To be stuck between two equally tough decisions or situations. The expression is often used when a person feels as if there are no good options available to him or her. There are similar expressions which are Catch 22 situation or Hobson’s choice.
I had shared the above video with friends. My friend Vijay and I had a banter about this video.
The remark I had written when I shared the video led to the banter.
“Can’t imagine something dangerous lurking behind this blissful morning!”
Vijay: Didn’t get it!
Do you mean this Blissful situation is there because of dreadful COVID?
Pramod: Yes. Nahi to smog Hota hai poora😒
Vijay: A Question:
What would you choose between- Routine Day to Day life with smog or the Blissful situation caused by Covid-19?
Pramod: Is that a question 😊 We should be able to reset🙂
Vijay: No, a blunt answer.
Pramod: Business can be rebuilt; nature can’t.
Vijay: Nature is supposed to be the greatest healer!
Pramod: But there is a limit
It looks like an early morning banter between friends, but it put my mind into action. Hence the title! What is good, and what is evil? It is a tough question to answer. But the problem is that this is too big a subject to be discussed in a blog. But let me try.
Here is the situation that has slowly developed and sometimes not so slow. The world is moving ahead at breakneck speed with development in different fields. In the last twenty years, the average rate of growth must be many times that of the pace in the previous hundred years. There is always a downside to any story if we do not handle the environmental aspects correctly. Vijay asked me for a blunt reply. He said, not in those words, but the banter is always implicit. He said, “Would you prefer to see Sinhgad clearly, or would you rather see it in the haze but with continued breakneck growth?” COVID 19 situation has put us in a situation of rethinking various strategies. We should all introspect; we may not get such a golden opportunity again.
The million-dollar question is progress or pollution? Let us first understand the meaning of pollution. Pollution, also called environmental pollution, is the addition of any substance (solid, liquid, or gas) or any form of energy (such as heat, sound, or radioactivity) to the environment. The rate of addition is faster than it can be dispersed, diluted, decomposed, recycled, or stored in some harmless form. Why does this happen? What are the factors increasing environmental pollution?
The second image is from Bogota and the third one is the Himalayas seen from Jalandhar about one hundred miles away- SHared by cricketer Harbhajan Singh.
Progress and Pollution go hand in hand. Many times, now, the pollution rate is higher than the gain. Why does this happen? Consider power plants run on fossil fuels. Consider anything run on fossil fuels. Cars, Motorcycles, Aeroplanes, Gensets, Power plants are some of the applications that burn fuel, pun intended. Polluting gases like CO2, and particles are released in the atmosphere. It has led to the depletion of the ozone layer. What is the reason for this fast forward in the world? The western world has been polluting heavily for an extended period. In late ’70 s of the last century, before the world realised, China started “progressing” in a big way. India joined the race at the beginning of this century. With a large population, these two countries joined the bandwagon of polluters. But the polluter in chief was the culprit and the judge too! The United States of America.
Combination of progress and controlled pollution is possible when nations have the will. These nations also must spend a lot of money on anti-pollution devices and actions. When the world had small population during the pre-industrial era, we used to dump things in rivers. The smoke polluting chimney was the norm; Nature, like a kind mother, was absorbing our errors. We continued with similar habits even after industrialisation. Some of us “woke up” early and started speaking against these follies. As usually happens, we called these people anti-development or anti-everything. Before we could grasp what was happening, the situation went out of control. The “culprit/ judge” declared then that they were quitting the global body to control pollution because “anti-gang” was coming in the way of progress! There was no serious issue as per the judge. Except for them, everybody else was the culprit!
When a large, highly advanced nation takes this stance, things are bound to spiral into a serious problem. Well, there are many theories now coming out like the mother nature taking its revenge! The revenge is supposedly in the form of the current pandemic. The pandemic has stopped the cities, states and nations. It has stopped has stores, malls, factories and markets. Rail, road and air travel is used only for emergency needs. The world has come to a standstill. Vijay asked me what you would prefer, the better world at a halt or the usual chaotic world with millions of problems which seem insurmountable.
The answer is that the everyday world is preferable but! We must consider the “but” rider. We cannot continue our chaotic, polluting ways. The human race is supposed to live a life that will be a better life for future generations. During pre-pandemic days, we were riding a goods train with failed breaks. The question has been when and how the train would derail. There was no “if”; everybody was sure that we humans would crash. The classic example of this, we saw yesterday on the news channels. State governments in India allowed the liquor shops to open from yesterday. In every city, we saw the same scenes. People lined up in front of wine shops from six am. It was as if the alcohol is a remedy for the pandemic, and you are likely to die if you are not able to procure it. Social distancing norms be damned. We should keep our fingers crossed and hope that all of us change for the better!
What is the answer to Vijay’s blunt question? My answer is we should not forget that the ozone layer depletion, smog, (and smog-related illnesses) are facts of life. The investments in businesses and development must also have a large element of funds to control the downside. If we invest 100 units for growth, make it 70 for development and 30 for environmental issues. If 5G technology comes in the year 2035 instead of 2025 heavens are not going to fall. I would love to go to Sinhgad to enjoy the beauty of nature. But if that 30 km ride is pollution-free, I would love it more. Let me observe the tower, where I live while standing on top of Sinhgad. Sinhgad example is a metaphor. It is like Sakura flowers in Japan or Goldmohur trees in India. These bloom in spring and in summer. What will happen if these flowers do not bloom? If we don’t behave, it could happen. Don’t forget that Arctic ice caps are melting. It is not a futuristic threat; it is already happening. Why not try and switch over to Electric Vehicles? Why not go for wind energy and solar systems in a big way?
Everybody big and small should think in terms of the environment while doing whatever they are doing. Some things can become expensive. BS 6 engines are costly. But is there any choice? All these years, we did not take environmental cost into the business calculation; hence we could sell things at a lower price. There should be heavy taxation on polluting products as they have on liquor (for a different reason). It is the way we should bring a better environment to the next generation. We should teach them to respect the God-given gift, nature.
Yes! We must have progress! But it should not be a relentless pursuit. The progress should be married to a better environment, improved environment!
Sorry, Vijay! Instead of one line reply, I gave you 1300 plus words of reply!