by Prof N Natarajan
Nature has created a beautifully balanced ecosystem for human beings and other forms of life. We pat ourselves on our backs and boast how intelligent, creative, powerful we are and how we have constructed the wonders of the world. Man has innovatively created the modern world with all its gadgets and comforts and advanced science and technology not to speak of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). The final frontier of death too is within conquerable distance say the experts.
Then comes the burp from Mother Earth that is a humbling experience. Look at what a one minute earthquake has managed to do in Japan....mass devastation to life, living and manmade, so called impregnable forts.
This should be a moment of introspection that should pull us back from the brink of annihilation. What can be done with a hope for a tomorrow in mind?
Slow down the tendency to exploit, injure and destroy Nature.
Stop destroying forests by deforestation and mining activity.
Show more respect to water and stop wasting it blithely in a hedonistic way.
Reduce the generation of heat that leads to pollution and the release of poisonous chemicals and gases into the air and water.
Conserve and protect all other living forms that are necessary in the chain of existence for sustained ecology.
The list can go on and on. However, there is one single manmade danger which can cause a greater havoc than nature’s fury especially in India which has a high density of population. This is a Nuclear fallout. The Japanese earthquake and the resulting tsunami have forced that Government to declare nuclear emergency in all the five nuclear plants with fear of a nuclear meltdown. People are being evacuated from the two locations in very large numbers. This is ironic for a nation that was the victim of nuclear attacks and whose people are still living through the nightmare of consequences.
All that glib talk about the safety of nuclear installations by canvassers of nuclear power has proved to be false. The present Government in India has still time to retrace its decision for development of nuclear power. This disastrous step is being taken under the pressure of international merchants of death, just to augment energy supply by a marginal 5 to 7%, throwing all caution to the wind. No lessons have been learnt from another manmade disaster in Bhopal from which we have not recovered yet. In retrospect even the Japanese may be realising that their genius and power of invention should have been used to create a safe and efficient form of solar, wind or water power as an alternative for fossil fuel instead of banking on nuclear energy. This would be harnessing the gifts of nature in a positive and non-exploitative manner.
History is a great teacher. We can ignore it only at our peril. This is not a wake up call. It is in a way the last bugle. Heed it, or perish.