The Devil’s Advocate, serving you a cocktail of humour, wit and sarcasm
I don’t drink bottled water, I have solar panels, yet I’m told every single thing I do seems to be hurting the earth
Of course, climate change is real and any person who denies it is an utter fool.
Climate is, has and always will change. The earth, which is 4.54 billion years old, has gone through at least five ice ages, caused by climate change. The dinosaurs were wiped out because of climate change. The present Sahara desert was once a fertile land until climate change turned it into a wasteland. Almost 90% of species were destroyed in every ice age.
There are a number of natural causes for climate change: solar flares, changes in the earth orbit, changes in the orientation of the earth’s axis of rotation, greenhouse gases, CO2 contents in the oceans, plate tectonics, volcanic eruptions, ocean currents, meteorite impacts etc.
All the past ice age events have occurred due to natural causes only, since there were no polluting humans around in those times. But with the advent of Industrial Revolution, humans are causing climate to change and the natural causes have mysteriously stopped.
Now, “97%” of climate scientists agree that humans are solely responsible for global warming. With this broad sweeping judgement, the jury of “97%” (consisting of 75 scientists) has convicted every human being on this planet of this crime. This includes YOU, ME, the Pope, the Queen, George Clooney, Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, Kim Kardashian, Sunny Leone, grandma etc. The majority rules! But wait a minute! A few hundred years ago majority of the people believed that the earth was flat.
Being an environment-conscious person, I was terribly upset with this accusation. I go to work on my pushbike; I don’t drink bottled water; I have solar panels on my house roof; my house is not powered by an air-conditioning plant; I read under street lights; I have even refused to have candles on my kid’s birthday cake; I don’t watch Bollywood item number songs, which induce heavy breathing in the viewers. Despite being a good citizen, I have been personally condemned and made responsible for causing global warming.
I have, now, become very paranoid. I wake up in the middle of the night, bathed in sweat, wondering about my contribution to the devastation caused by hurricane Katrina. I am constantly checking my carbon footprint of my every day activities. What more can I do to stop climate change? Wish there was an app to measure a person’s carbon footprint.
I dashed off an angry letter to the “97%” scientists panel complaining about why I was called a “climate changer” despite my “green” credentials. The panel wrote back. “Dear Bhushan. We understand your pain. You have been doing all the right things by the climate all your life except for one flaw; your love for goat biryani. As you are aware, when goats fart they release methane, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere, which causes climate change. We even had to knock back Barack Obama because he endorses bottled water “Fiji”, made in Fiji, which travels 10,000 miles to end up in his bladder. Imagine the carbon footprint this bottled water creates! The only human we have exempted from this black list is Al Gore, the saviour of this planet. All humans, by default, are now empowered with the power to cause climate change. With great power, comes great responsibility. So, please, exercise yours carefully.”
I have to agree with the panel about Al Gore. For those who don’t know about him, Al Gore is a climate-change SJW who is on a crusade to saving the world from extinction. His documentaries “Inconvenient Truth” have really scared the shit out of people about how close we humans are to destroying the earth. He has won an Oscar award and Nobel Prize for his evangelic efforts.
Al is very worried about the rising levels of the oceans, and rightly so, because he has an ocean-front mansion in California. Al’s critics call him a fraud; they say he has made bags of money out of climate change by investing in carbon trading schemes, that his palatial house uses electricity 20 times more than the national average, that his jet-setting private lifestyle has created carbon footprint bigger than Big Foot’s feet etc. Critics be buggered. You go, Al! Thankfully, all of Al’s Nostradamus-like dire predictions of earth destruction have not come to pass.
Meat and dairy industries are the world’s biggest contributors to climate change, outpacing even the fossil fuel industry, according to a new report by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Holy cow! The “gomata” that we worship is actually destroying the earth?
We humans are causing global warming at every turn. It’s obvious because every minute humans breathe out CO2, the greenhouse gas that causes climate change. We are all partners in crime. Every activity that we do in our normal daily lives is contributing to climate change. Did you drive to work? You caused climate change. Did you drink coffee this morning? The coffee beans probably came from overseas, generating in its wake a large carbon footprint. The milk in it is a culprit too. Did you take the lift to your 30th floor office? You just used coal-generated electricity and raised the temperature of the earth. Did you eat idli/dosa for breakfast? You have contributed to global warming because rice farming is known to be a major contributor to climate change. Rice farming releases methane gas produced by bacteria in the flooded paddy fields. Scientists at the US-based Environmental Defense Fund suggest the warming impact of rice farming could be equivalent to 1,200 coal power plants.
