Global Warming and Al Gore

Yetserday I attended Al Gore’s stunning lecture on Global Warming. I have heard him before. 2 years ago in Puerto Rico. The lecture is different, and that’s what is frightening. So much more devastation has taken place in the last two years. Or atleast what we have learnt in the last two years about the devastation we have caused is frightening…


The other day I was having a conversation with my producer of Golden Age. He was talking very intelligently about the irresponsible way we have treated our planet. And about the need to teach India and China, as they will be the next great polluters.
And yet he calmly drove off in his gas guzzling Bentley. As others will fly in their private jets. Or go for cruises in their private yachts. Or aspire to buy bigger and bigger mansions that need larger amounts of energy to keep an incredibly small number of people warm or cool. Indeed as I watched the people at the World Ecnomic Forum making huge statements about Global Warming, I wondered how many had arrived in Davos in their private jets and helicopters.
In the few times I have attended, it was the buzz in the Indian contingent about who had a private jet or a helicopter standing by.
Thats the problem isn’t it ? The answer to Global warming often is a statistic that is applied to a mass, rather than taking individual personal action.
So currently every one talks about the next great polluters. India and China. Yet, for all it’s population, India still emitts only a tiny tiny fraction of the emissions from the US. Who emitts a staggering 30% of the world’s total !! And China ? A stunning fact I discovered at Al Gore’s lecture was that China’s emission standards for Automobiles in China was far far stricter than those in the US. So American cars would not be allowed on Chinese roads !
One statement that Al Gore made I do disagree with. He stated that global warming was directly linked to population. However I would state that Global Warming is much more linked to how a population behaved. Otherwise how would you account for a country like US that is by no means overpopulated, but for the last 30 years has been by far the greatest polluter in the world. Both at home and through it’s corporations overseas by causing destruction fo rain forests.
The solution to Global warming is going to lie in how an individual behaves. Unfortunately aspirations the world over are about consumption. Wealth is associated with the power to consume. Indiividuality is asserted by a show of consumption. You consume, therefore you are. The more you consume, the more you ‘are’.
It was not always like that. In my own lifetime I remember being in London in the late 60’s and 70’s. A show of wealth was looked down upon. In fact one of the greatest car designs was born out of the mood at that time – the Mini. It was small, it was cheap, and people would be rather seen in a small mini rather than a rolls royce !
I guess the goverments too must take far greater stands. I do not believe that ‘carbon exchange’ is the answer. It just says that if you have the wealth you can pollute as much as you like as long as you pay for it ! That is completely the wrong mindset, isn’t it ?
The battle lies in changing the mind of the individual. The battle lies in our education system that must teach young minds about how consumption can become immoral. Yet I wonder if, in a world where economic growth is fueled by the ‘propensity to consume’ how the goverments will ever allow that to change.
Look at one great ‘doom indicators’. That if retail sales over any holiday period were down. Even a 1% drop causes furrows in the brows of the economists. So as long the economic stability of a society depends upon urging the people to consume more and more, how is this going to change ?
That is why I believe that the change must come from within. From the individual. From the parent to the child. From the teacher to the child. From each one of us socially bycotting any overconsumption. By making such consumption ‘unfashionable’.
Got to start somewhere !
Shekhar

