Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Progress @ what Cost ?

The other day I watched the fiery debate on TV between the auto lobby and the environmentalist following the launch of TATA Nano, the smallest car in the world. Both sides had some very good arguments for and against the motion of whether the car was a boon or burden. Having priced at 2500 US $, the manufacturer was trying to offer a small car to the lower rung of society who could not afford a car.

The environmentalist felt that the car would clog the roads and create lot more pollution as almost everyone could afford the Nano. It was difficult not to take sides during the debate, Bina was for those who were fighting to keep the pollution out and the earth green. Although I love the earth to be green and clean, I was with the car maker . . . I was of the view that owning a car was everyone's right and thus if someone could make an affordable car, that is goodness. It was only next morning as I went out for a walk that the effect of auto caused pollution hit me . . .

That morning I decided to explore a wooded area close to our home. The huge property is owned by a church and is deserted most part of the day. On entering the property I found a winding path and took it . As I started walking I noticed the dew on the grass and heard the birds chirping. I slowed down enjoying every minute of it, it's been a while since I had heard so many birds in one place and that too so close to our home! I continued walking enjoying the nature, the peace and the security that the birds of the air were enjoying in this abode.Soon the magic was broken as the path finally wound up on the other side, the main entrance of the church. The tree-cover disappeared and a stately Church and the concrete parking lot came into view. The chirping of the birds gave way to the distant sound of traffic and as I continued walking the main road appeared swollen with all kinds of vehicles with its monstrous noise and pollution. I shook my head in disbelief, what a difference . . . Yes truly I can agree with John Milton, 'Paradise' has been lost !

You may argue that progress comes at a cost and depleting tree cover, global warming and all of the other ill effects that come with it are the cost we pay to have a better, faster and a more comfortable world. I may have agreed with you earlier but I am not so sure about it any more. Though I don't want to be a prophet of doom, all the run away 'progress' has put us on a roller coaster ride to a bottomless pit. Maybe we won't get effected by it in our life time or our children's life time but what about the generations after that? Imagine them having to buy and cart around a personal oxygen pack or going to see the trees and stuffed birds in a museum !

I strongly feel that we can make a difference to conserve this beautiful earth and give it atleast the way we found it to the future generations. Every bit counts, and so I am going to do my small bit rather than crying about 'Paradise Lost'

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