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A stitch in time, saves nine

Published 10th February 2010 - 2 comments - 4226 views -

It all started when James Watt discovered the potential of steam and successfully installed a steam engine in 1776. Then started the industrial revolution, since then there has been a rise in demand for coal by 800times. Industrial revolution led to economic growth, improved research on medicine, science and technology.  Soon afterwards, our rate of exploiting various resources has just rapidly increased.  Two centuries later, we realize that our way of living and looking for only low-cost solutions wasn’t a great idea. 

Earth is a very complex system and we also understand that something is going very wrong. Our actions have caused climate change.There could some glitches in the proofs about certain factors, but that shouldn't be a reason to stop our efforts in adapting a sustainable lifestyle.

Its not easy to understand Earth or even any eco-system. There are knowledge gaps, yes, we still don’t know what are the various thresholds. At the same we don’t even know if we have already reached it or close to it or have already reached it! Then what is the harm is following some precautionary methods?

There is something called the carbon cycle which is a biogeochemical process in which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, pedosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth. It is one of the most important cycles of the earth and allows for the most abundant element to be recycled and reused throughout the biosphere and all of its organisms (Source wiki). It is estimated that the oceans release about 360 GT of carbon dioxide every year, the biosphere contributes another 440 GT whereas humans contribute only 26 GT of CO2. The question now that might arise is can we change anything if our contribution is so little compared to the natural cycle?

Global Carbon Cycle

Look at the system as a traffic system. The normal function of traffic lights ensure that traffic moves as smoothly and safely. Now, let me take India as an example on the increasing number of vehicles. Vehicle demands are increasing the rate of approximately 8.2% every yearsince 2000. This has caused road congestion. If we are increasing the value of something (vehicles in case of traffic coordination and CO2 in case of carbon natural flow) on one side of the equation every time, it will just get harder to reach equilibrium. That’s exactly whats happening to our system, we adding up large quantities of CO2 on one side and the quantity is increasing every year. This implies, the system will a lot of time to again reach the state of equilibrium. So, don’t you still think we stop living the way we are living now? I think we should!

What if this goes out of balance?

Knowledge gaps have created even room for controversies, but when we are sure of something and think we can avoid some of the consequences then why shouldn’t we? Assuming we cant change much, even then we should shift to a more sustainable lifestyle because we will run out of our natural resources every soon. Depleting resources have already started wars, insecurity among people. With this shift we are just providing ourselves a cleaner place to live in, cleaner air to breathe and a world with fewer problems. Isn't this inviting enough to start taking actions now? Talking about economic growth, we have to change our perspective.


Take action now!

The recent Delhi Sustainable Developmental Summit has  convinced me that we should shift to a sustainable way of life and so should developing nations, else they will repeat the same mistake like the other developed nations and suffer consequences later. And who knows, we could have actually run of time by then!


Category: Sustainable Development, | Tags: sustainability, sustainability, act now, carbon cycle,


arunpatre on 12th February 2010:

I liked the idea of bringing in James Watson influence!

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