Skip to content

In conversation with Bittu Sahgal: “My generation has left you a world with fewer choices and greater risks. But it’s still a beautiful planet…”.

Dec 30, 2022

May the Cosmos conspire: My hope is that you will not take pure air, clean water and productive soils for granted as my generation did. That you will, instead, respect and venerate these as the priceless gifts as our ancestors did.

Praveen Gupta: In the last 5 decades of your involvement with Nature – what has indeed changed for good?

Bittu Sahgal: Two specific developments offer me hope.

First… young people from the four corners of the earth have witnessed, and are convinced, that our climate crisis is a direct result of the unfettered use of fossil fuels, coupled with the destruction of species diversity contained within Earth’s diverse biomes and ecosystems.

Second… our young realise that better planet management, and cooperation, will offer the long-term food, water, social and economic stability humans desperately need to survive the trials of life.

PG: What needs to desperately change with due urgency?

BS: Humans must accept, with humility, that adapting to bio-spheric imperatives, is a better survival strategy than relying on the nascent, untested technologies currently being deployed by us to refashion Earth’s biosphere.

 It’s an anthropogenic climate misadventure. The result of believing that humans have become the gods we invented.

PG: How would you define the Climate Crisis that many around us still refuse to recognise?

BS: It’s an anthropogenic climate misadventure. The result of believing that humans have become the gods we invented. Climate economist Lord Nicholas Stern, Head, London School of Economics’, India Observatory, put it best in his landmark 2006 report, The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change: “Climate change could lead to the greatest market failure ever.”  

PG: Your message to the young?

BS: My generation of elders are less wise than they claim to be. They are colonising your ecological future. But it is not too late to restore Earth’s balance. Working with nature you can and must start on the long road back to planetary stability by flowing with nature’s tide, instead of fighting to change its flow. 

“Climate change could lead to the greatest market failure ever.”  

PG: Your vision for the next 50 years?

BS: Charles Darwin’s stark ‘adapt or die’ prediction, coupled with Richard Dawkins’ Magic of Reality will become the mantra to reboot our planet.

As the COVID-19 pandemic proved, skies will turn blue again and rivers will run clean. Forests will regenerate. And the oceans will slowly begin to stabilise Earth’s climate. History will record how ignorance, avarice, arrogance and apathy combined to push Homo sapiens to the very edge of disaster. Stability and stasis will replace economic growth as the holy grail of long-term sustainability.

Economic choices have always been determined by scarcity and choice. And survival has always involved actions based on risk analysis. My generation has left you a world with fewer choices and greater risks. But it’s still a beautiful planet and you will still wake up each morning to the wonders around you. My hope is that you will not take pure air, clean water and productive soils for granted as my generation did. That you will, instead, respect and venerate these as the priceless gifts as our ancestors did.

PG: Many thanks Bittu for sharing these pearls of wisdom and hope. Here is wishing you A Blessed & Happy New Year!

From → Articles

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: