Goa is witnessing some very distressing weather – hot and humid and driving people to take shelter indoors in the daytime. Ruminating over the situation, one realises that the scenario is getting worse every year.
Despite the negative implications of climate change already affecting economies and generally posing a grave threat to mankind, there are not many people anxious enough to make a sustained effort to reverse the problem.
There remain people for whom global climate change is low on their priority list, or there are those who believe it is best left to those in the decision-making process to find solutions.
This is very flawed thinking because all of us have had a part to play in this conundrum we now find ourselves in. It is our individual actions that have brought us close to the brink of disaster, nearly to a point of no return.
We are certainly concerned by alarming news of flooding, intense heat waves and famines, but not as concerned as we should be to impress upon our leaders that averting climate change should be their topmost priority.
All that we see at every election in poll manifestos are promises of jobs and doles to sway voters. No one really bothers to rake up the most pressing subject of climate change which will determine our future.
In the run-up to the recent Karnataka assembly elections, Reap Benefit, a non-profit organisation that works with youth and local governance, launched a Citizen War Room, comprising a toll-free helpline and a WhatsApp chatbot, for first-time voters.
Through this helpline, young voters – they constituted around 10 per cent of the total callers – asked the candidates what their stance on climate change was. This in itself showed the awareness of the youth about a subject that affects everyone on this planet.
Scientific journals and studies have proven beyond doubt that it is only human response that will ward off the dangers of climate change – and in this process, the youth are our best hope to act as a pressure group.
However, the question is whether the youth in Goa will rise and seek climate change action from their leaders. The youth have to realise that they will inherit the earth from their elders, and it has to be handed by the latter to the former in a viable condition.
Today's youth have a say in their future, and those in responsible positions can't have their way in diminishing it. This is the message the youth of Goa must send across to their political leaders. They must impress upon them that they (the leaders) will be held accountable for every hill cut across the state.
As a result of extreme heat, Goa is vulnerable to agriculture loss, a rise in the sea level and coastal erosion by 2030. So far the state has not drawn any firm plans to tackle this. Chief
Minister Pramod Sawant has, however, set a goal to ensure 100 per cent renewable energy usage across all sectors by 2050.
If that's so, then the government has to take key industry leaders from the corporate sector on board to formulate solutions. Getting everyone on board with a common goal is in itself a tough task. How the government will move forward in dealing with the issue, remains to be seen.
Being a tourism state, Goa will do well to take some firm initiatives to meet its own climate change goals and, in the process, influence its neighbours to do the same. It will require political leaders to free themselves from political compulsions that do not bode well for the fight against climate change.
Finally, it will also depend on how each one of us views climate change dangers. Almost 90 per cent of the world believes that climate change is a real danger.
It only goes to show that we have a monumental responsibility to take on, and Goa has a chance to become a role model in this endeavour.