“Global waarming”, said my fellow passenger on the flight to Delhi, “is very haarming, no, saar”? I looked up from my laptop screen, and noticed he’d been reading a newspiece on floods in Bangladesh, attributed to climate change. Yes, I said, indeed it is alarming. He did not seem to notice my clever attempt at rhyming, and carried on: “but why does the gorement not do something about it, saar?”
I hesitated, wondering whether to abandon my ongoing task of sorting out some pictures of my recent trip to the Himalaya, and get into conversation on the hot subject of the day. Actually, the pictures did not need sorting, but there was a cute girl sitting to my right, and I’ve long ago realized that pretty pictures are about as sure a way to a woman’s heart as food is to a man’s. I decided to make a personal sacrifice for the cause, and turned to my left.
The trouble, I told my fellow passenger (the male one), is that gorement is not interested. By the time climate change began causing widespread havoc, each of the current governments in power in the world, would have gone. So why should they stick their necks out to bell the fat cats who are causing the problem….the energy corporations insisting that coal is still the best option, the car manufacturers whose profit margins were sacrosanct, and of course the car users whose individual convenience mattered more than the earth? Gorements — Gore notwithstanding — would much rather just talk endlessly at international jamborees, than do anything substantial about it.
My FP looked thoughtful. Hoping that my mini-lecture would keep the man silently mulling for the rest of the flight, I moved to re-open my laptop and attempt re-engaging the attention of FP2 (the female one). Wishful thinking. “But saar”, FP1 resumed, “we too are responsible, no, saar? It says here”, he pointed at the newspaper, “that air travel is also caasing major part of the problem, saar”.
He had a point. It was easy to blame the corporations and governments of the world, but many of us live lifestyles that are puncturing the atmosphere and releasing more than our fair share of global warming gases. Are we doing anything about it?
I began feeling guilty. Meekly, I told FP1, yes we are also guilty. Then inspiration struck: as individuals, I said, we could only do so much, and the bigger fight was with the system. Ah, what a wonderful word….the system….one can blame anything on it. Or on the Americans. They were, I said, much more culpable than us ordinary citizens. FP1 looked suitably impressed: “yes saar, system needs overhaaling saar”. Fortunately, something else in the newspaper now caught his eye, and he fell silent. I lost no time in getting back to more important pursuits….hoping to generate some local waarming.