The Tragic Ironies of the Uttarakhand Disaster -Avay Shukla

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published Published on Feb 21, 2021   modified Modified on Feb 28, 2021 (Science)

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity, says Yuval Noah Harari in his book, 21 Lessons For The 21st Century. If anyone doubts this truism she has only to see what we have been doing to the Himalaya for the last three decades, particularly in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, in the name of development. This stupidity also involves ignoring the pleas of local residents/villagers, the advice of experts, and the science of global warming, seismology, forestry and glaciology.

It is a stupidity based on faulty economic models that deliberately ignore the disruption of local livelihoods, fail to account for the value of the natural environment or the ecological services it provides, the costs of destruction of life and property (Rs 50,000 crore and at least 5,000 lives in Kedarnath 2013; 221 dead in the Malpa landslide in 1998; 768 dead in the Uttarkashi earthquake in 1991; we are still counting the losses and the dead in the Rishi Ganga flood this month). Nobody has even begun to estimate the losses to the environment, which in any case cannot be compensated or replaced by legal tender.

Please click here to read more. (Science), 21 February, 2021,

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