Saturday, 12 November 2011

Past-Present-Future?

Recently, our species have reached 7 billion and the count is still on. Have you visited http://www.worldometers.info/?

We are the world

It is equally scary and delightful, just watching the numbers change. Be it human population, number of cars and computers produced this year or the huge sums spent on healthcare, education and military.

Let us stop for a moment and review what is happening around planet Earth - the only home, we know a bit of.
  • American and European nations are being convulsed with people protesting about declining job availability, corporate greed and bad economic policies 
  • Arab nations are being convulsed with people protesting and fighting for democracy 
  • African nations are seeing humanitarian crises with people decimated in the race to plunder, loot and exploit existing natural resources
  • While some Asian nations like China and India seem to be forging a state of continued growth yet battle at reaching the benefits to the masses
Interestingly, vast ever growing populations housed in the countries like India consume far less energy compared to a minuscule percentage of people in developed countries who consume majority of the current resources. This will not remain the case, forever. The hunger for energy is directly and proportionately linked to quality of life.

Recently, I was reading about a great race in the Gobi desert, Mongolia. Stated as the final frontier. Where huge corporations are racing to retrieve tons of mineral ores and other riches from the earth. Shaking up the ecosystem, as it were. All of this, simply because of the insatiable demand that people like us make. Everyday. Every minute.

A simple example. With Diwali having just gone, Christmas and New Year in the offing, people like us are turning to e-cards, as a way of conveying our wishes in an ecologically friendlier manner to our family and friends located elsewhere. We think that by sending an e-card, we are saving the earth by not requiring more trees to be cut down for making paper, by not require petroleum products like paints and plastics, etc. However, every e-card requires energy to be stored and sent as data across servers worldwide. All of the servers require electricity and air conditioning further adds on to the energy demand. This is met through coal fired, thermal or nuclear based electricity generation plants. Where's the ecology friendliness in this?

Last week, as I was waiting for my turn to provide my fingerprint and iris scan details to the Indian government - Aadhaar scheme, I was observing the number of school children milling around the bus stop nearby. There are at least 3 largish secondary schools near this rural Indian location. If I take this example as a microcosm of what is happening in the India, China and the other parts of the world, I begin to get a bit scared as much as smile.

The smile, because there is a young future working population who will be around in the next decade and that bodes well for our economies which are dependent on these replacement populations, contributing to the economic prosperity. At the same time, scared/feeling challenged, because there are so many hands coming into the market and we need to ensure they have jobs to do, salaries to earn and an environment to prosper in.

Meantime, political parties are engaged in making the most of any possible situation, be it the 'occupy wall street' protests, the 'fuel' price hike dilemma, the 'nuclear' concern, the Eurozone crisis and more... all about today. Financial behemoths are no better. Moody's decides to downgrade the Indian banking system while Standard & Poor decide to upgrade it. Result: tirades of negative and positive responses across the system. Again, it is all about today.


When will we stop bickering about the present and start focussing on the future? I am not condoning the past, nor stating that we let go of a present negative situation, but unless we start thinking about tomorrow and work towards where we want to get, we are forever doomed to remain mired in the past and the present. Isn't it?

4 comments:

  1. Very relevant post about our global situation. Aye Zindagi!

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  2. Thanks Varun. If we all keep our hearts and minds on the right track, I'd like to think we can really make a difference and achieve a better world.

    Read the Aye Zindagi! post. Nice one. Good luck with the contest :)

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  3. I agree Anish, my generation never really looked forward, I think they are too scared to think about the future, but not too scared to lie about it. Dave

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  4. Indeed Dave, looking ahead was and is never easy. However, the 'live for today factor' is quite obviously visible across a broad spectrum of choices that current generations are making. And by lying it not just us, but our future generations who will bear the results - is this the legacy we want to leave?

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Your comments are welcome. I am all ears.