It has been just over nine months since I began composting within my home. Everyday I segregate waste and follow the process of composting. Over these months, I have witnessed my garden grow and just last week, we harvested our first ever tomatoes born as compost gifts. This entire process which is slow from waste to compost to new plants has built a stronger relationship between me and my environment. Something that I, as a city dweller living in an apartment, can often be very detached from. This practice has helped in observing many aspects of the environment more closely. Like how often it rains or how droopy my plants are because of too much heat.
It is often easy to feel like the climate crisis is far away from us. Happening some place else. The new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that was released last month provided us with signs, big and small, to see the severity of this crisis. In essence the report was a warning for us that we are running out of time and our responses to the ongoing climate crisis need to change immediately. This is an important step for us, despite the global increase in citizen groups’ demands to have institutional responses from our governments in line with what the science is showing us.
One of the main points as shown by the report with regards to India and other parts of Asia was the increase in heatwaves. Another climate report that was recently released also echoed this. In fact it was shared that in the past 50 years due to extreme weather 1,34,037 people have died and as a country we have also suffered losses worth $16.9 billion due to extreme weather events.
These reports when read together tell us about the stark ways in which we have already been seeing devastating loss of lives because of the climate crisis. Aruna Chandrasekhar, a journalist and a climate reporter wrote in her piece in The Guardian about how we need to broaden our focus from not just focussing on reducing the carbon emissions but understanding the human cost of climate change. She writes, “The climate crisis may not be what keeps the majority of us up at night, but it blows up everything that was flawed to start with. There are no easy answers and many difficult questions. Everything is up for rebuilding, and therein lies the need for us to be at our most human, most creative and to cast the widest net. There’s a need for long-term thinking, just as there’s a need to to pass the mic and stand up for inconvenient truths that don’t fit within our existing politics.”
As world leaders from 196 countries come together to meet in Glasgow for the COP26 summit with the aim to agree upon action to limit climate change and effects, we as citizens play an important role in demanding that the changes translate to protection for the most marginalised among us. Especially those who are on the frontlines of these effects.
In the face of large scale climate changes, it sometimes feels like our small efforts don’t make a dent. Yet spending time with my waste has brought me closer to understanding the crisis all around us and ask questions that feel urgent in these times. What changes have we made to our lives? What can we do as individuals to bring us closer to the environment and respond to the climate crisis?
We hope to hear from you on your thoughts on the IPCC report, the state of our earth and what strikes you when you think of the climate crisis.