Odisha Can lead nation on lessons in climate change – challenges and opportunity

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | April 01, 2024 IST

Odisha Can lead nation on lessons in climate change – challenges and opportunity

Arun Joshi

In this poll season across the country, the narratives of corruption and communalism have evaporated the most crucial issue of climate change that threatens the very sustainability and survival of resources desperately needed for the survival of the population. The political narrative in the country is not mentioning threats that the climate change poses to the very existence of human beings and their access to the natural resources.

Odisha which is having simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha polls  should take initiative in bringing  this  issue in the public domain  and  underscore that what is needed and what all political parties can do. This is the one issue that will have no opposition or debate whether Odisha should have measures in place to combat climate change. It can lay out a blue print for the whole nation as Odisha is facing this threat, perhaps in much grave fashion, that many other states in the country.  It can invoke its State Action Plan on Climate Change 2021-2030 to begin with.

From sky- touching Himalayas in the north to the eastern coastal areas, the climate change has caused havoc. Glaciers in Himalayas are melting at a rapid pace, bringing a sudden gush of waters, causing floods and then leaving   river beds dry. Different states in the country are facing disastrous impacts of heat waves, water scarcity, forest fires and drying sources of irrigation. Desertification has become a palpable reality.

Today, the political class is talking about the future  and welfare programmes , but the moot question of the climate change and how to reverse or check  climate change  remains unaddressed  This is  a big failure , let it be said without  fear of any contradiction .

Kashmir had a snowless winter, Delhi was under the grip of thick fog for a longer period than previous years, and warm days have started much before the spring could say goodbye. Spring has been reduced by weeks. The fragrance has given way to early start of heat wave.

The Odisha Government on Saturday (March 30) announced morning classes for students of schools across the state against the backdrop of Indian Metrological Department predicting hot and humid days ahead.This is just a glimpse of impact of the climate change, and how can it effect changes in the lifestyle. In this case, it impacts child psychology and their learning skills.

This has been done to provide relief to the children and keep them safe in schools – the timings of which have been fixed 7 AM to 11.30 AM. The government has also announced that drinking water and other needed facilities may be provided at schools. That is during their stay at schools, but what after that.

This problem is immense, and it should be dealt with as urgently as the situation demands. Odisha is figuring in the line of states like Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and even Jammu and Kashmir, where the threat of desertification and water scarcity is hitting lives. This issue cannot be wished away as there is no natural way of things returning to the past when no thought was spared for the dangers of climate change, perhaps that time it was not seen as a big issue that would take away the lives, livelihood and place question marks on national security.

Each state is trying to decipher the problem, and find a solution. There have been several studies from Himalayas to the deserts to understand magnitude of the problem. The governments too have stepped in with their own reports. The forest departments have been assigned the task to prepare the documents and make suggestions, but more often than not these reports have stayed   glued to the papers on which they were printed.

The Odisha government had outlined its objectives in its “State Action Plan on Climate Change 2021-2030. It had done a commendable work in identifying the challenges- vulnerabilities and how to overcome the issue in the report. It has a geographical sketch, highlighting that the eighth largest state in India, with 480 kilometers of coastline, having 4.7 er cent of country’s landmass, home to 42 million, people, is vulnerable to climate change. Its impacts are “sea level rise, increased storm intensity, extreme droughts and heat waves, increased wind and rainfall events. There are many more impacts listed in the Action Plan. It has also come out with a series of recommendations, highlighting Do’s and Don’ts, but the fact of the matter is that there is lack of awareness about the impact among the people at large. This is a national phenomenon, not just restricted to Odisha or one or two other states. The need is to have a comprehensive view of the situation, involving communities and making them partners to keep the things on track. Mere academic efforts and research by the officials, or even experts will not help unless the awareness percolates to each and every man in the country. Their involvement can bring in change that the governments can dream of.  The poll season is the best time to make climate change campaign credible and connect with the people. And Odisha which also is having   simultaneous Assembly polls, this is a great opportunity to utilize.

The time is now. There is no tomorrow.

Arun Joshi is author of “Eyewitness Kashmir; Teetering on Nuclear War and senior journalist based in Jammu and Kashmir, writes on South Asian affairs)

Disclaimer: This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com

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Odisha Can lead nation on lessons in climate change – challenges and opportunity
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Odisha Can lead nation on lessons in climate change – challenges and opportunity
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Odisha Can lead nation on lessons in climate change – challenges and opportunity
Odisha Can lead nation on lessons in climate change – challenges and opportunity
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Odisha Can lead nation on lessons in climate change – challenges and opportunity

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