As Amazon burns, good governance can save Mother Earth

30 August 2019 01:39 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Carrying large wounds caused by unprecedented burn injuries, Mother Earth is crying in pain and we, her reckless and heartless children, are digging a grave to bury her, not realsing that when she dies, we all will die. So, stop having any ideas about dancing on her grave, thinking that after her death, we can inherit her riches. 
As huge fires destroy the Amazon rainforests in South America, our greed for wealth and lack of concern for Mother Earth’s right to be herself are taking all of us to our collective doom. Yes, we don’t deserve to live on this planet, if we unrepentantly continue to inflict more wounds on her. We have violated the compact to be nature-loving responsible human beings. Except the humans, every other earthling is true to this compact with Mother Earth. 


When the Amazon burns uncontrollably and when the Arctic ice melts at an alarming rate, take it as a warning; Mother Earth, out of her love for us, is giving us one final warning before the apocalyptic event. Be conscience of your mother’s health, for if she dies, you die. The umbilical cord that binds us with Mother Earth is our love for her, don’t cut it. 
Mother Earth is not greedy like us. She does want to share whatever she has -- her riches and resources -- with all of us, but in a sustainable manner, so that her riches will be equitably shared among all her children -- plants, animals, insects and humans, the living and the yet to be born. But of all her children, we the present day humans appear to be the worst. Mahatma Gandhi, one of India’s greatest visionaries, said that there is enough on the Earth for everybody’s need, but not enough for some people’s greed. 
Those who are liberated from greed are the true children of Mother Earth. We need to be like 16-year-old Swedish girl Greta Thunberg, who arrived in a carbon-free sail boat in New York on Wednesday to attend an environment summit and drive home her message that air travel is 
environmentally harmful.


We are living in dangerous times. When we vote into office populist rightwing demagogues devoid of moral standing, greedy capitalism with a killer instinct will have a field day. Take the case of the United States and Brazil. 
The Amazon is burning not because of any natural cause, the destruction was man-made. Arctic ice is melting – again it was man made. The global climate is changing faster now than it has at any point in the past 2,000 years, scientists say. Yet, United States President Donald Trump wants to buy Greenland to cause as much harm as possible to Mother Earth in a bid to exploit the coal, zinc, copper, iron ore and rare minerals beneath the ice. 
Mother Earth’s rebellious son Trump had the temerity to publicly display his anti-environment stand when he avoided the environment segment of the recently concluded G7 summit in France.  When the environmentalists shiver in fear at the news that a staggering 197 billion metric tonnes of meltwater flowed off of Greenland’s ice sheet into the Atlantic Ocean this July adding to the sea level rise, greedy capitalism’s captain Trump, who once dismissed warnings of climate change as a Chinese hoax, is salivating for a virgin territory to achieve geopolitical and economic gains. 


As Greenland’s and Arctic’s ice melts, the ocean becomes navigable. This has opened up a big power game in the Arctic. The Russians are already there. The Chinese have penetrated the region through large-scale investments and have plans for a ‘Polar Silk Road’. 
The US has been maintaining a military base in Greenland since World War II.  With big powers eyeing Arctic’s resources at a huge environmental cost, the region is a likely battleground of the future. War and industrial invasion will hasten the melting of the polar ice, accelerating the disappearance of small island nations like the Maldives while coastal countries will be plagued by regular floods.
If we need to minimise climate-change induced natural disasters, we need to stand up and not just protest but physically prevent Trump-like callous capitalists from causing destruction to the North Pole.


If one Trump is bad enough, there is Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s rightwing businessman president. Dimwitted, he thinks deforestation means development. 
In recent weeks, climate-change induced heat and government-sponsored deforestation have sparked at least 82,000 wildfires in the Amazon.  For us in Sri Lanka, the Amazon seems to be a remote place, but it is both the lung and the heart of the planet, given its oxygen generation and carbon gas absorption capacity. If it dies, it’s slow death to all of us. Since Bolsonaro’s election to office, the Amazon has seen unprecedented deforestation. Brazilian journalist and activist Eliane Brum in her article to the British Guardian says the deforestation rate was an area the size of Manhattan every day, a Greater London every three weeks. 
And for the first time, since Brazil became a democracy, the country has a minister against the environment, whom Brum describes as a golfer for agribusiness. The real estate lobby has always been part of the Brazilian government, she notes. But today, it has reached another level. The industry is not part of government; it is the government. Bolsonaro’s haphazard development plan with little or no concern for the environment promotes rapid deforestation of the rainforest for Brazil’s agricultural and mining industries to exploit its resources, in keeping with his Trump-like slogan ‘Brazil Above Everything.’


If we want to save Mother Earth, it is a matter of urgency that we overthrow populist rightwing regimes which take a shortcut to development, to hell with the environment, and worries about natural disasters such as prolonged droughts and large-scale deluges. 
Our effort to save Mother Earth is innately linked with good governance. Shorn of corruption and secrecy, governments committed to good governance can save Mother Earth, while rightwing populists and even phony democrats pander to the perversity of greedy capitalism.
For instance, in the power and energy sector, corruption has increased. Even in Sri Lanka, instead of green energy, corruption has led to a situation where we burn more coal and diesel to generate electricity at a humongous cost to the country’s economy and environment.  This is why greedy capitalism loves rightwing populists who through their demagoguery can silence opposition to environmentally dangerous projects. Therefore, to save the planet, we need to elect those who uphold moralistic principles in governance.
Also to save the blue planet’s ecosystem, we need to curtail waste, be it the food we eat or the water, electricity, gas and fuel we consume. By switching off the extra bulb, we help save the earth. By eliminating corruption and ousting corrupt politicians, we help save the earth.

 

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