India is at the cusp of bringing about some major transformations in the way the world thinks and perceives about its environmental related issues. It is actually at the cusp of change to unleash new knowledge to the World, cleanse the world of its infodemics on Climate Change, weave the world communities into making the Earth a livable, sustainable and more beautiful place, and with the type of Prime Minister (Honourarble Sri Narendra Modi) that it has, anything is possible.
Nowhere, is this idea more reflected other than conferences and summits.
Consider the slogans put by PM Modi
ONE SUN, ONE WORLD ONE GRID
ONE EARTH ONE FAMILY ONE FUTURE.
The slogans coined at other places by PM Modi speaks for his wisdom of being a statesman.
For one, India can be a breeding ground for such understandings of its environment that speaks volume about its history culture and the numerous adaptations people had for millenia.
But there has been a rediscovery of the aspects that we have known and practiced.
There are reasons for
Thus, India can see opportunities in climatic change that perhaps no one can see, no one can imagine. These opportunities are –
India is in a position to take leadership of cleaning the world through its soft power reach and it can apply all aspects – prevention, improvement and control.
India is in an excellent position to teach a sustainable lifestyle to the world, guide them to have a minimalistic living, use local wisdom, employ glocal technology (global + local technology), lower the cost of energy expenditure in managing global warming, in preserving local wisdom and knowledge, weaving indigenous people with technology, and making the historical knowledge gained through millennia get identified, respected and implemented by the world.
The ways and means are many, one is through Managing Indigenous Societies and their Knowledge throughout the world. This is because
Indigenous people learn about other indigenous climate change-related experiences, while scientists gain opportunities to ground-truth (field check) climate models and scenarios.
Being a 15,000-year old civilization, India can play a pivotal role in not only ending the suffering of indigenous people but utilizing their knowledge and experience for the whole world.
India can model Universities based on such experience on the lines of Barefoot College in Tilonia.
However, India will need to create a realistic model that is visible and invisible as per its choosing. This is where India can truly be a Vishwa Guru.
This model will help new diplomacy for India-Eco Diplomacy, it will also empower a lot of local communities across the globe, and India is the only country that has the willingness and ability to provide a platform to showcase indigenous genius to the entire world.
India can create two models, to showcase and implement them for the World on its soft power platform.
By creating a Nature Centric Development Approach that sets value and importance on the entire environment and all life in it, India can lead the whole world to make the shift! By fusing management and technology with minimal investment, India can showcase its carbon capture methods to the whole world.
Secondly, we create self-reliant models of independent units with zero emissions that are environmentally sustainable in different agro-climatic regions. This model could be adopted by different countries with a similar climate like as diverse countries cutting across geography as Mali, Cambodia, Siberia and Argentina.
We can set examples by expanding and reclaiming our wetlands to capture and sequester carbon deposits. Wetlands cover about 6 to 9% of the earth’s surface and sequester roughly 35% of the global terrestrial carbon.
Although forests were considered the best natural protection against climate change, recent research shows that seaweed is the most effective natural way of absorbing carbon emissions from the atmosphere. India has a large Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), an area that extends 200 nautical miles from the shoreline. They can be used to remove huge amounts of carbon deposits and provide protein to its citizens from seaweed.
The 7500 odd km of coastline is an effective way to grow and nurture kelp. Kelp is a type of seaweed and its farming is considered to be a remedy for all the ills associated with global warming. Kelp can grow as much as 20 cm every day. It not only absorbs carbon dioxide but also de-acidifies the ocean water making it less acidic. By drawing CO₂ out of the waters they allow our oceans to absorb even more CO₂ from the atmosphere.
With the largest basaltic exposure in the world, India can additionally use basalt weathering technology to absorb carbon deposits. Basalt weathering means mixing crushed basalt with soil, which slowly dissolves and reacts with carbon dioxide to form carbonates. This method would allow between 0.5 billion and 2 billion tonnes of CO2 to be separated from the atmosphere each year.
India is in a unique position to be a powerhouse of environmental knowledge and a policy interventionist too, given its soft power status. The goodwill earned during COVID and its willingness to mold the world to follow sustainable climate management practices should help.
Our model of minimalistic living can be perfected by taking blocks from different agro-climatic regions to create unique models that are not only cost-effective but simple, sustainable, decentralised, resource congruent, and very developmental oriented, with lots of inbuilt models of innovations. Weaving community aspirations and their security, such models can be exported around the world to similar geographies.
Going local has been our mantra lately. In fact, this life pattern is from ancient Indian wisdom. Our distinct set of concepts and thought patterns include theories based on the revival and evolution of local wisdom that is seldom found elsewhere in the world. These concepts can be weaved with our minimalistic living lifestyle and our nature-centric development visions. They are suited for different geographical settings that can be used anywhere in the world with similar agroclimatic conditions.
Minimalistic living thrives to only use things that serve a purpose. It’s about simple living and having only what one needs to go about daily life. It is a smart rendezvous of technology, attitude and curbing the desires needed to think sustainably.
The components of the model include energy management, water management, vegetarian diet management, housing using natural ingredients and zero energy agriculture all linked with satellites. Rural India works like a partially closed ecosystem in which energy obtained from plant photosynthetic is used to grow crops. This in turn provides essential energy input to grow more food and is an endless cycle. This can be cojoined with new farming technologies developed with countries like Israel, as well as agricultural technologies based on minimum energy.
The Second solution is the modification and linkage of the Happiness model of Bhutan. Both these models not only wean away countries from a GDP-based development model, but also provide alternative sustainable income on India’s soft power platform.
The third is the extension of PM Modi’s concept of the One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG) initiative organized along with the Chhatth festival (the only festival that worships the Sun). It aims to raise awareness about various ways to harness energy from the Sun. It aims to build a transnational grid that would allow countries to source solar power from regions where it is daytime to meet their green energy needs when their own installed solar capacity is not generating energy.
Fourth is, promote carbon credits. The carbon credit market is poised for accelerated growth, especially with the commitment made at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow to achieve net zero’ emissions by 2070. The carbon credit trade could help generate funds for green energy projects. Between 2020 and 2070, India alone would need an estimated 10.1 trillion-dollar investment in the power, hydrogen and mobility sectors. It is now the largest exporter of carbon credits.
McKinsey estimates that demand for carbon credits could rise by a factor of 15 or more by 2030 and by a factor of up to 100 by 2050. Given the demand for carbon credits that could ensue from global efforts to reduce GHG emissions, the world will need a large, transparent, verifiable and environmentally robust voluntary carbon market. The market today is fragmented and complex.
India has the potential to be one of the largest carbon credit markets globally, as the government pushes for a uniform carbon trading market. The appetite for carbon credits will evolve over the next couple of years, as global demand and pressure for ‘net zero’ industries grow. The growth of carbon credit trade depends on the formation of requisite market systems and a National Carbon Registry to meet a country’s commitments under the Nationally Determined Contribution.
Fifth is, organise the other world on a platform that takes care of their sustainability interests. India has a very good soft power reach, a very good potential for friendship quotient with many developing countries, an image that can be the envy of superpowers (except in some Muslim countries), an identity that is shaping up day by day and an influence that has the potential to transform the geopolitical relations of the world.
India can leverage all of it for building a platform, where all the countries who find themselves difficult to mitigate the impact and effects of climatic change to take advantage of each other’s knowledge, wisdom, each other’s technology, each other’s ability to fight injustice, increase the clamours against camouflaged aggression and threats to improve some laws and treaties against their interests and sustainability security. No country has that identity, reach and access coupled with trustworthiness to do so.
If India can reach its potential that will be one major paradigm shift in shaping international relations.
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