are times really changing

The spiralling and sky rocketing price of petrol in the past few weeks has finally, or so one hopes, brought to fore the need to pause and think about the necessity to change our ways. Till now the pleas of environmentalists fell on deaf years. At best we nodded agreement to all that was said/written/seen while we fans or ACs ran in empty rooms in our own homes.

Words life carbon footprint and emissions made good erudite conversation points, the news of glaciers melting brought the right expression of concern, but nothing got translated into action. It was always felt that others were responsible for all the horrors that befell our planet, our contribution to its slow destruction being oh so negligible: what difference could we make.

Even we at pwhy stand guilty of this as we let our awareness and environment programmes wither away. Somehow it found no takers, or perhaps were we not committed enough. Our only true contribution I guess is our use of green fuelled vehicles , a decision taken I must confess not for environmental reasons but practical and humane ones: the three wheelers have better access in slum areas and are owned by parents. I guess one has also time and again made the politically correct noise but how far have the words been translated into action. Not far at all I must admit. True we have solar energy at our women centre but here again it was a gift from a friend.

Our forays into saving the environment have been too far and few. It is so easy to slip back into comfort zones.

The recent petrol hike has shaken everyone out of ts torpor as it now hits where it hurts most: our pockets. Even the powers that be are talking about reducing carbon footprint: cancelling foreign jaunts and looking at alternative means of transport is the latest mantra being chanted in political circles. Recently a foreign visitor wondered whether the metro when it is completed would change things; his question was simple: would people like you and me adopt it as an alternative means of transport leaving our cars behind. Sadly the answer is in the negative. While we are willing to take metros and tubes on our foreign holidays, I wonder how many of us will take the metro to work or to visit a relative on a weekend. One can here again quote Don Ritter “Trying to save ecosystems has more to do with changing egosystems.” It is all a matter of egosystems and unless we change those nothing will really change.

People are finally seeing their dreams come true: the new Bentley or gleaming bike have just come their way so how can you ask them to park them and take a walk and a metro ride. It would be anathema. Will the new petrol price make a difference? I wonder.

Every price hike is finally taken in one's stride. Smokers still smoke, and Bentleys and Mercedes still drive around. So one wonders what will truly shake us out of our inertia ad compel us to change? I again wonder.

The recent rains are once again a proof of our blinkered view of life. We urban animals and city dwellers are celebrating the cool clime totally oblivious to the fact that this freak weather may delay the monsoons and hence affect the crops.

Are the times really changing....