Nero is not fiddling, but making ugly noises

Among the frightening news reports that fill our newspapers in our times, I came across one (on October 21) with the following lines: “A catastrophic reduction in the flow of the Colorado River — which mostly consists of snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains — has always served as a kind of thought experiment for water engineers, a risk situation from the outer edge of their practical imaginations. Some 30 million people depend on that water. A greatly reduced river would wreak chaos in seven states: Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California.”  

This is but one example of the ominous unimaginable water scarcity that, according to experts, is almost inevitable all over the world in the next few decades during which, ironically, there will also be an overabundance of sea-water that would wipe away many coastal regions.The predicted catastrophes, so say many who seem to know, are in the foreseeable future when many of today’s children will be in the peak years of life.

In this projected scenario we (ordinary citizens) have no alternative but to do our little to diminish the individual environmental disturbance that each one of us is causing at various levels of intensity, and go about our business and human relationships, while trusting political leaders, planners, and engineers to do the best they can to avert the evitable, and minimize the impact of the inevitable.

But what is sad and incredible to contemplate is that in this backdrop so many people are deeply engaged in intercultural squabbles, deafening debates on God and Religion, recriminatory ideological combats, tall claims of religious uniqueness, mindless convictions of sectarian and racial inferiority, pride in national histories, incessant intergroup hate, and the like.

Is this because the imminence of catastrophic global ecological disasters is so little understood and internalized, or because our passion for group elation and sensations of sectarian superiority far exceed our instinct for survival, I wonder. 

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About Varadaraja V. Raman

Physicist, philosopher, explorer of ideas, bridge-builder, devotee of Modern Science and Enlightenment, respecter of whatever is good and noble in religious traditions as well as in secular humanism,versifier and humorist, public speaker, dreamer of inter-cultural,international,inter-religious peace.
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