Saturday, March 28, 2009

As the lights went off...

Today was marked worldwide as the world Earth day, and something that enjoyed wide appeal worldwide was it's marking with a "one hour light's off" ceremony to draw attention to the energy and environmental issues that are critical to the sustainability of life on Earth. The Earth hour this year was truly significant. The very first event held was in the city of Sydney, Australia in 2007. A year later, some four hundred cities joined in the call to politicians and decision makers to take bolder action to stem the tide of climate change. This year however, over four thousand cities joined in this campaign of global significance as the environmental issues continue to gain more relevance in the psyche of the Earths inhabitants, in the midst of a global crisis of multifaceted dimensions. Even as the global financial meltdown is still assumed to have as yet reached it's nadir, the onus on the decision makers in world affairs to take immediate action to mitigate an awaiting calamity, as a deterioration of the planets climate and environmental conditions would far more exceed the limits of mankind's capabilities to manage should necessary warnings are not heeded today.

With the wind down of the Kyoto Protocol due in 2012, and the expectation that the Copenhagen Summit in Denmark later in the year holds, it is important to take into cognisance that the efforts of the international state system be in correlation with the genuine needs of the entire inhabitants of our common heritage, the Planet Earth, as not only a bequeathal to one, but a bequeathal to all the entirety of humanity. As the contemporary system was left a legacy to our generation, we must strive to leave a befitting legacy for the generations yet unborn.

This is by no means implying that the Earth can be healed in our lifetime, but reason dictates that we begin that process of recovery, at least to such an extent that it can be progressively built upon by those ones who would assume such responsibilities long after our generation and most probably, our childrens', might have passed on. The challenge starts now, further delay might prove costly for life as we know it to be. The reality of extinct lifeforms from the field of Paleontology is ample evidence that catastrophes (terrestrial or extra-terrestrial) of incomprehensible magnitude can occur and has occurred, leading to total annihilation of once predominant and flourishing lifeforms.

Well, this is not meant to be a doomsday sermon however as that might be a distant probability at this moment. It is only hoped that with the rhetoric of international collaborative, cooperative and coordinated camaraderie fleeting across the speech of the worlds political elite in the face of the subsisting economic crisis, the necessity for a realistic pragmatism would win through, and climate friendly policies would be incorporated not just in the statute books of international diplomacy, but also in the minds, consciousness and orientations of each and every one of the 6.5 Billion (and counting...) individuals in the world today. At least, for the international capitalist system to remain the focal ideological perspective of a Globalizing 21st century world, there has to be an environmentally sustainable way of harnessing the worlds plethora of energy sources.

Oh, and one might want to ask, how was the day marked in Benin City? Well, there was actually no consumption of electricity for most parts of the day, this was not due to any premeditated or deliberate efforts of the citizenry at marking an event that was marked in all the regions of the globe (as most were not even aware of the occasion). Rather, the notoriety of the national power grid meant no power supply for most parts of the nation, and in the stipulated hours between 8.30 pm and 9.30 pm, most of the households in the city (and in many other parts of the country as well) were powered by generating sets which actually contribute a significant percentage of Nigeria's over 100,000 Metric Tonnes of CO2 emissions, about 0.4 % of the total world percentage. And the lights are still off...