Climate Change And Environment: 5 Important Considerations!

    While the average attention span of people reading articles on the internet is just ten seconds, I hope that my article is able to garner enough interest in you to read through it till the end. No matter what profession you are in or how much do you know about this topic already, I believe that there will be something interesting for everyone here. For instance, if you are an undergraduate studying environmental science, there may be some topics covered here which would help you understand your discipline better. However, if you are a working professional or an entrepreneur who wants to branch out into green business but doesn’t quite know where to start yet – this article has got everything for you!

      Overpopulation and global warming are two primary causes of concern that contribute to environmental degradation. Right now, the global population is over 7 billion and is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. The climate change phenomenon has started manifesting itself in various forms with rising sea levels, increased intensity of natural disasters (cyclones, floods), among others. Yet another concerning factor that contributes towards environmental degradation is our increasing dependency on non-renewable sources of energy like coal, oil etc for power generation. All these factors combined together create what can be described as a perfect storm with catastrophic consequences for all living organisms including humans – leaving behind very few survivors.

      Let us start this article by discussing the five important considerations one must keep in mind while attempting to combat climate change and environmental degradation:

1)      It is extremely important to realize that one person’s waste is somebody else’s food. There is a term called “ecological footprint” which basically implies the number of resources available to support an individual. For instance, if you eat three hamburgers a day and follow a sedentary lifestyle then your ecological footprint will be high as opposed to a person who eats less, exercises more and lives green from inside out. We all need to undertake the responsibility of lowering our ecological footprints by choosing low impact lifestyles. A similar concept applies at the country level too – for developing countries like China and India, it would make sense to not adopt stringent environmental protection standards or laws as their per capita consumption levels are still relatively low compared to economies of the USA, Europe etc. However, this would be a wrong assumption as an increasing number of China and India’s citizens are entering the middle-class bracket which would eventually translate into higher per capita consumption levels.

2)      Another important thing that people often fail to understand is that conservation efforts should not merely focus on protecting forests, rivers, animals etc but should extend to include preserving our cultural heritage too. For instance, if you visit the historical city Munnar in Kerala or Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh or the Konark Sun Temple near Puri – you will find signs indicating that these monuments are protected by law. Have you ever wondered why? It is because these places provide rich insight into how human beings used to live centuries ago – their history, architecture and artwork. If such monuments are not preserved and modernized, we will lose our cultural heritage as well.

3)      Our economy is based on an abundance mindset where resources are taken for granted rather than being conserved. We have grown so used to having an abundant water supply at the turn of a tap that it never occurs to us how many gallons of water are wasted in the process. Similarly, you won’t be surprised if I tell you that an average American family spends more time in their car compared to walking! Wouldn’t it be nice if people stopped focusing on maximizing their profits by increasing consumerism but instead shifted their focus towards creating wealth through recycling, reusing materials etc?

  4)      One can argue that since India is a rapidly developing economy it would be more practical to adopt renewable energy sources like solar, wind power etc rather than focusing on technologies that are expensive and time-consuming. While this argument has merit at the face of it, in reality, such a switchover will lead to high initial capital investments and low or no returns for many years. The final outcome might very well be that renewables may not edge out conventional non-renewable sources in terms of cost-effectiveness when compared with each other. Therefore, it would make sense to take into account the urgency and severity of the situation while deciding which source(s) should be preferred in what proportion.

5)      All financial investments carry an element of risk either due to exogenous factors (oil prices, interest rates etc) or due to the firm’s internal risk profile. All this boils down to one question – should we take on more risk by investing in highly volatile sectors like renewables or conventional non-renewable sources? This is a decision that each person has to make for him/herself based on personal preferences and available resources. However, since the cost of capital is an important input into the pricing model of any business, people who take on higher levels of debt should look at ways to lower their weighted average cost of capital through other means rather than reducing environmental impact alone.

    While the average attention span of people reading articles on the internet is just ten seconds, I hope that my article is able to garner enough interest in you to read through it till the end. No matter what profession you are in or how much do you know about this topic already, I believe…