Wisdom And Foresight
Wisdom and foresight, they say, are among the most desirable traits among world - as well as national - leaders who tend to focus on the narrow goal of temporary benefits to their nations at the cost of global human welfare. The ice in both the Arctic and Antarctic areas is said to be melting at an alarming rate, leading to adverse climate changes in different parts of the world. The present Irma Hurricane that lashed the Caribbean islands and wrecked havoc in parts of the United States could also be a result of the scant attention some world leaders pay to strictly follow guidelines to avoid vengeance that climate change can extract from unthinking leaders and governments. That the Hurricane Irma created havoc in the richest and most powerful country in the world, that is the United States, goes to show to what extent man becomes powerless before the fury of nature.
The United Nations has tried to undo the wrongs that man has done to nature, thereby leading to environmental degradation and climate change that bode ill for mankind. Some 160 countries and organisations have ratified the Paris Agreement designed to gradually reverse the climate change that is affecting the human race - as well as all living things - globally. But, in all his great wisdom and even greater foresight, the US President announced that his country would pull out of the landmark Paris Agreement.
The United States - along with China, India and the European Union and Russia - is among the countries most responsible for the Greenhouse Gas effect that leads to slow but unavoidable climate change. Opting out of the Paris Agreement may be a short term relief for the people who may no longer be bound by limiting or reducing carbon dioxide in their factories and mills, thereby providing greater employment opportunities for the people. But its long-term effect will surely prove to be harmful for not one country but for the whole humanity.
According to UN reports, the top five countries that pollute the air that leads to climate change are China, the United States, the European Union, India and Russia. They are followed by industrial countries, like Japan and Germany. Thankfully, the emission of green house gases by Nepal is next to nothing and this means that we as a country are not contributing to global climate change. Yet, we the innocents face the consequences of climate change as do all other people of countries that do not emit green house gases as do the top industrial countries. But Nepal and Nepalese should not forget that we are surrounded by countries like China and India that rank as top carbon dioxide emitters.
Eight of the world’s highest peaks are located in Nepal but has the Nepalese authorities monitored if the ice on the mountain as well as glaciers is as intact as they were before the industrialization of the two neighbours. Unlike the big and powerful countries that have access to the seas, countries such as Nepal and other landlocked - and sea locked - have little or no alternative but to bear with the reality and accept whatever is given. Yet, the alternative is to ask their leaders to rise above the narrow lust for power and to work for the good of all Nepalese.
We may not be able to do much in term of climate change except to abide by the international agreements but in other areas there is a lot that needs to be done. The recent issue of literary magazine “Madhupark” carried small photographs of temples and shrines in its cover. They represent, what I believe to be, the country’s heritage that has to be saved and preserved before they completely disappear. And is where our leaders, both national and local, can and should do much?
The eye-catching and heart-pleasing structures are by themselves a reflection of this country’s identity. And hence it becomes everyone’s duty to help preserve them. This is specially so for those who have been elected by the people to keep intact their identity as reflected in the temples and shrines in the Valley. These shrines and temples are by themselves a tourist attraction and one differs with the claim of the tourism related agencies and personalities that claim that the Valley is a mere transit point for tourists. Monuments such as these within the Valley and elsewhere are a feast to the eye and every true human being will love them.
But in order to preserve them in a proper way, it is important that our leaders plan cities and towns in such a way that these structures are not lost in the myriad of tall and tasteless buildings that seem to dot the Valley these days. It is not that tall buildings should not be erected but there must be areas set aside for such buildings. In the Kathmandu Valley itself and other valleys elsewhere in the country, portion of the areas must be set aside for modern buildings and portions for agricultural produce.
Agricultural produce is important as valleys can be blockaded by sometimes by dissidents - such as the one during the Maoist conflict, Madesh agitation and sometimes by foreign powers. Perhaps, getting wise after such horrific and inhuman events, our leaders - national and local - transcending the bonds party ideologies need to use their wisdom and foresight to plan for the future, unlike some world leaders who opt for temporary gains at the cost of humanity.