In the last three decades after the LPG reforms, India has seen massive growth, but this growth was accompanied by rising levels of carbon emissions and the continuous downward spiral of the environment and the health of normal Indian households. This trend is making new highs every financial year and the ignorance derived from it is gaining considerable momentum among the common people. It feels as though we are projecting big numbers regularly still something important is missing in the story. That missing something is the ignorant or the intoxicated state of the nation that fails to acknowledge the coming catastrophe.
‘To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wildlife is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy. Furthermore, ‘Right to a decent environment including pollution-free water and air and protection against hazardous industries.’ Is a part of Article 21 and has been reaffirmed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the Menaka Gandhi case. There are specific guidelines and regulations, but we are still far from reality, the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on February 22, 2022, issued the Environment (Protection) Amendment Rules, 2022 to further amend the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986.
India, a developing nation that had one time touted as one of the lucrative investments among Foreign Investors now tops the chart in pollution, hypertension, and other deadly diseases. The population of India and together with the continuous increase in per capita carbon emission poses an invisible war against mankind, our current tendencies have made us come to this point where there is nothing, but destruction awaits us. The philosophy of ‘consumerism’ and ‘capitalism’ has made us degrade repeatedly and induced us to consume more and more, further increasing our carbon footprint. Infamously India is regarded as the diabetes capital of the world, though this unwanted sugar infused in the blood of Indians is both the dirty play of politics and corporates. Though SEBI has released a circular on ‘Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting by listed entities’ which mandates the disclosure of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), if we look at the combined deteriorating state of India there are a few fundamental things we are not addressing correctly.
CARBON EMISSIONS ACROSS DIFFERENT SECTORS AND HOW CONSUMERISM AFFECT OUR CHOICES.
Article 51(c) of the Indian Constitution one of the Directive Principles of State Policy directs the state to foster respect for international law and treaty obligations. India became a party to the United Nations Convention of Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) in 1992 (Earth Summit), Article 2 of the convention states that “To stabilise the concentration of Green House Gases in the atmosphere at a level which would prevent the interference of anthropogenic activities with the system of climate where the level must be achieved by ensuring… To confirm that the production of food is not threatened.”
The population of the world and considerably India are on a rising trend, with studies suggesting India will become the most populous country in 2023 after the People’s Republic of China will lose its throne. Feeding a large population both in India and the rest of the world poses a significant threat. Every increase in food production further degrades our chance of fighting against the existing climate change problem, our food choices and lifestyle have now become carbon emitting choices and carbon-infused lifestyles. Interestingly every one-third of food is wasted or lost due to mismanagement of the supply chain and storage, to add to the misery around 9 per cent of the global population still faces a hunger crisis. The Court in its Motion vs. State of Himachal Pradesh & Others has emphasized the protection of the environment citing Article 21, 48-A, 51 of the Indian Constitution and held that black carbon is the main reason behind the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas.
Also, in Damodar Rao vs. S.O. Municipal Corporation, it was held that spoilage and putrefaction of environment and atmosphere violate the right to protection of life and personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Further, in the case of Sachidanand Pandey vs. State of West Bengal,it was held that Article 48A (Directive Principle of State Policy) and Article 51A(g) (Fundamental Duties) shall be the keynote for environmental-related cases.
Concluding the above picture, it seems there is gross mismanagement where there is excessive consumption on one side and apathy for the other population who couldn’t afford it. Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts. With the Industrial Revolution, but particularly in the 20th century, mass production led to overproduction—the supply of goods would grow beyond consumer demand, and so manufacturers turned to planned obsolescence and advertising to manipulate consumer spending. This inequality is nothing but the concept of consumerism where the consumers or the common people are made to buy or consume more than what they need, and to increase sales there is corruption in the supply chain to have ample availability to the potential consumers which creates more inequality.
Climate Smart Agricultureis one such initiative determined to reduce emissions, increase productivity and enhance resilience and the second more precise and long-lasting solution would be from the consumers. The consumer’s mentality and the overall right decision-making ability must be improved so that they are aware of the consequences of their every purchase. We need intelligent consumers and more preferably intelligent and wise trendsetters while demanding products. Consumers must be extremely conscious about our consumption and should be informed enough about the carbon emissions of our choices.
