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Dystopia in real time

Aug 7, 2022

Sanctuary Asia Cover Story: August 2022

Honoured to co-author this essay for Sanctuary Asia with its founding editor and an iconic champion of Nature – Bittu Sahgal! The Sanctuary Debate 2022: Do YOU Believe That Environmentalists Have Become Merchants of Dystopia and Doom? forms the backdrop to the essay.

As I sat down to write my part, the temperature had breached 45C. Did it really matter how far up the mercury moved from there? Frequent power cuts – nudged me to return to Mumbai. I thought there was nothing dystopian about the timing of the debate hosted at the Experimental Theatre, National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA). It was an established reality. That this could be the ‘coolest’ summer ever – going forward – was indeed dystopian!

For a change the monsoon arrived in nick of time. Despite all the attendant woes, Mumbai felt heavenly. The heat-wave rapidly drifted across to Europe. The stage seemed set for Act 2. ‘NetZero’ was a molten resolve, coal reignited to beat the cruel heat and the case for ensuring a Greenhouse Gas buffered winter warmth was settled. A place each for gas and nuclear seemed assured in the hallowed portal of euro taxonomy.

What a coup for the fossil fuel industry! Is there a future for renewable energy? Yes, there is – if only we are serious about the well being of coming generations. There is enough science, knowledge and wisdom to get our biodiversity & eco-system back on track. Just one catch. Greed gets in the way. The choice is simple – survive or perish as a specie. The Planet can return to health, if left to itself.

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