Thursday, September 9, 2010

Climate, water and the need for serious humour

Toxic Link on Traditional Delhi Water Systems
Bhagwad on the Arrogance of Skepticism
Bill Maher on what baby-making theories have to do with theories of climate change

I've written two funny posts in a row, and this one ends in a very funny video.  So it only seems fair that you put up with a few short paragraphs of serious business about climate change, weather and water.

Climate change is one of those issues that we keep coming back to, not because we want to, but because it's just so important.  As the climate changes, the earth will change in unpredictable ways.  For a place like India, where millions and millions of people are happy if they get two--to say nothing of three--meals a day, unpredictable is obviously a terrifying word, especially when it comes to things (like rain) that affect food crops. We all like to predict when our next meal is coming.

It's not surprising that climate change will lead to change in weather patterns in many parts of the world. Yes, the sun will still shine; it will just feel warmer in most places. And the rain will still fall, just not in the same way or in the same places that it used to.  (There's a lot of research on this, and I'm not up to hyperlinking it all right now.  The posts up at our climate page are full of links.) 

Nobody is really sure what all this will look like, but it seems clear that rain fed farms will be the hardest hit.  If you don't have access to irrigation, you are stuck when it doesn't rain or when it floods; it's not easy to pack up your farm and move it to a wetter--or dryer--location.  This will likely be a huge and growing problem in decades to come: nearly 80 million hectares out of India's net sown area of around 143 million hectares rely on rain water, as they have no access irrigation.  And there is clear evidence that the water table throughout north India is falling, so even irrigated farms are in danger.

Of course, water is not just a problem in rural areas.  We in Delhi suffer our own water woes.  If you want to learn more about this issue, Toxic Link is holding a program on September 15 at IIC in Delhi that looks interesting.  It's called, "Traditional Water Systems of Delhi." You can read more about it over at the Delhi Greens site.  Here's something from Toxic Link's description of the event:
"A little water is a sea to an ant.” An eco system is made up of many small parts, which could be erroneously thought of as insignificant. Within the intersection of mega scale urban planning and the impacts of climate the almost lost traditional water systems of Delhi need to be revisited urgently.

Of course, a lot of people want to believe that climate change really isn't a problem.  I'd like to rant here, but will contain myself.  Instead, I'll send you to Bhagwad's Expressions.  He looks at the tendency of some people to believe they know more than scientists about climate change just because they've read a lot of stuff on the internet or seen a lot of YouTube videos. Actually, he says it much more clearly than that--you should read it and the discussion it's generated.

Finally, let's look at two videos. The first is sent to us by Bhagwad.  If you haven't seen Bill Maher talk about climate change, you should watch this. In it, he explains what theories of baby making teach us about climate change.  Sometimes, funny people can say serious things best.

And here's a totally different way of looking at climate: Red Card.  (Thanks Minal).


  1. Thanks for the support Hari. No one can quite say things like Bill Maher. He's one of those guys who uses humor like a surgical tool to get to the heart of the debate. We need more comedians!

    Incidentally, Maher's starting up again on Sep. 17th - I'll send more videos your way if I find them interesting.

  2. @Bhagwad: absolutely send more interesting videos. And your post was well done and timely.

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