Unbearable summer and bleak future

Jun 8, 2024

Summer has become a killer season, and so has the flood caused by the untimely downpour. While hundreds die, only a lower number is officially recorded and reported. Unreported deaths of humans and cattle are common in the rural areas. They live by their misfortune. Not only do humans and cattle perish, but also other feedstocks, trees, plants, birds, and reptiles are at the receiving end. The tragedy visits routinely, and we do not find anything special about it. The time cycle does not stop, and climate mishap revisits. The summer, untimely and extended, is becoming increasingly cruel as the human world is paying for uncontrolled environmental crimes committed by themselves.

Recently, I read a heart-breaking report on how Zambians bear the brunt of climate change that led to a drought forcing people to lock their kitchens. They guard their field against thefts and stare at the spike of prostitution as an unbelievable outcome of the lasting climate change. Zambia is not the only country suffering such intense drought and consequent crop losses. Most parts of the human settlements have this experience that will only worsen further. 

The experience of Zambian farmers is a specimen of how the world will change. Alarmingly, that is but a picture of transition into a sure desolation of earth sooner than later. Every country is going to face the same experience. While the countries with no rich drinking water resources will continue to suffer, countries with hitherto rich water resources will suffer huge losses due to climate change. In liberal democracy, people may succeed in forcing the government to take proactive steps for resettlements. But people in countries like India, will suffer the worst. Rulers in these countries will repress the people who sound their displeasureagainst the government, which tries to invest in infrastructure, wantonly violating the environmental rules. The agenda of “development first” through building massive infrastructure projects by breaking the ground for laying concrete surfaces and digging deep for minerals is a mistaken perception. In a democracy, if the government quashes unsusceptible warnings by experts, that will be a dangerous sign.  In such countries, the probability of people being forced into prostitution as a last resort for survival is high.

During the peak of summer, I travelled to dry regions of central and north central India. I saw what I never could imagine and felt what I never did in summer. I believe summer has been so harsh. The skin-roasting heat is a new experience for people who usually endure harsh weather. The burning concrete relays the heat inside the room. That makes the air conditioners dormant. Most people cannot afford an air conditioner, that is another thing. The desert coolers can only circulate the heat around them, making the atmosphere more humid and intolerant. 

I have seen the summer suffering of people and how the drought is killing them. The impact of summer couldn’t have been so worse had the ecology been kept undisturbed. The reckless infrastructure development disturbed ecology. The sufferers couldn’t raise their voices. The voices of environmentalists and non-governmental organisations fell silent. That is the reason I have said dictatorship also would contribute to the climate suffering of people. Let us not overlook the Zambians’ experience which is closing in on our doorstep.