With Kerala floods flooding not just the God’s own country but also national discourse, they have opened the floodgates of opinions.
As our first love and priority is to hate our own nation, politics and blame-game is holding the fort as yet, but I can see another group on the siege in form of environmentalists armed with barbed lances of “we-told-you-so” and “no-one-listens-to-our-advice” about to capture the fort.
When I listen to these experts, I am forced to imagine a pre-human Earth, a heavenly place filled with tranquil harmony. I can imagine herds of wild creatures cropping lush green grass under a blue sky with temperature fixed at comfortable 24 C. It is a planet where the rain always arrives at 4:37 PM just to water the plants and fill waterholes.
After listening to them, there is not an iota of doubt in my mind that pre-human Earth was a peaceful planet sans floods, storms, earthquakes, volcanoes and other violent things. It is only after the arrival of man that all the hell broke loose, literally.
I love environmental experts for their sheer mathematical genius. Though all the super-computers on earth can’t work out what will be the weather like after half-an-hour, within flat thirty second of any disaster, they can calculate with accuracy that it is a man-made disaster.
As they call almost every disaster man-made, I am forced to try my hand at their logic with an example.
If a herd of deer is regularly attacked by a lion pride and a deer is often killed, is it a deer-made disaster?
If we use the logic of the experts, it is entirely possible to blame the deer, as deer have decided to live in the area where a lion is living. Deer could have appointed a panel of experts and found out that lions are killers, and based on the advice of the experts moved away to the safety of Thar Desert.
As long as deer stay in the lion territory and get killed, experts are perfectly correct in calling the press and make a living by making statements about it being a deer-made disaster and how their expert advice is not heard.
But, if we return from the hypothetical world of experts and return to earth, there is a simple reason why deer stay alongside lions.
Real Life on Earth is not about avoiding disasters, it is about surviving them. Earth is an unsafe and risky place, and Life is all about taking calculated risks. Deer live alongside lions because in the overall calculation of Life, the risk of lions is less than the cost of surviving in the Thar Desert.
Since the arrival of man, all disasters are obviously man-made if we look only at death and destruction of men and property. But, there is a life lived between disasters. A hillside doesn’t invite men to make houses on it. People do it because it works for them. So, disaster is man-made, but only because men find it more viable to bear the cost in long run.
It is easy for environmental experts to blame the “man”, but can we really work out who this man is?
Is he the man who died because mudslide washed his home away? Is he the contractor who built the house that got washed away? Is he the man who chopped trees off the hill that led to a mudslide that washed the house away? Is he the miner who mined the hills making them weak? Is he the forest officer who was in charge of hills and trees and mines? Is he the politician-businessman who controlled mining and tree cutting? Or is he the same man who died who had voted and empowered the politician?
The entire idea of blaming humans for the problems that planet is posing is not only scientific overreach, it is also completely non-contributing in providing a solution to our problems because there is no real culprit to blame here.
At this point, the blame game being played by even well-intending environmental experts is just adding more negativity to an already vitiated atmosphere. As they appear to stand in the way of the realisation of the dream of prosperity shown to the masses, their efforts are becoming more counter-productive by the day.
If there is a real problem that needs a solution, it is human greed and hyper-exploitation of natural resources that is leading us to damage our own habitat. But, the solution to that problem is in ushering in a voluntary lifestyle change.
The planet is not going to be saved by force-stopping people using the power of the law just because environmentalists feel that they have worked it all out.
The real environmental activism would be in making people understand that this planet is not designed for its denizens to have Rolexes and Rolls Royces. It is designed to feed each of us Roti and rice every day and be happy.
Though it looks more likely that we are counting our days on this planet, if we are going to be saved, it will be by an environmentalist who holds the problem from a different end. If there will be an environmentalist really making a change, he/she will have to be preaching a new way of life instead of engaging in blame-game.
The planet is perfectly fine without a saviour, but we humans will not be. We need a messiah, and we need him/her soon, and I am sure that he/she will have to be an environmentalist.