13 Responses to “Global Warming and Al Gore”

  1. Rudra says:

    Shekhar , you are bang on there.We all need to Wake Up ! The Earth Being – ‘Gaia’ in Greek myth , or ‘Bhudevi’ in Sanskrit is indeed Groaning and it wont be long before it goes sulking – that will be a bad phase for all of us. Surface earth may not be liveable anymore at this rate – we may have to build and live in artificial underground cities in the future.
    and Shekhar , what about ‘ Global Dimming ‘- many people , organisations and NGOs are not aware of this Bombshell of a discovery which is being suppressed by the same Media interests which also invest in Petro dollars – ‘Global Dimming’ needs more Urgent publicity than its almost comparitively harmless counterpart – ‘Global Warming’.
    So what is Global Dimming ? – The temperatures and Climate patterns we are currently experiencing are actually due to the artificial ‘Cooling Effect’ of the trapped GreenHouse gases and Particulate matter , especially Aircraft/Jet Trails .They filter out and block Solar Luminosity and Heat from Entering Earth – it also works reflectively before reaching a critical point when true Warming will rapidly show up with devastating effects .
    The effects of Global Dimming have masked the effect of ‘Global Warming’ so far ! – This effect was starkly revealed , observed and recorded during the days following 911 – all aircrafts were grounded in the US , the Skies were clear of Jet Trails for 4 days – and in those 3 days , since the skies were not blocked by Jet trails in high atmosphere over California , the temperature actually increased by 1.5 deg C – the statistics revealed all . All other factors were totally constant – the same effect was later reported from all over US , Europe and Asia after studying Aircraft Trails alone.
    We are presently experiencing a softer version of Global Warming , maksed by ‘Global Dimming’ ,when the Dimming effect vanishes , the True face of Global Warming will show up – some scientists have modelled this mathematically and predict a 1-2 degree rise in temp during and upto 2070 per Decade and after 2200 , to a Sudden and Rapid rise of 7-10 Degrees per Decade – it will make the Surface Earth un-unhabitable.
    Shekhar , if you can use your blog, articles and appearances in the Media to highlight this , you’d have helped publicise it too. For some reason , many of the alarming discoveries about our Environment are being filtered by the Global Media – it is not only criminal but inhuman – the Green technology exists out there but it is not being unveiled due to economic considerations – I like to call it ‘Greed and fatal Myopia’.
    Unless we revert back to the Vedic Civilization’s universal and compassionate view , myopic material civilization would have raped and killed off Mother Earth – stuff that Asuras are meant to do ! I am reminded of the Prithvi Sukta of the Atharvana Veda ‘ Matr Bhumih Putroham Prithivyah : ‘ – meaning, ‘ to Earth , my Mother I am like the Son ‘.

  2. kedar says:

    ( not related to this topic)
    i saw Eklavya’s making of on NDTV today…
    it seems to be a nice film. if story clicks, it will be a major HIT… and i hope Vidhu as usual has not gone ahead with out a story!…
    apart from you , dude, Vidhu is the only other director who has world sensibilities. but Vidhu seems to got it much late in life…he is still trying to make a film with hollywood actors…i heard the story some 3 years ago and it sucks…its a very old concept…but even then i am a big fan of his work…
    so you two rock …!!!… i learnt the basics seeing your films…( ofcourse there was a teacher…the director from FTII …our first film..(mine as a writer) is already ready)
    some 5 years ago…i didnt have a clue about film making..the director friend of mine got two VHS copies and we were discussing those two films for 4 days…water, pohe( indian breakfast dish) , cigarettes and chai…and four days…!!! and my basics were clear!!! swish pan…after four days i was turned from an electrical engineer to a film maker.
    those two films were ‘ bandit queen’ and ‘parinda’

  3. Himanshu says:

    Hi Shekhar,
    I think there is some conceptual difference between the London and American societies, where in the former the show of wealth was despised, but in America it is everywhere – it determines your success (your homes, cars, yachts etc. are ‘you’). But over time England has also become more capitalistic and less elitist.
    However, reducing consumption does actually hurt the economy and the capitalistic model, so a better way in the short term, as we learn to consume less (without hurting the economy) would be to work on alternate energy sources. Richard Branson’s gift to the Bill Clinton’s initiative is a great step in this direction. Vinod Khosla, one of our biggest venture capitalists, is also involved in this project.
    The issue is actually the US manufacturing units, that emit harmful gases. Tighter laws need to be implemented there, and if viable, alternate fuels used. I sincerely believe with so much focus on it something good with happen in the coming years.
    Thank you,
    Himanshu – New York

  4. kedar says:

    dude…
    was going thru older posts as usual…
    and stumbled upon ‘ staring at stars at night’ post of yours…
    the comment is by Anon… he has given a link to a short story by Issac Asimov…
    i find it quite similar to ‘ 2001-space odyssey’
    amazing story!!!
    i am pasting the link again here if any one has missed it…
    http://infohost.nmt.edu/~mlindsey/asimov/question.htm
    thank you Anon and thank you Shekhar…
    take care…tata…kedar…

  5. shekhar says:

    thanks kedar. In a much simpler form I have known this story since I was a kid. Someone must have told me the story and it just stuck in my mind. For the first time I have read the original that turns out to be far more complex than what I remember. Thank you Anon,
    Shekhar

  6. Reuben says:

    Thanks Kedar & Anon awesome story, great imagination.

