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Extinction Rebellion: Now is the time to wake people up

Published: April 18, 2019 21:21:52


Climate change activists block Parliament Square during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London on April 17, 2019. —Photo: Reuters

Anyone who loves Nature must also love Sir David Attenborough. Aged 92, Sir David is perhaps the only broadcaster who awakened us to the fact that Nature is vital. One who had watched the famous documentary on animal and plant life on Earth he wrote and presented in the early 1980s must have realised how we can make a difference if only we could care a bit more about Nature. Attenborough, considered a national treasure in Britain, is a household name all over the world. He has resurfaced as a trailblazer recently after Netflix released "Our Planet", an eight-part documentary series voiced by him.

For the last few days I was glued to the television watching the documentary "Our Planet" over Netflix, an app that I got for free from my niece in the USA. After watching all the eight mind-boggling episodes of the series, I decided to watch once again a few of the episodes that left a deep and disturbing impression in my mind. As I was re-watching the Episode Number 2 "Frozen World", I got horrified by a scene where some walruses clustered on the edge of a rocky cliff were plunging from the extremely high and steep cliff to their deaths in their attempts to get down. These walruses were supposed to rest near sea ice. But as the sea ice has receded during the last few years due mainly to climate change, these walruses scaled the high cliff for a safer place to rest on only to die when it was time for them to return to sea.

I just finished re-watching the horrifying episode and was imagining that life, both of animal and human, would be extinct if, as Sir David Attenborough was urging in the documentary, we don't take immediate measures that would preserve the diversity of life on Earth. That same night at 10 o'clock, BBC announced news of a new movement "Extinction Rebellion" on climate change that erupted on April 15 on the streets of London. My premonition came true. Was it, I imagined, "Our Planet", the Netflix documentary, that incited thousands of Londoners to take to the streets? I got mystified as I thought of something and it happened.

 "Extinction Rebellion", a British climate association, has begun a new movement with rallies being held in different cities around the world. Their movement is to raise alarm over the climate crisis and their goal is to get governments to declare a climate emergency, to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025 and to make the government create citizens' assemblies to set climate priorities, bypassing the short-termism of parliamentary democracy. To these British protesters, climate change is more pressing than Brexit.

Protest movements, as we have observed, have lofty aims, mostly political. But Extinction Rebellion has a unique knack for organising movements that is appealing only to those who care about happiness of the next generations of humans, animals, and plants living in sea and on land. To them, climate change is an issue of morality, not politics.

There's been so much attention at the national and international level since the Paris Agreement. But nothing concrete has been achieved. Climate change may seem to have been too amorphous to grasp overall. But, bit by bit, year by year, humans and animals have been dying unnecessarily from the impact of worsening climate.

We must not have the luxury of pretending that climate change is not real. We have already maimed the nature and the weather is changing everywhere in the world. Climate has become hyperactive, manic, capricious, and frenetic. One day we shiver in cold and the next day we sweat when it is unpredictably hot. Weather nowadays veers from sodden to baking hot, to violently stormy, fiery and worse.

Thousands of environmental protestors paralysed parts of central London on Monday in a bid to force the government to do more to tackle climate change. They have responded to a clarion call by Extinct Rebellion to save the planet. About 300 protesters in London have been arrested. Protesters are reportedly eager to be jailed for their cause.

Many green movements have failed. The present movement, ignited by the protesters in London and other cities, may bring a real change in our outlook if at least 10 percent of the world population could be motivated.

Today, it is a global emergency to do something to bring back Nature to its natural status. People of the whole world need to realise how important climate change is. If masses ever reach a tipping point on recognising climate change and uniting the whole world to fight it, a positive change in the future of our climate may be seen in the offing. Now is the time to wake people up.

Meanwhile, we should spare an hour every day to watch the ground-breaking documentary "Our Planet". The documentary, created for Netflix in collaboration with WWF and Silverback Films, must be entreating if you love this planet and will raise awareness of the world's rarest wildlife and most precious habitats, and the threats they face.

 

maswood@hotmail.com

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