I wish if we had shown even 10% of the outrage that we showed towards Notre Dame in Paris, the planet we are living in today would have been a different place. The fire in Notre Dame cathedral earlier this year was indeed a sad and a disastrous incident but so is the burning of the Amazon forest.
One is related to the past whereas the other one is about the future. In one case we are able to attract instant media attention, 24x7 worldwide coverage, billions of dollars are pledged for its restoration, prayers and goodwill gestures made all over the world.
On the other hand it took us about three weeks to just take note of such a horrific fire. Media attention too had been quite subtle with no outrage on social media. There is hardly any sign of donations or prayers anywhere.
This rainforest, often referred to as the “lungs of the planet”, generates about 20% of the oxygen in our atmosphere. The air we breathe has a significant contribution from the same forest that is burning today — affecting millions of different species.
It not only produces oxygen but is also a huge storehouse of carbons that can be released back into the atmosphere if destroyed by any means. We don’t have to think locally when it comes to global issues like the environment. In fact the localised approach should be applied towards agricultural products ie buy local, consume local to help the environment.
We got to realise that global environmental events like a fire in the Amazon or floods in India or a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico can all affect our daily lives in one way or another. It is capable of affecting the food we eat or the price of basic commodities we consume, or even the socio-economic structure of the society we live in.
Developed countries need to come forward and take a lead, whereas developing countries can no longer afford to remain on the back seat with whatever historical reference or justification they may genuinely have. We all need to come up together as one citizen of this planet we share.
We are ready to spend trillions of dollars to explore the possibility of habitation of Mars but we are not ready to heal the very planet we are living in.
This reader's opinion was first published in the print version of the Irish Examiner on 24 August 2019