During the Earth’s history of 4.6 billion years, many epochs occurred where in, mass extinction of the then life forms occurred and new life forms were generated. The major life extinction occurred during 248 million years, 145 million years and 65 million years ago. The most primitive hominid (human ancestor) evolved- approximately 4.4million years before present and the origins of present human form broadly dates back to about 0.2 to 0.1 (homo sapiens) million years ago.
The present human form is the most dangerous and most horrashias eater of other life forms. He is not only polluting his own life space, he is also killing all other life forms for eating and gaming. Now that he realized what he is doing, he is trying to control the climate so that he can survive a little more million years. Is it possible? The present human form has its own mind and can control some extent by first controlling its population and reducing the pollution around its life space. But nature has a very effective balancing act in its sleeves. It is time for the nature to remove all the present life forms and create new life forms for better balancing act of the nature.
It is well known that each 1 to 10 million years, the polarity of the North Pole reduces and the North Pole becomes South Pole and vice versa, there by changing the geography of the earth. The deserts become fertile lands and the green lands become deserts. It can be seen very clearly that the present Middle East might have been forest lands once upon a time. It is well documented that at present the polarity has reduced to about 10% of the original strength and we do not know when the calamity of changing Poles occur. It may take a few million years or tomorrow.
It is said that, if we can restrict the global warming by 2 degrees, about 20 to 30 % of water per capita would be reduced globally and about 10 to 15 % of reduced crop yields would occur. This may save the Earth or Humans. But, the predictions are that the global temperatures are going to increase beyond 5 degrees which is a disaster to all life forms; where in, the ice in Himalayas & North Pole would melt causing heavy floods and resulting of heavy deaths & migration of the remaining, social unrest, wars etc.
The indications of calamity are already seen. Normally floods and droughts occur once in 10 to 11 years coinciding the Sun spot activity. But now, the floods and droughts have become an annual affair with the most latest effect of floods seen in Uttarakhand and Chennai in India and is happening all over the world.
While the floods & droughts have a greater effect on agriculture in rural areas, it is on the living conditions of the people in urban areas. The effect of floods is more due to not only change of climate, but also due to manmade actions especially in urban areas. The construction of buildings on the floodways, on water sinks (Tanks), the faulty design of storm water drains and clogging of drains, sudden release of water from dams etc. had accentuated the effects of floods in urban areas. What should we do? A few suggestions are given below.
I cannot give any suggestions to control climate, which is beyond human capabilities except a few minor ones. But, I can give suggestions to reduce the effect of extreme climate events by proper self control and self protection on day to day basis.
- Rural Areas:
- The climate change is most destructive on agriculture in rural area. If you are a small farmer of having less than 5 acres, my suggestion would be to sell half of the land and invest the same in non agricultural activity and the remaining to lease out to other farmers and possibly migrate to urban areas or work in non agricultural activities in the villages itself to protect yourself from floods and droughts. Provide education to the children so that they can be self dependent and do not depend on agriculture.
- Agriculture is the most dangerous activity in India as the farmers have to sell their produce always at less than the cost price and depend on money lenders for their farm activities. There is only lip sympathy from Government and all the agricultural subsidies go to either manufacturers of fertilizers, pesticides etc or to middle men.
- It is also possible to do cooperative agriculture, by clubbing about 40 to 50 acres by likeminded farmers and do the agriculture. This will effectively help the small farmers as they can spread the loss of flood and droughts equally to all members and save themselves. Only, it requires confidence building in the minds of small farmers that their land is not lost forever due to cooperative agriculture. They can also register as a cooperative land society so that they can get additional benefits from Government.
- If you are a large farmer, you should equally invest in agriculture and non agricultural activities so that one helps the other in the periods of drought and floods. Do not depend on Government subsidies and loans.
- If a man is poor, it takes one generation to effectively overcome poverty and if you are a rich man, it takes two generations to become poor by misadventures of various financial activities.
- Urban areas:
- India is going to be urbanized by more than 50 % by end of this decade. People are going to flock to urban area in troves. There is an urgent need to stream line the urban administration to effectively tackle the droughts and floods. The droughts would not have much adverse effects except, the cost of living would go up due to non availability of essential goods. But, the floods will have very strong and immediate effects on the urban population.
- If you are a buyer of a flat or plot, see that it is located on higher ground as far as possible. It is advisable to buy first floor or above.
- See the Government documents of map of the area to see whether you are near a blocked stream or river or drainage system which is a sure sign of disaster to happen.
- Hear the weather warnings and be prepared to move out of your dwelling at short notice to nearby high grounds or to other cities where you can stay for a few days.
- Be stock essential food items and important documents and ready to move at any time.
- The process of floods is normally for a few days before, unlike earthquakes, so you will be able to prepare yourselves to move out of your area, if necessary.
- The above suggestions are for the common man. But it is the Government that has to take care of the citizens. The following suggestions would be opt for Government organizations which look after the city planning. They are already aware of these things, only they do not implement the same.
- Prepare a flood map of the area with 100 year return period. If any river is passing through the city, prepare flood map for 500 year return period.
- Plot the old streams, tanks, flood paths etc at least during the last 20 years and compare the present map and estimate the encroachments and prepare a map locating all the encroachments.
- It is not possible to remove the encroachments as many of them approved by Government itself. Only prepare a flood map with all the encroachments and estimate the flood depth and area if there is 100 year and 500 year return period of the area. If the city falls in the coastal area, the effect of high tide has also has to be considered.
- Storm drainage works have to be designed for at least 30 year return period.
- The storm drainage works may be cleaned before the monsoon. If the major river is passing through the city, it has to be cleaned and any obstructions on the river have to be removed before the monsoon.
- Perfect the flood warning systems to control the loss of life and property
- Disaster management system should be ready and active. The moment weather information indicates a possible cyclone and they should have all equipment ready and can be deployed before the flood occurs itself instantaneously.
- The major disaster occurs when the water from dams is released in the last moment. There is already a system of release of water for different periods. In special cases or high flood warning times, the water has to be released in adequate quantities early so that there will not any deluge after wards. If it is not followed, strict action has to be taken on the concerned officers as many times, it is the flooding water from dams that cause maximum damage.