  7. Rudra says:

    I see something amusing in Asimov’s story – as a science fiction writer , it is amazing his story rings like another fiction – the fictitious myth of ‘Genesis’ and the assorted fables of creation imagined by the desert people.
    if creation happened in six days and on the seventh god rested as our very persuasive brothers at arms in the various missions want us ‘sinners’ to believe , and if indeed light and water and breath came about as an order ‘ let there be bla bla bla..’ , it shows one thing , if not all – complete ignorance of the true nature of light , surprising since these clowns spend most of their lifetimes trying to bring Light to other peaceful peoples and nations , for the rest scheming furiously to establish the ‘kingdom of our god’ either in spewed hatred ,conceit or J.
    hell , i am wating my time here..

  8. Dawn says:

    I am glad it made you feel so but what are you doing after knowing it? I guess more the implementation …more positive results which will be like a drop in the ocean
    Think about it
    Cheers

  9. Josie says:

    Dear Mr Kapur,
    I noticed a while back that you were involved in the Buddha movie. I am now disappointed to see that there is no website any more for the movie under http://www.buddhathefilm.com
    Are you still involved in this movie? Do you know if it is still going to be produced? Being a Buddhist myself I am keen to follow it’s progress.
    Best regards,
    Josie

  10. shekhar says:

    josie, i would have loved to make a film on Buddha, but it seemed not in my destiny to do so yet. Frankly, there are too many egos that get involved in the idea of making a film on Buddha. So I just had to let go. I do hope someone is making that film, though I still hold a deep desire in myself to make the film myself, shekhar

  11. Dee Phillips says:

    Hello
    I must comment on these quotes from your blog: “However I would state that Global Warming is much more linked to how a population behaved.”
    and: “From the individual. From the parent to the child. From the teacher to the child.”
    I live in the Seattle, Washington area in the USA. I hope you will be encouraged to know that my daughter, 22 years old, and her group of friends take Al Gore’s message very seriously. They are all concerned about their carbon footprint and refuse to own cars, take public transportation and walk to their destinations. They also, although young and have little money as of yet, buy organic food products, shop at thrift stores that sell second hand clothing, recycle and shun the corporation of consumerism. They talk seriously about how they might influence the future, are all registered to vote and participate in the community arts movement here in Seattle to protest the war and the efforts of our current political administration to steer our country to greater corporate control.
    Does this involvement come from parental influence? For some yes, and for some as means to overcome parental ideologies.
    I, for one, have made it a point to teach my daughter, an only child to take personal accountability very seriously.
    Just to let you know that there are young people and parents out here in the world who are listening to something other than what television tells them to do… buy buy buy, consume consume consume.
    and by the way, what a lovely website you have created.

  12. shekhar says:

    Thank u Dee, my 7 year old daughter does exactly the same. She reminds me that the lights must be turned off when we leave a room (though she is still afraid of the dark), and reminds me to turn off the tap while I brush my teeth. She speaks about the enviroment, and she knows the names of the animals that are under the threat of extinction. All this she picks up at school, so perhaps we will have a generation of young people growing up that do not take the air we breathed for granted. Shekhar

  13. Prajakta says:

    Hello Mr. Kapoor,
    was looking for Prithvi Sukta in the net and came across this site. What got me hooked was the sentence “… you can pollute as much as you like as long as you pay for it”. None of us knows what exactly we are heading towards and evidently, no one even tries to guess what price Nature has to pay. Even I have heard the talks where India and China are supposed to be the “Environmental Sinners”. I have grown to envy those who can completely ignore the consequences of their actions but expect others to do so.
    One German saying puts it very well – One can either change oneself or the world. The latter is easier.
    Regards
    Prajakta

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