Andamans, Durban, and us

Resetting the dial to Mother Earth

Andamans, Durban, and us
Bird's eye view

Greetings everyone!!

As mentioned in my previous post, I went on a week-long vacation to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It was a memorable and an extremely enjoyable trip. There are many places of interest and varied activities to be done. A lot more is left to be seen in this archipelago and one week is not enough.

Dressing up for scuba diving

However, I don't have any regrets. In just a week, what I did and witnessed was more than what I did in my entire life. Despite being on a wheelchair, I attempted scuba diving, travelled on a catamaran, speed boat and canoe, went to beautiful and clean beaches, saw Jarawa tribes living in the forests and visited green and luxuriant mangrove forests.

All in just one week.

It is nature's bounty in all its glory!!

I stayed in Port Blair, the capital of these islands and also visited Chidiyatapu, Havelock, Baratang, and Ross Island. One positive aspect of the islands which I noticed was that a greater proportion of people are genuinely concerned about the environment. They believed in living in sync with nature rather than against it. I was pleasantly surprised and delighted to see that the beaches in these islands are cleaned everyday. Yes, each and every day. In comparison, I have seen beaches in Mumbai, Chennai and Visakhapatnam being cleaned once a year. And it is performed with great fanfare and media coverage. You even get a certificate for taking part in it! That's the difference. This is the very reason why the beaches in the Andamans are so clean and wonderful while in cities which boast of great development and living standards, they are in such a pitiable condition.

Is this what we want? Is this the way we want our environment, our surroundings to be? Do we want our beaches to be like the ones in Havelock and Port Blair or like the ones in Mumbai and Chennai?

You decide.

Mangrove forests in Baratang

And it doesn't end with beaches. Even the monuments are taken great care of. The Cellular Jail in Port Blair is a shining example for all monuments in this country. It is very clean, and you can focus on the monument in front of you rather than the graffiti. Graffiti does exist but it is hard to find.

How do you want our national monuments to be? Clean and wonderful to behold or dirty and full of graffiti?

Again, you decide. The power is with you. Not Manmohan Singh. Not Barack Obama. Not David Cameron. You and ONLY you. Swami Vivekananda said, "All power is within you. You can do anything and everything. Believe in that." Those are pearls of wisdom.

If everybody keeps his surroundings clean, will the world (except landfills) be dirty? No. If everyone does his bit in conserving energy and fuel, I bet that global emissions will come down. Remember, "Little drops of water make a mighty ocean."

In the Andamans, people follow these principles to a certain extent. Then, why is that that we can't do it even to that extent? Is this what development has taught us? To neglect the environment? To keep yourselves clean and pollute your surroundings? Why this callousness?

And we have these leaders who are equally complacent. The just-concluded Durban COP17 conference showed how careless our leaders have become. Not just Durban but every conference has shown. Be it Copenhagen, Cancun, or Bali. They do hours and hours of negotiations and backroom talks. And what negotiations are they? To decide who will curb their emissions the least or not curb at all.

The world needs to do more regarding climate change

The attitude of India, China, and the USA was the most heart-wrenching. At a time when global warming is going at a perilous rate, these countries squabble saying that, "If he reduces emissions, I'll also reduce." Excuse me? What sort of attitude is this? On top, everyone professes concern for the environment. But in reality, this is what they do. If you are so concerned, you should take the step forward and say, "Yes, I will reduce emissions to meet such-and-such targets. I will take the lead in curbing climate change."

Countries complain that emission cuts come in the way of development. Do these countries pump in money for R & D on renewable energy? What they do is negligible. What stops these countries from marching on the path of development using clean sources of energy? The vast tracts of deserts and dry, wasteful land can be utilized for producing huge amounts of solar and wind energy. The windows of all the glass buildings of various multi-national corporations can be converted to solar cells. But nobody thinks of this. They all think how not to reduce emissions. Just lame excuses.

The future is solar and wind

Before you click away, think about these issues and sound off in the comments. Let's collaborate and save the environment!