RV Matters - 12 September 2019

What I am about to write may be controversial. But I suggest you read it objectively before drawing your own conclusions and reacting to it.

This year some of my former Environmental Science students came up with some suggestions to do something about the various environmental issues at school at their level and have started to work on some of them. This is laudable. We have several important issues plaguing us here – water shortage, plastic and other waste disposal, cutting down on electricity consumption, food waste and so on.

Yet there is one issue, a major one at that, which in my opinion we can act on fast if only we are willing to accept the facts.

Last couple of years, the number of students returning home and to school who fly rather than go by trains has increased tremendously – over 100 of them, I understand. This term, the “parties” to and from various cities (Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai) have been cancelled as many students opt to fly.

While air travel is advantageous and preferable for various reasons (“safe”, “saving time”, “cheaper” ...), the one major reason to rethink about this is the amount of carbon footprint this entails. I have been recently reading about the initiatives scientists and educators ought to take in view of the grave and imminent consequences of anthropogenic global warming. It is time we, associated with K-schools also do something about it if we are really sincere and feel we can be part of the solution. We do discuss about the problems in school ad nauseum, in a mechanical way and expect others to do something about it when we ourselves, collectively and individually, can take action.

I do wish we can do something about this immediately rather than wait for some grand and fancy-sounding solution to be rolled out by innovators and scientists working on this issue. We are running out of time and we really don’t seem to worry about this. We have started facing the consequences of this in our daily life. How long are we going to wait? We need to put with some little inconveniences now rather than trying to solve the irreparable damage we have started to unleash on our planet.

Dr Santharam