SUGAR MAFIA OF INDIA
Let’s take this case and understand how the sugar mafia works in India and why it is one of the main reasons behind making India, ‘the diabetic capital of the world. India is the world’s largest consumer of sugardespite WHO having said to countries to reduce per capita sugar intake. The artificial demand for sugar is created by the sugar lobby of India which works in the perfect synchronization of corporates and politicians. Sugar becomes additive since it releases significant amounts of dopamineand is like a sweet poison which is devoid of any nutritional value unlike its counterparts like Jaggeryand Khand. Additionally, the environmental impact of growing sugar is also negative since sugarcane cultivation requires huge amounts of water.
The packaged food produced by big FMCGcorporates contains unhealthy amounts of sugar to make it more addicting. The lawmakers have no plan to control the advertising of these unhealthy products. Despite WHO having directed for tighter monitoring of advertisements for these unhealthy foods. In this industry, the politicians owned the sugar mills directly or indirectly and enjoy huge profits out of this equation. On the other hand, the corporates increase the domestic consumption of sugar among households through packaged food, sold through extensive marketing campaigns. Interestingly the prices of sugar haven’t risen much in a decade. This unwanted overconsumption of sugar is the new white poison which causes severe health risks.
Sugar is the most politicised industry in India where the consumers are being trapped in consumption, the only solution to this problem is to be aware of what we are putting in our mouths. If a considerable population of India become aware and mature about these choices, then both the politicians and corporates will be forced to do what we want. The decision power both in democracy and the market rests with the majority population. To break the sugar lobby nexus of politicians, corporates and consumers, the latter must be smart and wise. This sugar lobby gives a boost to the pharmaceutical industry and the treatment of anything is more expensive than its prevention. Every economic activity by corporates is designed in a way to first make the consumers believe that they are incomplete without their products and then slowly creep this insecurity with unhealthy and unwanted products. Most of the things we are being sold are transacted through artificially inflated demand, an average human body doesn’t require these expensive and low-value things. The maintenance cost of every human being is low but when we make buying purchases out of greed and fear then this impact negatively both the individual consumer’s life and the environment as a whole.
MEAT INDUSTRY AND THE SUBTLE POWER OF CONSUMER CHOICE.
The whole concept of consumerism is to induce people to consume more and more without estimating the value of the products. Keeping consumers in ignorance is the universal concept of marketing these days; through the grab of words like ‘goodness’, ‘happiness’, ‘positivity’, etc. they have conditioned us to fall for their trap. There are regulations to stop them but as discussed in the above example, loopholes are created, and the end sufferers are the consumers. The only effective solution lies with us knowing the trick of the devil and taking charge of our subtle power. It’s the consumer who decides what product should remain in the market, the consumer-driven economy should take conscience of the fact that ultimately consumers hold the power and would not be swayed away by marketing gimmicks or tricks.
Let’s throw some light on the meat industry, which causes around three-fourths of all greenhouse gases emission from food production. The carbon footprint of a meat diet is alarming and forces us to question our dietary habits. To produce more meat, we need to feed more food to the animal and invariably increase our carbon footprints. Rationally, the future of mankind depends on the simple choices we make, these choices would cause snowballing effects and eventually there would come a time when we will be near our destruction. We are the reason for the extinction of thousands of species and our ignorant ways continue to dominate our choices. The thing is either a person keeps caution from the beginning or sprouts some wisdom only when everything seems lost. We are stuck in the middle where most people don’t realise the depth of the problem. Most consumers don’t understand the violence done by corporates. Corporate violence is passive which requires deep analysis to see through the happy faces in the market, these so-called happy consumers are buying diseases in goods and the fact is they are both ignorant and proud of their purchase.
In the case of Animal Welfare Board of India vs. A. Nagaraj and Ors. the Hon’ble Supreme Court was of opinion that using animals for tradition and rituals is illegal. The case stressed mainly on Jallikattufestival and listed various recommendations for the effective working of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
The landmark case of M.C. Mehta and Anr. Vs. Union of India and Orsintroduced various concepts for the protection of the masses; they were the absolute liability concept, the public liability concept and evolved the deep pocket principle. Also, the Hon’ble Supreme court has enforced the responsibility of elected representatives in Municipal Corporation, Ratlam Vs. Vardichand. Also, the concern for acid rainaffecting the Taj Mahal and other monuments was raised in the case of M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India (Taj Trapezium case).
