and newspaper agencies everyone is busy fighting this so called EVIL virus in some way or the other!

Its human nature to respond to anything that is in front of us rather than being prepared well in advance for an upcoming situation. That's also one of the reasons why our disaster management plans (DMP) and policies are reactive rather than proactive. The virus outbreak just makes it evident how we wait until a crisis hits us that badly from economic, social and physical aspect to undertake the required action.

I feel sad to say this, that unfortunately the impacts of climate change have not yet reached the mark where we faced catastrophic economic, social and physical losses that it urges all of us to come together and take the appropriate action on ground!!! We still don't realize how crucial  it is for us to gear up ourselves and fight the bigger evil of Climate Change which is probably going to wipe out humanity completely in no time! However, in a way this outbreak will help save some of the carbon emissions especially the ones caused due to the aviation industry which are almost double compared to transport via road and waterways. A lot of business/work related meetings, conferences/seminars or events are happening online which in turn will help reduce the emissions from flying, though temporary but still will have an impact! And who knows - may be people will see what is possible to achieve using the cyber space and by not traveling too much, some of these measures will stick around long term! 

But closer home - by the time we get over the virus, we are going to almost get into the monsoon season in India. The coming monsoons may be far more worse than last year. It is time we ask ourselves, are we really prepared for these situations, are we equipped to face the bigger challenges? What all we need to do well in advance to foolproof ourselves! What if we are faced with a catastrophic flood like situation devastating our lives, leaving us no where to go. What if our nearest coastal city and the economic hub like Mumbai gets submerged! Think over it. We need to have effective solutions for the long term impacts that will occur due to climate change!    
Monkey giving an alarm call when a predator is nearby

Lets take this outbreak as an Alarm call for all of us to look at the bigger crisis that we will be facing. Lets get alert and gear up ourselves not only to fight the short term crisis like Coronavirus but also the long term crisis of rapidly changing climate!!!

Any suggestions are welcome!

In order to create more awareness about climate change and its impacts we are conducting monthly workshops titled #ChallengingThanos - Countdown to Monsoon 2020. Check out our social media handles for the upcoming activities and help us build a resilient community!

Pournima Agarkar.

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vikas agarkar said...

Very well written.
It is a very serious concern.

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