ISRO chief concerned over climate change challenges

Kaziranga (Assam), Nov 28 (IANS) The alarming phenomenon of climate change was no longer a scientific curiosity but a great challenge that would affect the economy, livelihood, health, agriculture and many other dimensions, Indian space agency ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said here on Saturday.

People must now ensure that for our immediate and short-term gains, we must not cause irreparable damage to the environment, the eminent scientist said addressing the second convocation of Kaziranga University, near Assam’s Jorhat town.

“Climate change is amongst the most concerning issues being discussed across the world. Shifting weather patterns, threat to food production through increased unpredictability of precipitation, rising sea levels contaminating coastal freshwater reserves, increasing risk of catastrophic flooding, and a warming atmosphere aids the pole-ward spread of pests and diseases once limited to the tropics,” he said.

The university on Saturday conferred honorary doctorates on Kiran Kumar and sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan for their contribution in their respective fields.

“It’s known that most of the designs and innovations in science and technology are inspired by something in nature. Engineers in various industries the world around are turning to nature for inspiration as they try to design products with better performance and lower energy consumption,” he said.

Nature is full of viable ideas for how to do things. “All we need is to simply see and listen to nature, its language, laws and ways to understand it.”

“Whenever we adopt a new technology for our advantage, we have to look at both sides of the coin… we have to find out whether it can indirectly create a condition or a situation in which man may find himself trapped.”

“It is just possible that for our immediate and short-term gains, we are causing irreparable damage to our environment,” he said.

Kiran Kumar said the university campus, spread over a lush green landscape, not only made him happy but also inspired him to draw attention to the benefits of living and getting educated while blending with the colours of nature.

“Living harmoniously with nature, our ancestral civilisations left negligible adverse impact to the environment. The consistent digression in quality in which human beings use the natural resources they are provided with, is alarming,” he said.

Emphasizing that sustainable growth was the organising principle for preserving finite resources necessary to provide for the needs of future generations on the planet, the scientist said there was a requirement to implement environmentally-friendly technologies without ignoring traditional wisdom and knowledge.

“This awareness itself is fundamental to minimise harm being caused to our environment.”

Kiran Kumar spoke in favour of increasing efficient use of materials and energy sources, control of impact on ecosystems, improvement of cleaner processes and products, and introducing environmental management systems.

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