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   Thursday, February 27, 2020
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Western lifestyles plundering natural resources: WWF


The latest ‘Living Planet Report’ by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the paramount organisation for views on Earth and its environment, has reported that the humans are plundering the Earth’s resources at a drastic rate. The report, which is published just weeks before a major conference on slowing or halting the loss of biodiversity is to be held in Nagoya, Japan, calls for a series of changes to help address the problems which we may face in the near future.

The report shows that in the last 40 years human consumption off the natural resources has doubled. Measuring the decline of species on land, in rivers and at sea – the report shows that the number has declined by 30% overall, and by a massive 60% in the tropics.

However, report compiled by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) shows that animal populations have risen significantly in the richer nations in the temperate zones north and south of the tropics, and globally appear to have stabilized in the last few years. Despite the suggestion of good news, WWF warned that there were still severe threats, especially from climate change and water shortages.

The latest index compiled the results for nearly 8,000 populations of more than 2,500 different species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish. The real picture is, however, likely to be worse, because the latest report includes new populations, and because there are still many tropical species which have not been identified by scientists yet. Moreover, it also does not directly measure the fate of plants, or pollution.

Another report compiled by the Global Footprint Network, shows the richest countries consume, on average, five times the quantity of natural resources as the poorest countries. Measuring the ‘ecological footprint’ of different countries – the area required to provide the resources consumed by the population or average person in a year, the report finds United Arab Emirates in the higher extreme category, with an average footprint of more than 10 hectares, and Timor-Leste at lowest level with ‘ecological footprint’ of less than one hectare. The global average is about three hectares. The report says the biggest impact on the global footprint of humanity is an 11-fold increase in carbon emissions in the last four decades. In another 40 years the footprint is forecasted to double again if our current way of life prevails.

To read more about the WWF report, visit:

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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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