If op-eds are like human beings then I mostly find that environment op-eds are like ARTS students and economics op-eds are like ENGINEERS. Confused Billi for one, is an engineer by training.
Why I make such an observation is because I always felt that environmentalists are rarely bothered about the developmental concerns. And the thing is that aside from UPSC preparation where I have to unwittingly mug up some quotes and write down some point of views –
Confusion Level 1: I always wonder if there an equation where we can put in some funda like:
Environmentalists ki concerns + Economist ki development optimism = NET ANSWER (Profit yaa Loss?)
You get the drift right? Engineers always feel that life would be much sorted if there were an equation available to understand the whole world view!
You want examples? Take this one
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s grand culture show: Positives due to the culture meet on tourism, soft power etc + Negatives due to environmental losses & Health issues post that = What net dollar gain?
Or should we have a happiness gain index (Just like Bhutan has a Gross National Happiness)
You get the drift right? Koi Prelims question nahi aaega iss discussion se but you can get some really cool mains & interview level points. How! I was reading this op-ed from Live Mint
1. Measures to safeguard the environment are often considered to be economic spoilers
2. World Bank did a new study – The cost of air pollution: strengthening the economic case for action
3. What’s different about this study? Usually economists rant about the costs of shutting down the factories due to environmental concerns. These guys said what about the “cost imposed on people living in regions where pollution and environmental degradation is higher.” Genius, right?
This right here is first point for your mains, essay and interview masala!
4. What were the findings?
# The welfare costs and lost labour income due to air pollution amounted to 8.5% of India’s GDP in 2013! Big numbers right! Seedhe quote karne ka hai isko to
# The report ranks air pollution as the fourth biggest fatal risk factor in the world. Air pollution kills more people than tobacco, alcohol or drug use or unsafe sex in most countries. That’s a huge point of concern right?
If you are reading this line, then you know that you have enough ammo to beat the shit out of a crazy economics major who shuns the environmentalists. So, essentially the arts’ student won.
Infact – today’s Target Mains question was also on the similar lines – Read it later. This might also be a good time to revise PRELIMS specific basics on pollution and stuff – Air Pollution: Issues & Challenges and this Simple acts like brushing your teeth may be polluting the environment (this is more like a trivia blog).
So, what next? I was happy for a while that somehow, some study is able to marry economist and an environmentalist but then I thought okay, so what is the world doing for it!
But apne ko kya hai, apne ko to bass UPSC nikalna hai 🙂
Now, the literature for environmental concerns & initiatives is huuuge! There is no way I can summarise everything in one post! I mean before entering into UPSC prep, I had no clue of UNEP and the Earth Summit of 1992 and then the Rio + 20 and so on. I am still grappling with its timeline and I still get confused with the outcomes of various talks, treaties, etc. etc.
If someone can help this billi ki yahan pe chal kya raha hai, I will be forever indebted! For now, I am reading old cards listed on this story – NAPCC: India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change to understand the backstory on what India is doing.
Confusion Level 2: While reading up on these links, I wondered what if there is an essay question in general with a theme like – We are not doing enough for the environment OR the famous old age – world has everything for your need but not for your greed etc. etc. What different can one write? What case studies can we give to give a simple, easy to understand narrative and voila, I found this nice interactive comparison done by guardian – Which countries are doing the most to stop dangerous global warming?
Do read the links. You will like them (I hope). Tell me if you liked reading the post. What else do you want to be covered?