We have started feeling the heat of climate change in a diffused form when we feel disheartened on not finding something we expected. It is usually associated with tourism. For example, all our lives, we learnt that hills are cool and that it snows there every winter. But often people visit the conventionally cooler places and end up getting dejected on seeing their beliefs turning false. I went to Joshimath so that I could visit Auli too and enjoy winters there. But unfortunately, there was very less snow. There was no point of going to Auli as snow wasn’t good enough for skiing. Even the films and songs that we indulged in while growing up, showed hills to be some kind of paradise. For instance, there was a song from the film Ram teri Ganga maili ho gayi, which said, “husna pahdaon ka, kya kehna ke baron mahine, yahan mausam jaadon ka” , meaning that hills are so beautiful because they have winters all 12 months. Although the song is still a rage in hills, but since the time when this song was written, climate has undergone dramatic change and it’s not so wintery any more. I get up every morning expecting to see some snow here, but even though it’s January time, there’s no snow. My acquaintances from plains keep trying to confirm that it is freezing cold here, but they too feel surprised when I tell them that weather is alright. It’s not that cold. In fact it is colder in Delhi and other surrounding places of northern India. That cold is evident in my mom’s voice when she calls me.
I imagine how much disappointed our kids would be when they will see no characteristics of weather they read in books or watch in films when they actually visit such a place. Even the notion of ‘river’ has changed. Often while travelling I see some water body which natives of that place refer to as river, but to me it doesn’t look like anything more than liquid spill. It will be sad if kids were to see rivers and trees and green pastures only in books and photos. I can see at least some snow, albeit in farther hills. But I doubt my kids will see even that much snow. I am still an outsider in hills. My disappointment is temporary. After I go back to Delhi, I might forget it all. But for the people in villages here different types of weathers have strong connection with the life and culture here. Their festivals are associated with different seasons. They look forward to play in snow every year. Even though it is cold, they enjoy snow as it’s a part of their calendar. They make makeshift boards and do snow boarding. These people must be deeply saddened with this varying pattern of weather.
I guess people are not so active in preserving climate even now because, climate change hasn’t been strong enough to hit the very existence of lot of people in an obvious manner. Droughts and floods in unlikely places are of course result of climate change only. But such causal relationship is not obvious enough for a common man to become sensitive and take action. Humans anyway have strongest tendency to adapt, so if the change is not very huge and quick, people can get used to such things as falling rainfall or lack of snow. As long it is not as widespread and obvious as some kind of epidemic, people will not respond much on a large scale for example carrying out districts wide forestation. But people should learn from their follies. They should not wait for a crisis to actually hit their door for them to get their a** moving. I think environmentalists too will not do harm if they create an atmosphere of fear which can force people to become active in saving climate.