Opinion | The climate change ‘wave’ is here and we need digital tools to tackle it

Like Covid-19, handling the nature crisis will require a unique approach.

Opinion | The climate change ‘wave’ is here and we need digital tools to tackle it

Amit Banka | The second wave of Covid-19 hit India with a vengeance. It slowly crept up on the people of India. The first wave being somewhat less severe, this one put a huge load on the healthcare system. In the absence of a helpline in some parts of the country, Twitter became the go-to platform for SOS requests. The digital platform became invaluable to those in need of oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, and other medical requirements.

Help came swiftly through crowdsourcing means - numbers of volunteers, names of vendors for oxygen cylinders, suppliers of injections, etc. In a time of need, people came together and lent a helping hand in every possible way. Preparing home-cooked meals, delivering supplies to quarantines patients, and collating useful information on excel sheets, and much more.

This was made possible because of a platform like Twitter and its unique features. The “retweeting” function amplifying pleas among various networks being the most useful.

And yet, another wave is imminent

The world is actively working towards defeating coronavirus. People have collaborated to make vaccines, support one another through aid and medicines, and prevent further loss of human life as well as the economy.

It brings to my mind another crisis in the offing - the ever-present nature crisis. It keeps creeping up on us in one way or another - sounding alarms and giving warning signs with pleas of help. The way Twitter became the SOS platform for one catastrophe, I believe a unique digital platform can be hugely beneficial in tackling the nature crisis. With specific tools that cater to nature professionals and nature lovers.

Let’s remember - there is no vaccine for climate change. And it never stops being a threat to the world as we know it. The scale of destruction and the resulting impact of climate change on humans, animals, and ecosystems will be medium to long-term. We will have to prepare for it.

So what all do we need?

Sustained action

In my opinion, the most significant way to deal with the nature crisis involves bringing together people and organizations - from global to local. WeNaturalists.com is aiming to do just that, by showcasing the good work of naturalists and nature lovers.

When people come together towards a single cause (in this case, saving nature) - expect magic. Imagine the possibilities - people inspiring people to go out of their way to help nature and the people affected by it. Just how we witnessed solidarity on Twitter at the time of a health crisis.

There is no debate about the challenges we face. Be it the climate threat, species on the brink of extinction, loss of biodiversity, dying coral reefs, melting of glaciers, increase in the frequency of floods and cyclones, devastating forest fires, etc. The consequences of human actions are before us. It’s stark. It cannot be ignored anymore. It shouldn’t be ignored anymore.

With so much tech advancement, we should be making appropriate use of it for rewilding nature and the people tirelessly working to protect and preserve it. We should be celebrating and honoring their work - the same way we are praising and uplifting Covid-19 heroes.

We should start now. We have much to do. We have to protect vulnerable communities, we have to identify the gaps where research is needed, where funding is lacking, etc. We have to find newer ways to interact with nature professionals. Yes, public and private stakeholders must protect and invest in a sustainable future. Their work is critical.

But often we ask ourselves - what can I, as an individual, do? This is what we can do - Show solidarity towards nature and its caregivers, nurturers, and protectors.

Our work begins by educating ourselves about the natural world. It’s about keeping abreast with the various ways we can overcome this ongoing and raging crisis. The challenges that we are facing and will likely face in the future have been predicted by scientists. And experts are already working towards mitigating its impact. What we need to do is opt for sustainable and nature-based solutions. It’s a herculean task, and it’s going to require everyone’s involvement.

Climate change surpasses national and international boundaries, much like Covid-19. It affects everyone, much like Covid-19.

Collective action from an informed people is just what we need to defeat the climate threat. A lot of meaningful work is already being done by conservationists, wildlife professionals, ocean protectors, researchers, etc. I have seen countless occasions where actions by individuals and organizations have made a world of a difference on the ground. It’s impactful, yet scattered.

Let’s bring everyone together and give nature the respect and time it deserves. Let’s empower the next generation with the right kind of knowledge and tools. Let us all become the global voice for nature. Let’s not waste any more time.

(Disclaimer: This article is written by Amit Banka, Founder & CEO, Wenaturalists. The views expressed are of the author and not of the organisation.)

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