Climate Change knows no borders

Vishü Rita Krocha

Other than its historical importance, Kohima, the state capital of Nagaland, was once known for its pristine rivers, streams, lakes and undisturbed forests. There were a number of such places one could escape to, and just immerse themselves in the goodness of nature. Especially those who grew up in the nineties would testify to this and also have fond memories of just following the river—a luxury that children of today’s generation no longer have.

In just a couple of decades, all these so-called rivers have dried up; there are hardly any signs that streams or lakes even existed; forests have been cleared and in its place, there are buildings been raised everywhere. Take for instance, the Billy Graham Road area that was once so much more alive with the sound of the woods, fields, rivers, lakes, and brooks, rippling with clear running water or the familiar sight of people in the locality fetching spring water.

A span of twenty years has changed all of that. There is rapid urbanisation on one hand and the invasion of technology on the other. The point here, however is that the present generation is witness to climate change taking place right in front of them.
In the Kohima of twenty years ago, it would have been unimaginable to think of a time when airy neighborhoods filled with abundant trees, would be transformed into congested spaces. But ever so often now, trees are being felled with no replenishment and all the pure, blissful things that were found in the midst of nature, are now, sadly, all gone.

The change in climate patterns all over the state is now starkly visible. There are unseasonal rain and storms. As recent as this year on March 26, places across Nagaland were witness to it. A 72-year-old man from Zhavame testified that in all his life he has never witnessed hailstorm of that magnitude. The severe hailstorm on that particular day had damaged several crops that the farming community in the village had toiled to cultivate for several months.

In most part of Peren district, the storms caused severe damages, uprooting several houses and cutting off electrical connection. The impact that climate change is leaving the society with is a concern that everyone should be worried about. Climate change knows no borders. It does not differentiate people of any community. It knows no gender. It does not just impact a particular section of the society and leaves the other. It affects everyone equally and this is something that needs collective effort.

Climate Change isn’t something that happens in the villages or the far-flung areas of a state. But when something such as farming is impacted by Climate Change in any corner of the world, it also impacts the urban community at large.

In Kohima, the subject of “weather” was once, not even something crucial to talk about. But today, it features in casual conversations because the change is real. Even the coldest town in Nagaland—Pfütsero, the weather pattern has starkly changed. Aren’t all these signs of our human behaviour and how our negligence towards the environment is beginning to have severe consequences?

Can we possibly revive the Kohima of twenty years ago? Probably not! That would be too ambitious a dream. But then again, perhaps there is still hope to keep alive the environment. Even the most ordinary people can do their bit towards this cause and it’s perhaps not too late to start today.

This is a guest editorial by Vishü Rita Krocha. She is the Publisher of PenThrill Publication and a senior journalist based in Kohima.