Sunita Narain: Conflicts of interest: my journey through India’s Green Movement
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India, which hosts around 17% of the world’s population on less than 2.5% of the world’s land area, has had a consistently high economic growth rate, far higher than the world average, for over two decades now. While this has raised the standard of living for most of its population, it has also led to a rapid depletion of its natural resource base. In addition to polluted air and water, there has been a precipitous degradation in the quality of land. The net effect has been a drastic reduction in the country’s carrying capacity, that is, its ability to support the present lifestyle of its population indefinitely. Further, climate change has manifested itself through delayed onset of monsoons, sudden downpours, long dry spells, unseasonably hot summers (rendered even warmer by people staying in air-conditioned interiors), and unpredictable variations in weather patterns. Our quality of life is now at risk, despite the economic breakthroughs we have achieved.
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