The problem lies with the current meat industry is that if we are raising animals just for consumption and the number of carbon emissions released per capita is horrifying. These corporates now provide the consumers with packaged meat infused with marketing campaigns and the politicians provide them with laws to aid their process like the ‘Pink Revolution’. Policies are made to boost meat production by subsiding machines, transport, and waiving duties and taxes, on the other hand, plant-based setup face huge resistance. The only way to resolve this is to promote plant-based products and consumers to become aware of the food choices they genuinely need and the carbon footprints of each choice.
Supreme Court have already highlighted the importance of Sustainable Development and careful utilization of natural resources in the case of Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun vs. State of Uttar Pradesh. Justice P.N. Bhagwatiand Ranganath Mishraheaded the bench and the judge stressed the selfish consumption of natural resources by the present generation and not thinking about the next generation.
“Polluter Pays Principle” introduced by Justice Jeevan Reddy in the case of the Indian Council for Enviro-Legal vs. Union of India stated that the entity or undertaking responsible for pollution should indemnify the damage. Justice ES Venkataramiahheld that a tannery industry should have a primary treatment plant for treating wastewater before discharging it into a water body. The treatment plant should hold equivalence with the minimum wages of workers. This was held in the case of M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India.
Interestingly, the opportunity cost of planting a tree and saving the planet is gone, most of the trees in tree planting drive die within weeks and the overall impact is negligible in the long run. Here, to make it clear we are not advocating against tree plantations. The point here is if we genuinely make people aware of their choices then this knowledge would influence their future choices. A couple would think of the carbon footprint of their second baby in the future, an average person would be conscious of their lifestyle. The consumers would prioritize their health and would inquire about the nutritional content of the product. These will further help us to choose better leaders, as an informed citizen would make an informed vote. Leaders would be forced to make strict legislation benefiting the environment. Smart consumers would not get fooled by the corporate instead they would demand the right products for them. This knowledge is not rocket science, the intent and maturity are missing from the people. Understanding these things is quite simple there are more complex concepts than this in physics or mathematics or any other stream. In the end, it all boils down to the little choices but capable of creating a revolution. Therefore, being particular about our choices is crucial regarding the present crisis of climate change before us.
AIRLINES, THE ENERGY SECTOR AND THE ROARING DEVELOPMENT.
The airline travel industry is another big contributor to the rising carbon emissions and the continuous degradation of the environment around us. Aeroplane runs on the kerosene fuel which when burnt release a significant amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, this process warms up the planet and leaves an increased trail for the carbon footprint. It is estimated that airline travel would account for almost a quarter of carbon emissions by 2050. The solution to it is the increased adoption of train or road travel and limiting air travel only when needed. Realistically, during the Covid-19 2020 lockdown, when air travel and other economic activities were shut then weeks after that we saw significant improvements in the environment, and it appeared the earth was healing after years of constant torture.
The energy sector is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, the power that we use in our daily life is primarily derived from the burning of fossil fuels. The power consumption is directly proportional to the carbon emissions as the more the consumption, the more the carbon emission and vice versa. There is an argument from the public that we need power for development and the carbon emissions from this so-called development is inevitable. There is always a solution, and it lies with intelligence. The intelligence would drive you to find sustainable ways for development and the right reason for development as most of the development we do it's because of greed and fear. For example, major inventions happened during the war times, then study the fear in countries regarding acquiring a nuclear bomb after the second world war. During the cold war, it was often a competition between the two blocks about the lethality of weapons and most of the time these two countries rushed to supersede the other. This journal doesn’t advocate against development or military advancement all I question is about the rationality of our development. A five-year-old boy born today has cancer, it’s not his fault but we as a society have failed. It’s because our consumption spree and our never-ending appetite for everything have made things unbearable for all of us.