I have stopped shopping in the Indian grocery stores, horrified at the thought that the spices I buy come with climate change consequences. Every time you buy a bag of basmati rice, a chunk of ice falls off the iceberg in Antarctica or a glacier melts.
Did you realise that your smart phone is heating up the planet? Relative emissions share of smart phones is expected to grow from 4% in 2010 to 11% by 2020, dwarfing the individual contributions of PCs, laptops and computer displays. The mining of hazardous minerals like bromine, chlorine, lead and mercury, as well as metals like gold, tin, lithium and tantalum, used in the manufacture of smart phones, cause huge damage through land degradation and mining.
Every time you take a selfie and upload it on social media, every time you like or share a post, every time you send a text message/email/video/photo, etc, a server in a data centre of Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo, is storing them and slowly cooking the earth. An hour usage of smartphone per day generates 1250kg CO2 per person. That’s the equivalent of flying from London to New York. Let me not get into the energy consumption due to crypto currency mining. I’ll be here all day long.
Just based on the smart phone usage alone, it is conclusive that humans are causing climate change. Every man, woman and child are voracious users of smart phones and other computer gadgets/screens. It is projected that our internet-connected devices will end up using approximately 20% of all of the world’s electricity by 2025.
I feel so sorry for CO2. I really do. Most people don’t know what the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere is. Most people are not aware that there are other greenhouse gases, such as water vapour and methane, which have greater impact on climate than CO2. But CO2 cops all the blame. CO2 makes up about 0.04% of the atmosphere, which is almost negligible. For such a tiny gas, CO2carries a huge responsibility. This minuscule gas dictates the very existence of life on the planet. Plants will die without CO2. Humans and earth will die because of excess CO2. CO2 is good and bad at the same time? Like Dr.Jekyll & Mr. Hyde? But CO2 has oxygen in it which is essential for our lives. I give up. All of this is so mystifying!
Another thing that irks me is that the innocent element, Carbon, gets blamed for climate change. This is like the cops arresting you for the crime committed by your neighbour. CO2 and Carbon are two different things. So, things like “carbon footprint”, “carbon tax” don’t make any sense.
The present-day school kids are so bright and well-informed about climate change. They are wagging classes and taking to the streets, demanding action be taken on climate change. I so wish I had been like them when I was at school but I had never heard of climate change back then. My teachers taught me nothing.
When I asked the10-year-old activist, who was participating in the school kids strike, to explain the “greenhouse effect”, she drew a blank. Of course, she is too young to understand the science but her teacher had told her, “Climate change will destroy the Great Barrier Reef. We are all going to die if we don’t stop climate change”. Aww! It was so cute, listening to this little girl. The proud teacher pipped in, “We are removing all air conditioners from the school classrooms to reduce climate change.”
Cute, they may be, but children are causing climate change too. Walk into any McDonalds or ice-cream parlour and you will find kids packed to the rafters, munching on monster beef burgers and scoops of dairy products. Also, most of them don’t walk to school, instead get dropped off by mums in their gas-guzzling 4-wheel drives. And don’t get me started on the screen time they spend every day on their electronic gadgets.
We live in a conundrum. Everyone wants to enjoy life with the help of the creature comforts that we have become so addicted to; cars, TVs, refrigerators, meat, dairy, air-conditioners, smart phones, travel, plastic etc; all those agents of global warming. The list is long. Are we willing to give them up to save the world? I don’t think so.
There are millions of people around the world who are rising above the poverty line and who are aspiring to enjoying the same good things in life that we are. Should they be denied those opportunities? But this will impose a tremendous burden on the natural resources which will further exacerbate climate change. We are in a vicious downward lose-lose spiral.
When it comes to climate change, humans have been forced to assume “collective blame” for it, which is meaningless. When a group assumes collective blame, the responsibilities get diffused and no individual takes personal responsibility.
We are clutching at straws—literally. There is a campaign on, to ban plastic straws to “Save the Turtles”. Campaigns such as “Cleanup Australia” and others create a warm and fuzzy feeling about caring for the planet but we have lost sight of the big picture. Instead, should we be looking at reducing the exploding human population? More people, more emissions, climate change! Elementary, my dear Watson!
Australia wants to reduce its emissions on the one hand but on the other, it is selling coal to the world. So, if coal gets burnt elsewhere, climate change gets shifted to the offending country and Australia will be spared the wrath of the global-warming God? Bhutan, the tiny country, is held up as a model carbon-negative economy to the rest of the world. In spite of Bhutan doing the right things, it is suffering from the effects of global warming in its country—glaciers melting, flash floods, agricultural land degradation etc. WTF!
Until we find the climate change holy grail, we will have to keep singing in the chorus of the Broadway musical, “Save the Planet” and planting tree saplings to appease the climate change God.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.