In December 2018, a total of 197 countries, signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), adopted a set of guidelines to implement a landmark climate change agreement they had approved three years ago. Even as those guidelines were being negotiated, the Anthropocene era had started taking its toll. NASA's research shows the first signs of significant melting of the glaciers in East Antarctica; another study says that rising sea levels could submerge many small islands, and the 2018 Lancet Countdown (a British medical journal's annual report) underlines how climate change affects public health.
The Climate Solution, penned by Madurai-based Mridula Ramesh, is a timely analysis of the looming crisis and what could be done to supplement macro efforts. As the founder of Sundaram Climate Change Institute that focusses on waste and water solutions, Ramesh has extensive exposure to what is happening on the ground, and the details of real-life examples and experimentations keep the narrative flowing. She has also invested in several cleantech start-ups, which adds to her credentials.
The book is structured in two parts. The first section, titled Understanding, tells you all about the climate problem - why environmental shifts are happening, how water crises are leading to geopolitical crises, why climate change is destroying women and their livelihoods and how farm distress is directly linked to the triple whammy - heat waves, droughts and floods. The second part, called Action, deep dives into precision agriculture, water innovations, waste management and green power which can provide feasible, practical solutions to climate change. A close look at Israel's revolutionary drip irrigation programme and water rights is an eye-opener, and so is the endeavour of India's waterman Rajendra Singh who creates water bodies. Ramesh has many more stories about climate and environment heroes - organisations, start-ups and individuals determined to make a difference.
The last chapter, A Checklist of Actions, is a to-do manifesto for individuals, businesses and finally, the government, whose must-dos include better focus on agrotech, groundwater ownership and usage, universal carbon tax, promotion of public transportation, urban waste management and forest preservation.
Overall, this book gives us a sense of mutuality so that we can do our bit irrespective of global policies and their success or failure.