The realization towards climate change and environment started around the 1960s and 1970s when Rachel Carson published her famous book “The Silent Spring” in 1962 and the report “The limits to growth” was published. Since then activism towards the problems of environmental degradation and climate change emerged in a big manner. However, the issue of Climate Change is more complex and controversial because of its claim of historical responsibility as well as the push towards limiting the growth of consumerism which is the dominant narrative of the world.
Action against Climate Change started from the issue of “Ozone Depletion” when countries came forward to sign the Montreal Protocol in 1987. However, the issue of ozone depletion and the comprehensive idea of climate change are very different. The issue of climate change became contentious because there was skepticism towards its acceptance and availability of scientific evidence. There was conflicting evidence provided for climate change even by the scientific community. However, the efforts towards building a consensus around the narrative of climate change started from the report of Brutland Commission Report- “Our Common Future” which came out in 1987 and also provided the concept of “sustainable development”. Subsequently, the Rio Earth Summit held in 1992. It means that efforts towards combating Climate Change started long before but it took a long time to make it a dominant narrative of the time.
The documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” by Mr. Al Gore, which came in May 2006 was not a single event in his life. He started his activism towards Climate Change much before when he lost a Presidential election against George W. Bush in 2002. When this documentary came, people started seeing the disastrous consequences of climate change in various forms like Hurricanes, Droughts, Floods, Heat waves etc. This documentary brought the issue of climate change on a public forum. Before that, the issue of climate change was the topic of discussion in the scientific community or people who are involved in dealing with the issue. He vividly pictured all the havoc which is happening on the earth due to climate change through various pictures, videos, and a picture of a dramatic increasing trend in temperature.
Even he got a lot of flak from various organizations as well as political parties, there has been consistent realization towards the problem of climate change. It can be seen in terms of Stern Review coming in 2006. There might be no correlation between the two but this documentary created a lot of awareness among the people of the developed world. It can also be seen in the exponential growth of renewable energy in the field of Solar, Wind, Nuclear etc. It can also be seen in terms of the signing of Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. One more interesting thing is that the US who consistently did not sign the agreement has increased it’s renewable energy capacity. However, the sad thing is that temperature is still rising, glaciers are still melting, sea level is still rising and engulfing low-lying areas and petty politicians like Mr. Trump still denying the climate change.
However, the problem is not about signing the Paris Climate Agreement but there is a lack of realization of the idea of “limits to growth”. We don’t want to accept that ‘we have one earth’ and we want to go to Mars to settle a colony there. In fact, here I remember the quote of Gandhiji, he says,
“Earth has enough to satisfy everyone’s need but not everyone’s greed”.
Please see this link to watch this documentary