Lockdown should prepare us for the next global crisis, including climate crisis

said Mr. Rajendra Shende, climate-change activist

Pune - There is a strong linkage between climate change and global peace and governments and society should introspect during the present pandemic to change not only unsustainable lifestyles but move steadily towards a carbon-neutral living and all aspects of human activity, noted environmentalist and climate-change activist Rajendra Shende, said. 

Shende, Chairman, TERRE Policy Centre began the webinar on Climate Change: Threat to Global Peace, organised by Manav Rachna Educational Institutions (MREI) by stating that COVID 19 has brought out the fragility of the very foundation of our society and its systemic problems, particularly regarding the wellbeing and health of the people.  

We pride ourselves as possessing mighty weapons to defend our national borders; however, we are not able to defend ourselves from a micro-size virus, he said. 

"We have not been able to quickly identify, characterize the new virus and address the health crisis it created. Our hollow claims of being a knowledge society are now preventing us to shed our inertia and take action on climate crisis and calamity of biodiversity," Shende lamented.  

Explaining the strong linkages between climate change and global peace, Shende recounted the recent global conflicts triggered by the primary and secondary consequences of climate change, starting from the so-called Arab Spring, Syrian crisis and the simmering violence due to climate refugees.  

Asked about what course of action to take in the middle of COVID19, Shende stated that lockdown is the opportunity to reflect and prepare roadmaps based on the lessons learnt from the pandemic to prepare for the next global crisis, including the looming climate crisis. 

Moving towards including ‘green economics’ in the curriculum of universities as promoted by UNEP, making conscious ‘green choices’ and adopting a self-reliant lifestyle, as promoted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,  by individuals, including students and the faculty of universities like Manav Rachna, were some of the practical ideas suggested at the interactive session. 

Inspired by the virtual dialogue and the theme address, Dr Prashant Bhalla, President of MREI, declared that all the campuses of Manav Rachana Group of Institutes would be carbon-neutral before 2045, demonstrating its resolve to prevent the next crisis of climate change. 

Dr Amit Bhalla, Vice President of MERI, added that during lockdown the university would prepare a roadmap towards this goal in consultation with TERRE Policy Centre and All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE)  

TERRE has initiated global technological movement towards carbon neutrality for colleges under its flagship project of Smart Campus Cloud Network (SCCN), he added.   

TERRE Policy Centre is a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization dedicated to sustainable solutions to our developmental imperatives. TERRE also is the abbreviation for ‘Technology, Education, Research and Rehabilitation for the Environment.’

TERRE strives to reach all strata of society, particularly the young generation and people at the bottom of the pyramid with capacity building tools on energy and food security. Its motto is: "To think is good but to act is better”.

SCCN (Smart Campus Cloud Network) facilitates colleges and universities to mainstream the future policymakers and policy-implementers in implementing the SDGs by promoting sharing of the information on transformative actions undertaken by students and faculties in the campus.

More importantly, it encourages to deploy the digital technologies like IoT (Internet of Thing), AI (Artificial Intelligence), Cloud-networking, Machine-to-machine learning and Block chain for optimum use of energy, water in campus and catalyse effective waste management, sustainable transport, air pollution and nature conservation within the campus

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