Isn’t it beautiful…home, buildings, shops, and even the road are all lighted. There is a sense of joy around us as we look forward to celebrate Diwali. My office was also so beautifully decorated with everyone looking absolutely stunning in their ethnic wear. This is the charm of this festival…infusing people with warmth and happiness. However, I would take a few minutes to reflect on the aspect we generally don’t talk about – smog which hits the city after Diwali, and the amount of pollution caused by the fireworks around.
For all that’s ever been said about global warming and climate change, we haven’t heard enough about the psychological impacts of living in this world. If you’ve heard the grim climate research that progressive organizations like BCG weave into the reports and insightful documentaries, it is easy to feel bouts of fatalism. Furthermore, if you have been impacted by climate disaster in your life, these feelings can set in far deeper impact, leading to trauma, depression, and the loss of personal identity.
From initiatives like many organizations are taking including BCG, comprehensive technological work is underway to minimize this climate chaos. However, with this post, I hope to evoke a feeling in you for why we also need our behavior and actions aligned to support green technologies and initiatives. Moreover, I would also like to take a few minutes to reflect and understand how our dynamic environments threaten our social, mental, and physical well-being.
According to research, climate change has a substantial impact on human emotions. You can correlate it with the gloomy feeling one gets when there is no sun for days during winter or perhaps the anxiety one feels during the hot summer days. Trends that we have observed after extreme weather events like Hurricane Katrina or Sandy for enhancing PTSD. Furthermore, there is a plethora of reports on rich mental-health data from the northern part of the world where the impact of climate warming is faced the most. There is a large part of identity, vanishing before our eyes.
Adding on to that, as per the American Psychological Association (APA) explains that our psychological stimulus corresponds to the changes in climate. For instance, conflicts, resignation, and helplessness are growing. This implies that our unconscious and conscious mental process are perhaps holding us back from focusing on the cause of the problems like these.
Lately, I have been researching the phenomenon that’s just one of the examples of emotional hardships that we are experiencing. This comes in the form of questions that many people are struggling to answer in my generation. I have a daughter and I worry about her life twenty years hence. Let’s face it, any child born today will have live in the world of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. All these natural disasters have now become a commonly occurring checking in with humans annually.
The UN anticipates almost two-thirds of the global population would face water shortage in just 6-7 years from now. We have already witnessed the hottest 20 year on record occurrence within the last two decades. According to the forecast by Worldbank, there will be 140 million climate refugees in South Asia, Latin America, and Africa. This will result in mass migration and resource paucity which will definitely escalate violence, political instability, and war.
I feel grateful to have witnessed my leaders here at BCG driving climate and sustainability to the core and actually walking the talk. This has inspired me not only to learn more about the domain but also actively participate in initiatives that support the environment. I have been to many courses about the climate in my organization and realized that this topic demands more attention and reverence. We are so engrossed in our daily routine that we forget to ponder about the fact, what kind of world we are leaving for our children?
I am not sure if you are aware of this or not, but there is a movement called as BirthStrike. Members of this movement have declared that they aren’t going to have children due to ecological problems and inaction from the government to address this looming threat. Indeed, there may be other generations who had faced their own dangers and apocalyptic scenarios but there is no way one should disregard the very evident threat to survival now! Certain people feel it’s much better to adopt kids rather than bring a new soul into the world. This decision however is more linked t cultural norms, religious beliefs, levels of education, and socioeconomic status.
You see, climate change is starting to hit time, psychologically, and this would only increase. The pressing concern about having children in the climate crisis is an urgent indicator of how hard-pressed people are feeling. Many environmentalists might tell you best antidote to this is activism. Some may tell you we need stringent government policies and I would urge you to reflect more on your lifestyle. We need all these ideas and more to take care of ourselves in the long run as we experience the environment becoming more punishing toward us. Climate is changing…when will you change?
This Diwali my humble request is to be more cognizant about actions and how they would impact the environment. Let’s pledge to celebrate eco-friendly Diwali and contribute our bit for climate sustainability.