In the last couple of centuries, human beings are used to thinking that they are the center of creation. First, because some organised religions talked about this, and that whole of creation is meant for humans to exploit. Later Science displaced religion. Science echoed what these religions said and the same attitude continues — that we can conquer nature. We can harness electricity. We can make our living conditions comfortable with air-conditioning etc. We will control the climate. The paradigm that nature is meant for us to exploit, remained. We are the centre and we are in charge and in control. The more Science developed the more this thinking also developed.
However, the pushback from nature in the last few years has painted a completely different picture. Forest fires have destroyed the homes of the rich and the powerful. Developed countries have got flooded. Heat waves are there across the globe. There is no country that has remained untouched by all these changes. In fact, some of the popular holiday resorts on islands are in fear of being completely swallowed up by the sea. So, when nature pushes back, she can do it with a devastating effect. Hopefully, human beings will learn to give up our arrogance and realise that we are not the centre of creation and we are not in control. That all control is an illusion.
A few degrees change in temperature can wipe out at least half of the human population. So, unless we recognise this fact and develop a more humble approach to nature, we are not really going to have the emotional resources, even though we have intellectual and physical resources necessary to tackle this climate change.
The question is whether governments and corporations who operate primarily on the basis of power of money and political power, have the necessary emotional depth to recognise this and pay heed. Would nature have to push back even more, until our very survival is threatened, before we make the changes necessary to make continued life on Earth possible?
The writer is the founder of Aarsha Vidya Foundation. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org