Let’s preserve nature for posterity

Let’s preserve nature for posterity


IT was devastation this week in Europe as flooding wreaked havoc in parts of Europe. At least 188 people have died, and with many still missing, the death toll could rise further. Authorities fear the scale of the disaster is even greater than anticipated. Heavy rain is continuing, with attention now shifting to parts of Austria and southern Germany.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has described the flooding that ravaged parts of her country as “surreal” and “terrifying”.

Could this disaster have been averted?

Yes, according to climate experts.

Scientists have long predicted that climate disruption will lead to more extreme weather, such as heatwaves, droughts and floods.

Human beings are responsible for the deterioration and exploitation of nature and the world’s resources to facilitate luxurious living conditions. The natural and mineral resources thus destroyed have never been replaced.

Human emissions from engine exhaust fumes, forest burning and other activities are heating the planet. As the atmosphere gets warmer it holds more moisture which brings more rain.

All the places that recently experienced flooding – Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, London, Edinburgh, Tokyo and elsewhere – might have had heavy summer rain even without the climate crisis, but the deluges were unlikely to have been as intense.

The United Nations Conference on Environment held about seven decades ago drew the attention of the world community to safeguarding the environment and the close relationship between human settlements and environment.

The meeting yielded the declaration by the UN Habitat “We have not inherited the earth from our fathers, we are borrowing it from our children”. This caveat makes it clear that exploitation of the earth’s resources will impact the future generation and that is exactly what is happening now.

More records are being broken more often; the world’s seven hottest years in recorded history have all come since 2014.

Scientists can now use statistical analysis and computer models to calculate how much more likely particular weather events have become as a result of the extra stress that humans have put on the climate system. For example, human emissions made the deadly “heat dome” in Canada and North America last month at least 150 times more likely and the prolonged heatwave in Siberia last year more than 600 times more probable.

It has been analysed by experts and reported in the book, Architectures: Creating Green Buildings Sustainable Habitat that human settlements with its high density housing, commercial buildings consume about 60 per cent of the total energy that is consumed by cities.

Apart from buildings, infrastructure and transport are a major contributor to the generation of greenhouse gases. Since buildings consume a huge amount of energy and pollute the environment, these must be designed without exploitation of the resources and the green environment.

These buildings must be part of nature and “not exploit nature”. The temperature in cities is higher than the periphery of cities where large green areas are available. This allows the heat reflected from buildings and roads to dissipate, whereas in dense cities 70 per cent of the area is covered with buildings which re-radiate heat after absorbing solar heat and there is very little green area for the heat to dissipate.

Whenever the earth is excavated for any construction and development it must not eliminate all flora and fauna and the remaining open area of the excavated soil around the building and structures must be restored to its original position.

As it is mentioned above, Earth is not our personal ancestral property. The onus is on us to preserve it for posterity.