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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 18, New Delhi, April 23, 2016

Thoughts on World Earth Day

Monday 25 April 2016, by Bharat Dogra


The predominant thought that comes to mind as the World Earth Day (April 22) approaches is regarding the alarming extent to which some of the most pressing problems which can damage seriously the life-creating conditions on earth are being ignored. Highly diverse life-forms have flourished to an amazing extent on our beautiful planet but tragically in recent decades the conditions for the survival of many of these life forms as well as their habitats have deteriorated rapidly. The rate of extinction of species is reported to be over 100 times higher now compared to the situation before the arrival of human beings on earth and human made factors are the predominant cause of the increasingly very serious threats posed to diverse life-forms and life-creating conditions on earth (that are currently increasing rapidly).

While this is obviously the most important issue of our times and all our policies, plans and priorities need to be based, above all, on this basic concern, this is not at all reflected in the real life events and actions of recent times. That in a such a serious survival situation weapons of mass destruction are still being manufactured and there is a race for other destructive weapons as well while the most urgent issues of environment protection do not get the due attention is indicative of the fact that the predominant value system of our world is still to dominate and not to protect. A very basic change in value-systems is required to protect life on earth. And yet this is not on the agenda at all.

Even several well-meaning and scholarly people have not yet realised the extent to which the survival crisis has advanced along many frontiers at the same time, creating a situation of critical tipping-points in many areas. Also there has been very less realisation of how issues of equality and justice have acquired a greater sense of urgency and their need has increased tremendously in the fast-evolving situation which demands, above all, that the survival threats should be resolved along lines of justice, equality and peace before it is too late.

There is a huge failure of leadership as people are not being made prepared to face the real challenges even as a lot of time, effort and resources are wasted on distorted priorities and frivolous issues. Clearly a time has come when the world simply cannot afford more delay in resolving the most urgent survival issues in a framework of peace and justice.

Bharat Dogra

C-27 Raksha Kunj, Paschim Vihar, New Delhi-110063