Thursday, October 15, 2009

Transportation woes no more?

Living in India, as I do, climate change is a politically charged subject. The position of my country is clear – we were not responsible for creating this mess, you were. So do not now turn around and tell me not to add to the mess, because I will do so unless you either compensate me for the mess you have created, or you enable me to get to where I want to get without the attendant mess.

Fundamentally, I do not disapprove of the stand. Some nations have got to a point where they can afford greener technology by largely ignoring the environmental impact of their actions. They do, now, have a moral obligation to help other nations get to that point too. But for nations like mine to downplay their responsibility is downright shortsighted.

Just because some nations have taken a particular (environmentally destructive) route to development doesn’t mean there is no other. Two decades back, it was the aspiration of every middle class Indian to own a family car. Today, income levels have gone up to an extent where the same individuals have a car each- and no roads to drive them in.

As a nation, we should be looking at improving public transportation, so people are encouraged to keep their cars at home. Instead, we create the world’s cheapest car, so more people can afford to purchase four wheels and an exhaust pipe that further adds to the carbon emission levels.

Pedestrian walkways, an integrated transportation system, telecommuting, shifting business districts to reduce travel time. You don’t have to be an urban planner to know the solution to the woes that assail the larger Indian cities. Implementing them would require political will, but would also substantially improve the quality of life of every citizen of urban India. And reduce carbon emission in the bargain.

Wouldn’t it be more productive for the Powers that Are to start working on some of these issues, rather than just haranguing the ‘richer’ nations to pay a debt which they barely acknowledge?


Anonymous said...

Brilliant post! You make some good points... I can understand the attitude of your country, but as you say, this isn't really helpful in the long run. We have to realize that climate change is a GLOBAL problem, a ticking time bomb that we must try to solve together. When it comes to restrictions on carbon emissions, then more technologically advanced countries should have stricter restrictions than those who cannot afford it.

Public transport should be something all governments subsidize and support. And, of course, we must put in resources to develop an alternative to fuel-based vehicles -i.e. solar powered cars or, even better, electric cars that do not spew out these dangerous emissions.

Jan Morrison said...

Thank you Rayna for your post. Most of us are asleep wherever we live. More population obviously more sleepyheads but even us living in rather sparsley populated places (Canada) have the same obligation to respond to the problem and not sleep through it. Awake! Oh right you are! keep these posts coming. they are very needed.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Fiona - thanks! It is such a pity that we get so caught up in the blame game and in petty politics that we forget to do what we need to do to keep the world livable.
But I have an issue with electric cars - while the cars themselves do not spew out emission, the power plants where the electricity is generated are often quite polluting. Solar cars, or better still fewer cars, is the best way to go.

@ Jan - you definitely are not sleeping through the problem. The lifestyle changes that you are making are positive both to you and the world.

Lisa said...

Very well articulated. And just enough passion to keep me interested but not turn me away from reading. Well done.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great points here. We should work toward solutions, even on a personal level, instead of finger-pointing. Although India does definitely have a point about the US!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Galen Kindley--Author said...

There’s a phrase I very much admire and try to live by. I’m told it’s Japanese in origin, but, that doesn’t really matter. The phrase is…“Fix the problem, not the blame.” Not saying that those responsible for a problem should get a free pass…not at all. But, I do think the phrase is trying to communicate the idea that problem solving is more important than finger point. Sadly, that’s not what always happens. As a result, the problem—whatever it might be--continues unabated. So, let’s fix problems first, sort out responsibilities secondarily, or, at worst, as we go along.

Best Regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Elspeth Antonelli said...

You've written a wonderful passionate post about a problem that will not go away no matter how hard the countries of the world ignore it.

I try to do what I can in my own small way. I recycle. I compost. I turn off lights when no one's in the room and I put on a sweater before I turn up the heat. I make one car trip coordinating all my errands instead of five separate ones.


Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Lisa - thank you. That is a difficult balance to achieve, and I'm convinced I rarely succeed.

@ Elizabeth - I do wish all of us do more on a personal level. Even small things like using both sides of a paper while printing.

@ Galen - that is a brilliant sentiment/ quote. If more of us did that, the world would definitely be a much better place for all of us.

@ Elspeth - small actions always add up, don't they? Or should.


Related Posts with Thumbnails