It takes two hands to clap and make a noise! For any positive action to save the environment, we need relevant forces to come together to bring about the desired change.
The point being emphasised here is that in the face of climate change warnings, what we need are political promises that come with policy decisions and actions to save the environment.
The draft Goa State Energy Vision Document 2050 is a step in the right direction. However, there is work to do to achieve what is promised in print – mere words will not count.
As per this document, the state will set out on the road to harnessing its renewable energy sources to the fullest extent possible and becoming completely reliant upon them.
Good! But first, let us look at the ground reality. If this energy vision document is aimed at staving off the fears of climate change, then what we need is a holistic approach and not a piecemeal one.
This energy vision document is definitely good, but it is just a small part of the overall commitment to meet the state's climate change goals.
Like several states, Goa too is in the firing line of global warming as it will predictably witness heat waves by 2040. We already saw a small trailer on March 10 and 11 when people experienced a heat wave in the state.
Also, we cannot brush aside the Mhadei forest fires that raged for around 10 days. We cannot hide behind the consolation that the fires were manmade. They were a warning to the state authorities and a time to now ponder over our inadequate fire preparedness.
Also, it is time for the government to seriously look into the issue of declaring Mhadei as a tiger reserve. A tiger reserve will mean a bounden duty to preserve Goa's forests for posterity.
Karnataka, which is hell-bent on diverting River Mhadei’s water, has to realise that a tiger reserve will benefit both states and help them fight climate change collectively.
Diverting water requires infrastructure for which forest areas have to be cleared of trees. Clearing trees results in lowering the carbon absorption capacity of a forest. Cutting down trees means that the trapped carbon will find its way back into the atmosphere.
Goa must be thankful it has a very healthy forest cover (around 60 per cent) which ensures we get good coverage of rainfall that meets our water needs.
No one is denying climate change, but the actions required to slow it down are not coming in as fast as expected. What we need are leaders and politicians to rise and come to a consensus on the subject.
The state authorities will do well to involve all in the fight to save the environment, which in turn will mitigate the effects of climate change.
It is also time for individuals, companies and organisations to act responsibly and join hands fast to fight climate change. It is now time for self-awareness or to keep moving towards unseen danger. The choice is ours.