Facing the threat of extinction  

Published: May 10, 2019 22:15:59 | Updated: May 12, 2019 22:08:19

A United Nations-sponsored study published earlier this week in Paris by the Inter-governmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) revealed that one million species faced extinction due to man-made causes that damaged the natural world. With 130 countries, including the United States, Russia and China endorsing the report, it seems a point of seriousness has finally arrived with major countries of the world agreeing that some thing has to be done to save the planet and the human race. The US and China are two of the biggest polluters of earth's environment; and since their experts also participated in and concurred with the findings of the study, reasons of hope should arise as to the future behaviour of these big economies. There were 145 experts from 50 countries that helped compile the report; and its call for 'post-growth' form of economics must now be taken with utmost seriousness. 'Post-growth' is the key phrase here: lot of industrialisation has been done over the past few centuries, now is the time to search for new ways of living and going forward. The study drew attention to existential risks posed by the mutually-reinforcing consequences of pollution, habitat destruction and carbon emissions. Of the estimated eight million plants, insects and animal species on the face of the earth at the moment, nearly a million are at risk of extinction-some within decades, the study disclosed.   

Climate change and global warming have not only been an issue with researchers and serious thinkers. Recent demonstrations by students on the streets in Europe have brought to the fore the topic that younger people are also conscious of the necessity of protecting their future. The subject of 'generational injustice' comes here. Those living at the moment cannot leave a world unliveable for the posterity. Attention will naturally be drawn to Greta Thunberg, a Swedish school-going teenager who has at this early time of her life addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, the European Parliament and the UN Climate Talks in Poland. Through her and others' efforts global warming and wildlife crisis have been given due attention. Although nothing comparable has been done in our part of the world so far, the time has truly arrived for our environmentalists and young people to unite and save tomorrow for those in their childhood and youth now. Who would overlook that big cities in Bangladesh and elsewhere in the subcontinent are in the tail-end of the world's liveable ones? Such a bad name has become a regular year-after-year feature for our urban conglomerates.

Although the very recently-passed cyclone 'Fani' did only moderate damage to Bangladesh, reasons behind its birth in the seas of Sri Lanka should create headaches for environmental experts to find as to what has been our part of responsibility behind its very creation. The water body that we share with the island country, and with India, has been a common liability for all in matters of dumping pollutants. Senseless industrialisation for immediate and short-term profit and unloading everything that we discard tends to make our rivers, and through them in the years to come the Bay of Bengal, a dunghill of sorts.   The aforementioned IPBES report has hinted that the tigers in Bangladesh forests faced extinction, a forecast that should make our policy-makers get ready to start a new dialogue on industrialisation around rivers and forests. All countries in the area must unite on these issues and build a common platform of action.

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