Skip to main content

Surviving Climate Change

I live these days in a coastal city where property prices are only going up. I live in an island country where, the debt it owes is several times bigger than its revenues. And my mental reaction is to look at exit doors - be ready to flee, for the oceans are going to claim the land and capitalist vultures are going to claim natural resources - don't know which one will swoop in first, but to me, it seems inevitable.
And yet, I see optimism around me. Maybe others know something that I don't know. Or maybe, I know something that they do know but don't want to acknowledge?
I tried to understand their source of optimism. Maybe, I was wrong.
People are buying real estate at insanely inflated rates, expensive cars and so on. At first I thought that not everyone is an idiot like me who doesn't have too much into savings. Perhaps these are people who have some form of savings - either from inheritance or perhaps they can negotiate better salaries than I do. Something's gotta give.
But as it turns out, for most people, that's not the case. They are all paying EMIs. I have paid my share of EMIs for my education loan for 6 years. 6 Years. I now know how expensive a 10% floating interest rate is. I cannot imagine ever taking a loan again - not unless it is an emergency. And I wonder, how come it doesn't pinch as much to people who CHOOSE to take loans at even higher interest rates for homes and cars. One part of the equation is economics - is it cheaper to rent or to buy? besides, everyone needs a nest to retire in. So they make a choice assuming everything will be fine - to buy a place in the city at rates for which they will have to service the loan for next two decades at least.

Two Decades. Incidentally, that is about the time frame for the climate change to wreak havoc on most of our plans. By 2035, Greenland would have lost most of its ice. Oceans would rise by around 100cm by 2035 by some estimates. (5-9 m eventually and inevitably, according to university of Florida, 2015 as quoted in 'How to let go of the world and love all the things that climate can't change' - a moving documentary about climate change produced by HBO.) If you are in tropical areas, you would  be fighting for bread and wheat and water in famine led 2035. If you are in badly planned metros of developing countries, you would be in deserts of human pollution with bad lungs and terribly low standards of living and high incidences of contagious diseases. It would cost a fortune to remain healthy in a city by then.
So by the time one would pay off the loan for home they bought for, it would be time to flee that place and run to refugee camps for most of us. Certainly, if you are in coastal towns. Even for further inland, it is bound to put stresses (social, resource based, epidemiological, etc) one way or another. Things are getting hotter, wetter, colder, drier... everything is extreme.
How can you plan your life in such extremely uncertain times?

Well, let others decide what they have to decide. I have decided to survive Climate change with open eyes. It is inevitable now - There is far too much CO2 and methane out there to reverse it. And looking at the right wing wave across the planet where science is being undermined in the interest of extractive industries, climate change will only accelerate.

My plan

So here's my own little selfish perspective. I am saying it is selfish, because I feel guilty about it. I should have been part of the conservation movement from before, but I wasn't. And even now, I don't plan to fight the forces, but only to survive. Well, people will have to wake up one way or another. There's no point in sounding the bugles now in our echo chambers.The best thing to do now is to actually do something in the direction of making more sanctuaries - planting trees, water harvesting, seed banks, soil conservation... those things. I, and you if inclined, must start doing these things.

Since it's a departure from the direction of life that I have flowed with so far, I need to plan a little bit. I am giving myself 4 years to build savings to secure my family. And then life there after to build and expand sanctuary in my hometown. Here's my thought process where you should go for sustainable survival.

Find a place where -
1. The elevation is high enough to escape the inevitable global sea level rise. essentially, away from coastal areas. if you are planning for grand children, then further up-country to ensure escaping the 5-9 m rise in sea level.
2. place where climate is conducive and where we could offset extreme weather with non-energy intensive means - home design, reservoirs etc
3. place that is not likely to get on radar of greedy corporates for whatever extractive purposes
4. place where there is a source of conservable/ recyclable water table.
5. not far from cities to ensure medical and emergency access

For me, essentially that means going back to my hometown in a few years.
The plan is to buy land that meets the criteria as closely as possible. Over the next 10 years, build and conserve a sanctuary (with sustainable source of grains, vegetables, water and power) for my family and grow it to accommodate as many people who would want to come. The idea can grow with land and seeds as more people join.
Must start somewhere.
We will need.
1. To learn skills to live a life we have not lived till now- farming, coding, repairs, basic masonry etc
2. To earn enough to get started on a new lifestyle.
3. renewable power source - solar panels, turbines etc.
4. water conservation systems - water harvesting etc
5. seed bank - to conserve biodiversity in the face of climate change. also, to ensure supply of seeds for own farms
6. find a team of people to do this with.

any ideas?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why I repair my shoe

I have 3 shoes. One formal, One sport shoe and another a mix of the two. The last one is particularly awesome, cause of its uniqueness. It looks like a formal shoe, but is as comfortable and flexible as a sport shoe. I bought it for my first job in Mumbai. I was newly rich and was expected to behave like one. I found this gem of pure black leather in a Colaba Causeway showroom. Quite a find. But its been almost two years now and the shoe shows its age. For all its awesomeness, its quite a weak shoe, to give out so early. I have stitched it, got new laces, and strengthened its sole. It doesn't look shiny anymore cause the leather has suffered from a few hostile trespasses. I think, like a man, things too should be allowed to carry their scars. Shiny scar-less men are just so... irrelevant. 

Since childhood, I have been used to using things for long times. Clothes, equipments, shoes etc. I can't just throw things away cause they don't look as good anymore or they don't w…

Reading India through 'Dictator's handbook'

What's the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship?
The book says, not much. India, agrees. Current political dispensation especially agrees vigorously.

"Soma" of hindutva and past glory + divided impoverished amnesiac masses + legitimised attack on individual rights + tremendous wealth shared among few = brave new world of oligarchical India.


Essentially, democracies/ dictatorships etc., are simply variants of the same power dynamic between the ruler, essentials, influentials and inter-changeables.

Interchangeables are the nominal selectorate - the individual voters who have nominal (or cosmetic) power to choose leader - most of us.
Influentials  are the real selectorate - the guys who really choose the leader. In US recently, the electoral college famously went against the popular vote and elected a clown as their president instead. In India, theoretically, the system is a bit better in terms of a wider base of influentials - it could be religious gurus, party…

How many shots of the girl dancing or laughing aimlessly does it take to establish her as a Manic pixie dream girl?

Learning from bad writing: Meri Pyaru bindu These days I am writing my first story that I intend to complete and publish. So as you can imagine, I am in the writer mode most of the time - anxiously looking for writer's intent, choices, character arcs, alternate story lines etc, while watching any movie or reading any novel. With a well written story, these choices are not that apparent. You have to look hard and yet you might miss out on essential choices that the writer made, to make the film/ novel a great piece of art. It feels as if the story flowed out from the author's mind onto paper with zero loss in translation. For that reason, it is difficult to learn much from good writing. It inspires, yes of course. It helps you get in the mood or get into the right frame of mind. But it can't teach as well as a badly written movie/ novel can.
A badly written story makes you aware of your own fallibility. It grounds you. Most importantly, it helps you see the many ways in wh…