Climate change is considered to be one of the most serious threats to sustainable development, with adverse impact on the environment, human health, food security, economic activity, natural resources and physical infrastructure. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCc:, the effects of climate change have already been observed, and scientific findings indicate that precautionary and prompt action is necessary. Vulnerability to climate change is not just a function of geography or dependence on natural resources; it also has social, economic and political dimensions which influence how climate change affects different groups. Poor people rarely have insurance to cover loss of property due to natural calamines i.e. drought, floods, super cyclones etc. The poor communities are already struggling to cope with the existing challenges of poverty and climate variability and climate change could push many beyond their ability to cope or even survive. It is vital that these communities are helped to adapt to the changing dynamics of nature. Adaptation is a process through which societies make themselves better able to cope with an uncertain future. Adapting to climate change entails taking the right measures to reduce the negative effect of climate change (or exploit the positive ones) by making the appropriate adjustments and changes. These range from technological options such as increased sea defences or flood proof houses on stilts to behavioural change at the individual level, such as reducing water use in times of drought. Other strategies include early warning systems for extreme events, better water management, improved risk management, various insurance options and biodiversity conservation. Because of the speed at which climate change is happening due to global temperature rise, it is urgent that the vulnerability of developing countries to climate change is reduced and their capacity to adapt is increased and national adaptation plans are implemented. Communities must build their resilience, including adopting appropriate technologies while making the most of traditional knowledge, and diversifying their livelihoods to cope with current and future climate stress. Local coping strategies and knowledge need to be used in synergy with government and local interventions. The need of adaptation interventions depends on national circumstances. There is a large body of knowledge and experience within local communities on coping with climatic variability and extreme weather events. Local communities have always aimed to adapt to variations in their climate. Local coping strategies are an important element of planning for adaptation. Traditional knowledge can help to provide efficient, appropriate and time tested ways of advising and enabling adaptation to climate change in communities who are feeling the effects of climate changes due to global warming.
The uncovering of a private Instagram group styling itself 'Bois Locker Room‘ featuring students from some prominent South Delhi schools discussing their female classmates in disturbingly violent ways including plans of sexual assault is a wakeup call for parents and authorities. The group formed last month or so kicked up a social media storm when screenshots surfaced. Police have questioned a 15 year old boy to identify other members. Similar incidents involving minors discussing rape/ gang rape of classmates have been reported on other digital platforms like WhatsApp too, across cities. The exchanges in the now deleted group require precise responses from police, parents and school authorities around whom the fates of the juveniles involved now revolve. It is important to recognise where a teenager spouting objectification of his female counterparts is coming from. People of all ages, not just children, are retreating deeper into the recesses of their online avatars during this lockdown. But the heavy technological investment in children‘s education, including flooding them with personal smartphones, has not been matched by serious conversations centred on responsible internet usage and equality. Young, impressionable minds absorb the normalisation of rape from the adults around them. When what they see, read and hear is toxic masculinity, that is what they perform. That‘s what peer pressure becomes about. But if this youthful role play of macho dominance receives timely counselling, it can prevent far graver adult offences. Schools and parents have a critical role to play in educating children on gender equality. Digital platforms which claim to have zero tolerance towards content that violates community standards must also explain why such abuses go undetected, despite boasts about Artificial Intelligence-driven technologies to stop them. They should play a more proactive role in stopping the sexual harassment of real people in the guise of virtual sport.
[Editorial Published in Times of India, dated 6 May, 2020]