The Moral Imperatives Implicit In Global Warming

Global Warming has evoked different reactions from different people, some of them are rationale, but many not so. Politics, greed and blame game seem to be the order of the day, with some leaders getting caught in the temptations of cheap populism. Perhaps, this needs a strong movement to bring moral imperatives back to the equation. While markets are a good thing, survival is more important. We owe it to humanity.
The Moral Imperatives Implicit in Global Warming
Source - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AGISS_temperature_2000-09.png)

The sense of urgency that had begun to be perceived a few years back is largely fading away across the world, as policy makers struggle with more urgent problems like recession, and common folk worry about their jobs, incomes and social security. Leaders are resorting to populism, and are reluctant to cut down fossil fuel consumption that is essential to address the crisis. Passing the buck to developing countries is the new trend, completely ignoring that the benefits of industrialization and its privileges were associated with the sins of environmental damage that went hand in hand with industrialization. In all

the noise, the issue is getting lost and maybe, with it the opportunity to redeem ourselves. It seems that the moral imperatives are beginning to take their toll.

 

The Last Chance...

It seems that the humanity is on its way to losing its fight to survive the challenge of global warming and climate challenge.

While we work, or rather quarrel our way on a path that could potentially lead to the death of our civilization, that one last chance of redeeming the situation seem to be slowly sipping away from our grasp. If we really intend to avoid disaster, now is the time to act. But we can move in the right direction only when we know where we went wrong. As of now, it seems that from the masses to the leaders, everyone is happy playing the game of international politics, where those with means try to push their weight to shift the blame to the less privileged, even while knowing fully well, that their privileges and prosperity arose from industrialization, which was the real culprit in creation of this mess.

If there has been a time to revert to morality, this is it. The difference between what is right and what is wrong is the fundamental basis of a civilization’s survival. Although, today the world is becoming more of a market and less of a civilization, we must not forget that markets give us prosperity, but survival is impossible without the civilization and its moral strengths. These strengths are derived from our ability to recognize what is true, what is correct and what must be done to ensure our survival.

When Consumption and Possessions get Precedence over Virtues

As a civilization, we need to acknowledge the blunders we have committed by confusing 'what we have' with 'what we are.' In our obsession for having more objects for consumption and possession, and by equating the success of our life with our ability to consume, we have foolishly ignored the virtues of character, discipline and wisdom. Our short sighted lust has even made us blind to the process of self destruction that we are gradually imposing on ourselves by our greedy consumption and individualism. We need to realize that the other name of extremely selfish opportunism that destroys everything is 'stupidity'!

A Dangerous Shortsightedness

Each of us has a short life, and probably this is the primary reason for our short sightedness. Perhaps, it does not allow us to look beyond our own life span. That is why, even after we have been told all about the damage our blind quest for greedy consumption and possessions is going to cause, we are yet to see a single call for modifying our consumerist tendencies or greed.

While we talk about finding alternative fuels; while we discuss ways and means of improving technology, and while we leave no stone unturned in placing the blame of global warming on politicians, industrialists, governments, other countries and everyone else, we coolly forget that we are just about as much responsible for this environmental mess. We conveniently ignore that every time we chose to casually spend energy for the sake of our small convenience, amusement or just as part of our habits, we push another nail in the coffin of humanity.

Limitations of Market

Market is perhaps the biggest by-product of the great scientific and technological advances and achievements of


the last few centuries. Market allows us to exchange our possessions in a way that maximize our welfare, but market also converts the focus of our whole existence away from 'what we are' to 'what we possess.' Once the possessions and wealth become the hallmark of our success and achievement, the successive generations cannot live without consumerism, even though it does not make them any happier than the ones that lived without it.

Legacies of the Mess

One of most astonishing features of the global warming crisis is the absolute silence of the global community on how this has been brought on us. Completely ignored is the fact that escalation in fossil fuel consumption was the an associated by-product of the industrial age, and the biggest culprits in the process were same people who derived the greatest benefits from industrialization. Ironically, those who are prosperous today, and were powerful yesterday to rule the rest of the world, on the basis of exploitation of environment continue to consider it their birth right to consume more with little respect for what it will result in. Politics, votes, economics.... there is hardly any justifiable excuse that can possibly explain the arrogance and indifference of such people to the challenge that threatens the whole humanity today.

The minimum one would expect from anyone having an iota of conscience, that there would be an acknowledgement that those who benefited from massive fossil fuel consumption over the last few centuries have also contributed to this mess, and at least now, would be willing to correct their mistakes. What happens instead is a shameless blame game, where those who continue to pollute the climate with their luxurious lifestyles, seek more sacrifices from the underprivileged. It must be a long while now, when such shameless immorality had ruled the privileged communities of the world with such impunity!

One thing that becomes clear in the process that unless greed is curtailed, nothing will work. It is also apparent more than ever, that we need to go back to our civilizational roots, and our age old values of self discipline and self sacrifice, in order to save the day for our future generations.

Now is the Time to Act

Life, satisfaction and happiness are too complex and far too elusive to be achieved by consuming or possessing alone. Thus, even when we consume more and more, the net effect is little else than an addiction to indulge and obtain some more. Soon, we seize to exist for a cause, or a goal, or honor, or even our own civilization, as we become incapable of looking beyond our own little nose, and our precious life is caught and captured in a whirl of more, more and more.

Without undermining the significance of cleaner fuel, more fuel efficient technology and greater preparedness for the impending disasters, we also need to look at our own existence and behavior as well. While we still have time, we need to mend our ways for the sake of our children and their successive generations. Unless we can get rid of our obsession with material possessions and consumption, the fate of our next generations will continue to remain jeopardized.

We need to tackle our quest for consumerism today. We need to learn to be happy with less and not more, and we need to realize that unless we give up some of our comforts and selfishness today, our children may not be able to get anything, or even worse, be anything.



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