Wednesday, July 20

A Letter to my Friends...

I wish to share, via this article, my passion with you, a passion that got highlighted by chance while reading a course book-a book that helped shape my today. The book was on Environmental Microbiology, prescribed when I was pursuing M.Sc. in Microbiology in Bangalore.

It’s been some years now since I last read that book, but I feel that the thought process that came over me while reading the book and the subsequent teachings that came my way through hard-work and experience helped me in becoming what I am right now, and I hope that my experience helps you in working on your passion and in following your dreams, whatever they may be.

I will not disclose here the name or author of the book because of two primary reasons. One, that I have honestly forgotten the name of the book and secondly, I think I should not be specifying the importance of one book (because I am biased towards it) over many other good books that you readers like to read or will read in the near future, books that might shape you and help you become what you are capable of, that is, doing many great deeds.

While reading a topic from that book on ecology and environmental impact of projects that we humans constantly undertake, I realized that whatever we do directly or indirect-ly affects the environment in many ways. As I am from the north-eastern part of India, I have seen nature up close and in its true “painted” form. I have wonderful childhood memories of-lying under a tree, looking at the clear blue sky and the fluffy clouds passing by; Siberian cranes near my school field, parrots flying, butterflies of vivid patterns buzzing around and the beautiful stroke of greenery all around me. I remember mystic mountains and evergreen trees and places where there was no electricity, but still boasted of a beautiful and happy life. Even now as I write about it, a sense of calmness runs through me besides the nostalgia of the days gone by, of a life so close to mother Earth.

I was missing those things in Bangalore, which is on the other hand, a busy, cosmopolitan city, the perfect example of globalization and India’s supremacy in Information Technology.

Let’s get back to the book now. As I was reading it, I realised that the progression of mankind started after the creation of fire. The early cavemen sealed the very fate of humanity by learning the ability to control it and use it wilfully. Fire is nothing but a form of energy. During that age, fire made nomadic cavemen live together and protected them from wild animals. It taught them as to how they could overcome their fears (due to darkness). They could cook their food for the first time, enabling better digestion and healthier food (as the heat destroyed several microorganisms). Later, thermal energy (obtained by burning coal) was the chief sustainer of the industrial revolution. In short, Energy has been the making or breaking point of human civilisations, after water and food. Inside the human body, energy plays a vital role in our day to day activities. Energy also creates balance in the environment, as is evident from the study of food chains and food webs. All energy that is taken from the environment must be given back to it. Consumption should equal replenishment.

Today, most of the world’s energy needs are met by coal and oil. These sources of energy are nothing but small packets of carbon-based resources, buried under-ground for millions of years, extracted today by man to fuel his activities. These resources that exist naturally are being burnt to produce carbon molecules in the air instead. So, a form of energy given to us by nature is being instead replenished with a nature-killer, nicknamed carbon dioxide. Consequence: climatic change.

Climatic change is a natural process; it has been taking place since even before man walked the Earth and will continue even after we become extinct from this planet. But what we humans are presently doing is speeding up the process by burning fossil fuels (like coal and oil) and damaging the natural ecosystem. By polluting the environment we tend to believe that as a civilisation we have modernised and advanced, but the fact remains that every civilisation that exploited its naturally occurring re-sources in the name of development has perished. So if we also do not consider environment-friendly sources of energy to be the stepping stones for our advancement and development, we too might perish, not only as a civilisation, but as a living being.

There is nothing civil about a civilisation that runs by polluting its environment.

This article that I wrote, was published in the June 2011 edition of Expressions, a monthly eZine published by iCare India. 



  1. You are truly lucky to have grown up in such pristine environment.

    Yes. You are absolutely right. Civilizations have prospered on basis of their ability to harness energy (whatever form that might be).

    It is only when they reach a certain stage of development that they get enlightened about alternate forms of energy that are eco-friendly. However, by that time the damage is already done (by the use of fossil fuels).

    What we can truly hope from this insight is that they (the civilization) use their technology to rejuvenate the environment before it is too late.

    Nice one Jeshal!

  2. tx for the post Jeshal.. as always.. u have struck a cord in my thought process.. its high time everyone of us began living with minimal subsistence on natural resources..

  3. i have a problem, not with the fact the nuke energy is precariously placed in terms of its safety, but with the alarmist reactions to it, on both sides of the pro nuke anti nuke brigade. for every fukushima, there are hundreds of plants in the european nations that harness safe and economic nuke energy for civil purposes. Security, and its responsibility lies with our monitoring bodies and in turn the govt. Why paint a technology black just cause we cant get ourselves to be efficient in using it?


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