On Saturday, June 1, Churu, in Rajasthan, reached the temperature of 50.6C. Slightly below 51C in Phalodi, also in Rajasthan, recorded in May 2016. Rivers and lakes in the region are dry and authorities pour water on the streets to prevent asphalt from melting. About 17% of Churu residents are children under the age of six undergoing this deadly heat.
This unacceptable situation is part of the heatwave that has plagued India in recent days, reaching important cities like Delhi, Hyderabad and Jaipur, with the department responsible for climate issues putting about half of the country on alert for the heat wave (with temperatures above 40 ° C). The drought, also, plagues half of the country.
This situation, lived in these days, has been a constant in recent years in India, and has already taken the lives of thousands of people. Children, the elderly and peasants are the hardest hit. Thousands of peasants, unable to pay bank debt, contracted in an attempt to obtain agricultural crops, which in many cases are lost due to the climate, are desperate to be driven to suicide.
Is it possible to solve the climate crisis in India?
The first important issue is that the climate crisis does not reach all countries on the globe in the same way. With only 1 degree warming, we are witnessing a succession of tragedies in all regions of the planet. On the other hand, it must be understood that some countries are being hit harder than others. This is the case of small Pacific archipelago nations such as Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati that are disappearing with rising sea levels. Countries like the Philippines, hit by destructive hurricanes, droughts, hot flashes, floods, lose thousands of lives every year. India, as the last few years demonstrate, is one of the countries hardest hit by climate change. And every year the situation deteriorates. Lack of water already affects millions of people.
The second and most important question is that we do not know if it is possible to solve the climate crisis in India. First, because the situation in India depends on global warming, which increases and its geographical position is not good in this context. Secondly, because the current Modi government has not, in recent years, taken any major steps to resolve the climate crisis. Nor does he show any intention of doing so.
Countries such as Germany and New Zealand have already stated what measures will be taken (without any guarantee) untill 2050. But they are decisions based on the interests of companies and not the world population. Statements aimed at appeasing the impetus of children and young students who take to the streets of these countries in sad and desperate demonstrations and strikes, which should never happen if our civilization were intelligent and rational.
But the children, the elderly, the peasants and the workers of India now live above the acceptable human limit. How to prove? A challenge is enough: which of the readers would be able to leave their mother or their young child in a fanless or without air conditioned room with a temperature ranging from 40C to 51C as it does in India? No conscious person would live in a similar situation of their own free will if he had another choice.
India has no longer what to expect. We must begin to organize climate immigration now.
Even if the whole world begins to radically change in this instant (which does not happen) to solve the climate emergency, it would take several years before it can be reversed to acceptable levels in India. While most European countries may have the illusion that there is still time available and discuss all the measures to maintain their standard of living and resolve the climate crisis, this is not the situation of the population of India.
In India, thousands already die each year. And millions are likely to die in the next if immediate action is not taken because of the heat waves, floods, droughts and, mainly, lack of water and food, since each year will be more difficult to obtain harvests.
India has the second population of the planet, with about 1 billion and 348 million. If we expect that a few million people will die first to conclude that human life has become unfeasible in India, it will be too late, and probably a few million more will die without concretely doing something.There is no way to solve in a few hours, days or even months, climatic emergencies that can affect millions of people. With temperatures already reaching 51C, can anyone prove that they will not reach 52, 53, 54 or even 55 degrees in the next few years? And that these temperatures can occur in a wide area of the country?
Countries in the northern hemisphere, which have a cold climate such as Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, UK should open the door to India’s climate immigrants. And before it is too late, it is necessary for them to accept the climate refugees from India, because India now lives in a humanly unacceptable situation of humanitarian crisis.
Under current circumstances, part of the solution to the climate crisis will inevitably relocate the populations of regions that become uninhabitable, and India is already undoubtedly one of those places.The struggle to open borders for the people of India and climate immigration from now on must be part of the struggle of all the climate activists who today organize protests in a large number of countries around the globe. Particularly, I hope that from our small great leader, Greta Thunberg, and all the activists from Sweden, who gave rise to Fridays For Future.
Tomi Mori, Japan.
June 5, 2019.