Friday, July 1, 2011



Larry King said, “Nobody cares about fifty years from now”.
                     -- Quoted by James Hansen in Storms of My Grandchildren

Intellectual Satyagraha  -  the need of our hour                8.6.2011

When you look at the vast social deception and ecological destruction taking place in the whole world today one has to be honest that the good guys are losing. The loss is one upon which the future of humanity rests.  The trend must be reversed, the battle for information must be fought with the aid of the Internet (which I have called Intellectual Satyagraha),  and this desperate last hour for humanity has come because our species, while evolving dramatically since the industrial revolution / age of enlightenment  a little over two centuries back  (on the loot of South America and the age of colonialism and its loot) has evolved rapidly in technology  but not in human intelligence or compassion, or those areas of development recognized as attributes in the classical world  -- spirituality and humanism. As the result of this one-sided development of the human environment the planet has been fuelled to fulfill the industrial growth economy, and the planet has been ecologically destroyed until today a point of No Return has been decisively reached.

We are creating a fictitious future for our grandchildren and even our adult children since the scientific concensus gives ourselves and our once blue-green planet at most a couple of decades before terminal survival conditions ensue. The challenge we face is greater than that of the free world in 1939 from Nazi Fascism. In the war we are to fight bombs and aeroplanes are not our weapons but our enemies. We have to turn to Reason and to the Internet as the ultimate source of global information and communication and connectivity between ourselves to challenge the monstrous masters of GROWTH.  This struggle to hold to the truth is Intellectual Satyagraha which must increasingly become an international movement for change.It is the response of organized intelligence against the seemingly unlimited economic and military power of organized destruction of the planet we live on, and which is our only home we have in space which is presently accessible to us.

Economics and Development

“In secret postwar planning, each part of the world was assigned its specific role.Thus the “major function” of Southeast Asia was to provide raw materials for the industrial powers. Africa was to be “exploited” by Europe for its own recovery. And so on, through the world.”
  (Noam Chomsky, Profit Over People,1999, p.22)

As long as India follows the present government’s path of economic industrial growth it will perforce employ Neo-liberalism in politics and growth of the nation’s economy without consideration of the nation’s social and environmental welfare. This is because Neo-liberalism is growth oriented (Chomsky, 1999 Profit Over People) . Only when a government’s policy is returned from economic growth to social growth  will the government listen to the people’s voice, and which neo-liberals contemptuously refer to as “street democracy”.It is expected by the Establishment that it must be with the people as it is with the order Canis that submission implies consent, and if this is not so in fact, then it must be attained for the smooth functioning of “democracy” and national “growth”.

Today India is forging ahead with neo-liberalism and the people have to be displaced to get at the nation’s oil, mineral and ores wealth which are rapidly being exploited for economic gain both by India and the foreign banks which loan to the nation and dictate terms, and of course the corporates and middlemen involved in  industrial exploitation and negotiation.  These have become the new masters in an age of new colonization  and have become wealthy even as the nation and its peoples have become commensurately poorer. The worst affected have been India’s tribals who live in the mountains and river valleys of forested India where the natural resources essentially lie in the ground. They have been ruthlessly displaced and  have become a large drifting mass of identyless peoples within the gigantic mass of this ancient, slumbering nation unable to identify the relationship between its past and its future, like a boat leaderless and rudderless on the surface of a great flood surging towards the open ocean. It is a tragedy of classic proportions, one vastly magnified in the context of Global Warming.

Global warming

Models indicate that warming over Greenland is likely to be of a magnitude that would eventually lead to a virtually complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet, with a resulting sea-level rise of about seven meters (23 feet).

                                                                       -- (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, 2004)

“The peak rate of deglaciation following the last Ice Age was … about one meter (39 inches) of sea-level rise every 20 years, which was maintained for several centuries. 

                 --(James Hansen, director, Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA), 2004)

The hype about calculating gross domestic product (GDP) is that it does not consider costs to the natural environment in destruction of natural resources, nor does it consider costs of pollution of natural resources – for example pumping vast industrial emissions of carbon dioxide into the planet’s atmosphere.

According to the Paris-based International Energy Agency  industrial energy-related carbon emissions  into  the atmosphere topped 30 thousand billion metric tones ( or, 30 Gigatons) which represented a 5% increase since the last figure recorded three years back in 2008. Energy investments in oil and coal are the cause of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels which are leading to terminal state of the planet and human societies everywhere in the opinion of scientific experts (James Hansen, Storms of my Grandchildren, Nicholas Stern, The Final Century). Continued  release of increasing quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere caused by burning of coal and oil is no longer justifiable even on national growth economic grounds. It is well proven that trapped atmospheric carbon dioxide captures the heat of the sun’s infra-red rays and warms the  planet’s sea level temperatures causing changes in the natural wind currents, monsoonal currents, and extreme weather conditions such as evidenced by climate change. Record breaking heat waves will be normal  and searing droughts will rage and  underground water  reserves will evaporate. With rising tropical sea surface temperatures relentless super- hurricane intensity will increase, hurricanes, tornadoes and Tsunamis  will become common. Even violent volcanic eruptions are increasing and Deniers refuse to link this with global warming and climate change. Melting of glaciers will result in drought in great river valleys and the salination of the remaining water system. A further hazard caused by this “global warming” is the melting of the Tundra beds in the Arctic region beneath which there is so much methane gas that if released  it would almost instantly double the greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere and with the loss of the oceans and Amazon sinks could lead to a tripling of carbon dioxide levels in a very short time leading to  terminal weather and climate conditions for our planet and its inhabitants. A continued rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide at present rates even if not increasing ( as statistics say it must according to present industrial growth rates) will anyway lead to such terminal conditions within the middle of the present century. The world’s oceans and the Amazon forests were the world’s great carbon sinks. The Amazon is fast disappearing with other rainforests due to logging for pasture and plantations and the oceans have already warmed 44% according to scientific reports turning them into deadly carbon emitters as the life forms in the seas slowly die… Ice caps in the Arctic and Antarctic are rapidly melting presenting the certainty of predicted sea-level rise at the rate of one foot per year al coastlines will inundate coastal cities and societies and reshape continents. Human displacement due to extreme weather is estimated at half a billion within the next two decades. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is presently nearing 500 parts per million which is enough reason to panic now. This is double the pre-industrial level. And another 50 ppm will be a terminal scenario. The big question is “Why have governments hidden the truth from the citizenry, and why has the all-intrusive media been silent about global warming and the end of life approaching the world ?”  This is a classic case of “diplomacy”. After the industrial machine dies of its own accord it has been estimated that it will take a quarter million years before life as it is known could return to the planet. Why is humanity not responding ? Because science and technology have taken from the common man the power of implementing change and given this power to the vast corporate, political and economic leadership. Whichever way you look at the problem it is the growth of liberal economics, or, the economics of liberal growth. The selfish are out to save their skins and side with the winners despite the fact they are ignoring the truth that  their actions are dooming the lives of present and future generations en masse on a planetary scale within the next four decades.

This is where the Internet can be the salvation of our society. It can give information and transfer information, it can unite peoples everywhere and awaken them to the relentless attack upon  “the undernourished, the impoverished, and the poor”. The average educated person must realize the dangers ahead and learn for himself or herself the extent of the danger to their family. They must go to the Internet and study, or buy a book on the subject.Arthur Rosenfeld, himself a leading environmentalist, has written about Joseph Romm’s book HELL AND HIGH WATER (Harper Perennial2007, N.Y.) “If you buy only one book about global warming, make it Hell and High Water.”

                                                                                      BULU  IMAM

No comments:

Post a Comment