The surrogate PM of the republic wearing his ‘linet roupi’ is a self-appointed salesman of neoliberal dreams which are in fact the planet’s nightmare. While the youths of the world from Delhi to Washington, from Port Louis to Manila are telling the political leaders that ‘they are not doing enough’; while top scientists and intellectuals are saying that we must talk of ‘climate crisis or climate emergency’ instead of the soft ‘climate change’, that the issue is no longer ‘global warming’ but ‘global heating’, our leaders in government and opposition (excluding the radical left) are proposing ‘be rich’ as their favourite mantra.
What are the genuine leaders of the world saying?
[1. The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, talked of the “climate crisis” in September, adding: “We face a direct existential threat.” The climate scientist Prof Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a former adviser to Angela Merkel, the EU and the pope, also uses “climate crisis”.
2. In December, Prof Richard Betts, who leads the Met Office’s climate research, said “global heating” was a more accurate term than “global warming” to describe the changes taking place to the world’s climate. In the political world, UK MPs recently endorsed the Labour party’s declaration of a “climate emergency”.
3. The scale of the climate and wildlife crises has been laid bare by two landmark reports from the world’s scientists. In October, they said carbon emissions must halve by 2030 to avoid even greater risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. In May, global scientists said human society was in jeopardy from the accelerating annihilation of wildlife and destruction of the ecosystems that support all life on Earth.
4. Other terms that have been updated, including the use of “wildlife” rather than “biodiversity”, “fish populations” instead of “fish stocks” and “climate science denier” rather than “climate sceptic”. In September, the BBC accepted it gets coverage of climate change “wrong too often” and told staff: “You do not need a ‘denier’ to balance the debate.”
5. Earlier in May, Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who has inspired school strikes for climate around the globe, said: “It’s 2019. Can we all now call it what it is: climate breakdown, climate crisis, climate emergency, ecological breakdown, ecological crisis and ecological emergency?”] The Guardian, 20.09.19
Blind leaders wearing rupee glasses and having a mid-20th century mindset cannot grasp the gravity of the situation. We have to anticipate the following:
• Besides frequent violent cyclones, we must be prepared to face periods of droughts and its opposite, flashfloods.
• Food shortage due to dependence on imported food will have to be tackled. ‘Grow what you eat and eat what you grow’ will have to become the national food culture. Land use must change.
• Renewables must replace fossil fuels.
• Mass education and literacy will be needed to help people face the new reality.
• With the rise in sea level, Port Louis and all coastal regions will be in deep trouble. The tourist industry as we know it will be most affected.
These problems will come sooner than expected. We must start getting ready NOW.
Instead of selling dreams of wealth to a non-literate population, let us start building resilience in the face of calamities to come. Neoliberalism and globalization are now showing their real face. A handful of mega rich rule the world while the poor are getting poorer and are facing the hardest of hard times.
We must think and act individually and collectively and pray the Universal Holy Spirit to guide us.
Pope Francis’ universal prayer can be the first step to enlightenment but salvation demands urgent, radical and robust action.
Geri nou lespri pou ki nou kapav
Okip nou planet, aret fer piyaz;
Pou ki nou kapav sem lagren boté,
Anpes polision ek destriksion fané.
Geri nou leker pou ki nou aret
Rod zis nou profi pandan ki bann pov
Ek planet Later pe kriyé-ploré.
Ouver nou lespri pou ki nou konpran
Valer sak kiksoz; gid nou santiman
Pou ki nou konpran linité beni
Ant nou ek tou kreatir liniver…
Ed nou pou konstrir enn lemonn meyer
Kot ena lamour, lapé, lazistis.