Let’s break climate change down into three major problems it’s going to create


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I was astonished at the searing weather in Bengaluru, during a recent visit because during much of my adolescent life, it was an escape from scorching Hyderabad, especially during the school’s summer Automotive molds Suppliers I was astonished at the searing weather in Bengaluru, during a recent visit because during much of my adolescent life, it was an escape from scorching Hyderabad, especially during the school’s summer vacations. I had just walked into a lecture hall at the Indian Institute of Science cursing climate change. Serendipitously, the conference I had decided to attend was on innovative design solutions against climate change. There, started a brief but worrying peek into what our future is most likely to be. I’m not going to involve you in a discussion on whether climate change is real or not, I will assume that you believe it to be true. I’d rather move the discussion into what climate change means in terms of ground realities, and how we can begin to brace for impact.

Let’s break climate change down into three major problems it’s going to create: a water shortage, an energy crisis and a full-blow healthcare crisis. ‘We are becoming a couch-potato economy’, said the keynote speaker, a scientist at a premier university in India. His point hit the hammer right on the problem’s proverbial head. We are becoming intrinsically lazy as a race. He elucidates this with an example: Approximately 95 per cent of all milk in India is distributed in packets. Less than a decade ago, households stored the plastic packets milk came in, washed it with water, and sold them back for petty change to the plasticwallah who would then help in the recycling process. Now, people buy packets of milk from the supermarket and then just chuck them into the bin. What does this person think It’s just one packet. But it’s not one packet, it’s 95 per cent of all milk distribution in the country. Another major cause of lazy living is the purchase of water bottles. I remember as a child, when we used to take long road journeys from Hyderabad to Bengaluru, we used to carry a large water canteen with filtered water. Does anyone do that anymore , wondered another speaker. We’re living wastefully. Buy a bottle of water, drink that water, throw that bottle, and buy another one. While designers look to break the circle at some point and create a reusable solution, the speaker asked why do we have this system in the first place And what is this factitious phrase ‘Mineral water’ Doesn’t most filtered water also contain minerals While my country and others struggle with water shortage, we have become picky about brands.

Shouldn’t the most vital constituent of our body, water, be isolated from the clutches of capitalistic FMCGs Medical science has in recent years focussed on reducing the mortality rate and improving morbidity. We create breakthrough drugs to allow people to live longer, but do they ensure that we live healthily Asked the next speaker, ‘Why are we so focussed on creating a world of pill poppers than asking people to walk more ’ To stop using the elevator that often To eat healthy food “We’re a 10,000-year-old country, we know how to eat healthy,” he said while explaining the benefits of millets like ragi and jowar. But how many of us actually eat this stuff Can most of us even survive on a diet other than that of meat, rice, wheat or potato When you ask a young person, what greens he likes, he’s most likely to say ‘palak’, as if that’s the only leaf he knows. Prevention is better than cure, but we’ve become too lazy to be cautious, and medicines have become cheap enough for us to only look at curative measures. I could go on, but I’d rather stop here. The rest of the world has begun to brace itself for impending problems through innovation.

In Israel, a company called WaterGen is acquiring water from humidity in the air. Companies like Audi and Shell have begun researching bio-diesels with the former creating diesel from the carbon dioxide present in the air, and the latter creating it from wet waste. In fact, most of the developed world has started spending large sums and resources on RD. As Indians, till now we have only seen the microcosm of problems that exist in this world: how to deliver goods easily, how to leverage the internet, etc. The companies we laud are the ones that make us more lazy and less adventurous. Herein lies the largest problem: how do we make people care before it’s too late That’s where design comes in. India has always been a country that respected the environment, and maybe the answer to much of our problems isn’t to take a step forward, but a step backward into a more environmentally-conservative state.The author can be reached on bhairav.shankar@gmail.com