Our actions, dreams and aims are all conditioned by the corporates, we don’t realize but we are walking in their pre-decided path the way they wanted. They just want us to consume and enjoy a good life; the expression of the good life in their mind is being full of ignorance and devoid of any individual identity. The education we choose today is directly linked with the rate of return of that industry in the market. These corporates have spoiled the true essence of human life, we are being fed the same life just for the big fat bank balance of the corporate. Let’s consider the example of corruption and how the whole concept of consumerism has deepened that pit. The consumerism theory induces people to believe that they are not worthy and that they need something to make them complete or compensate for their feeling. This feeling of incompleteness is so strong that it forces people to negotiate with their integrity. Unsuccessfully enough they think they can become complete if they buy a bigger house, bigger car or a private jet or private islands which are a fad these days. A survey was conducted with varied individuals with different incomes starting from low to high and all of them wanted to achieve more than their current income. A person earning ten lakhs a year wants one crore, the one crore wants ten. The conclusion from this is no matter how much we achieve the human mind still thinks it’s incomplete. Also, this journal doesn’t advocate against earning money in fact to counter this narrative of consumerism we need a lot of resources and power, surprisingly enough money is a way to retain power. Neither this Journal is against technological development, it’s just ignited basic questions about the things happening wrong around the world where the majority of people despite knowing something is amiss fail to acknowledge it. If we want to develop restrict ourselves to only finding sustainable and right ways for development.
 Economic liberalisation in India refers to the economic liberalisation of the country's economic policies to make the economy more market and service-oriented and expand the role of private and foreign investment. Indian economic liberalisation was part of a general pattern of economic liberalisation occurring across the world in the late 20th century. Although some attempts at liberalisation were made in 1966 and the early 1980s, a more thorough liberalisation was initiated in 1991. The reform was prompted by a balance of payments crisis that had led to a severe recession and also as per structural adjustment programs for taking loans from IMF and World Bank.- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_liberalisation_in_India
 Article 48A was added by the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976.
 Article 21- Protection of life and Personal Liberty.
 Menaka Gandhi v. Union of India (1978)
 Indian Environment Portal - http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/content/472602/environment-protection-amendment-rules-2022/
 World Diabetes Day 2018: Battling the Emerging Epidemic of Diabetic Retinopathy – Suresh K Pandey and Vidushi Sharma, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213704/
 CIRCULAR No. SEBI/HO/CFD/CMD-2/P/CIR/2021/562
 Article 51: Promotion of international peace and security.
 The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established an international environmental treaty to combat "dangerous human interference with the climate system", in part by stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. It was signed by 154 states at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. It established a Secretariat headquartered in Bonn and entered into force on 21 March 1994. The treaty called for ongoing scientific research and regular meetings, negotiations, and future policy agreements designed to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, ensure that food production is not threatened and enable economic development to proceed sustainably - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Framework_Convention_on_Climate_Change
 The court on its Motion vs. State of Himachal Pradesh & Others on 20 September 2018
 Article 21- Protection of life and Personal Liberty.
 Article 48-A- To protect and improve the environment and safeguard forests and wildlife
 Article 51: Promotion of international peace and security.
 Damodar Rao vs. S.O. Municipal Corporation AIR 1987 AP 171
 Sachidanand Pandey vs. State of West Bengal AIR 1987 SC 1109
 The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country
 To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures
 Czarnecka, Barbara; Schivinski, Bruno (17 June 2019). "Do Consumers Acculturated to Global Consumer Culture Buy More Impulsively? The Moderating Role of Attitudes towards and Beliefs about Advertising" Journal of Global Marketing. 32 (4): 219–238. doi:10.1080/08911762.2019.1600094. ISSN 0891-1762. S2CID 182181403.
 Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrated approach to managing landscapes—cropland, livestock, forests and fisheries—that addresses the interlinked challenges of food security and accelerating climate change - https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/climate-smart-agriculture
 India, the world’s largest sugar consumer, wants its people to eat more- https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/india-worlds-largest-consumer-of-sugar-wants-its-people-to-eat-more/articleshow/78991494.cms?from=mdr
 The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution states its main objective as "the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health". Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, it has six regional offices and 150 field offices worldwide. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Health_Organization
 WHO calls on countries to reduce sugar intake among adults and children- https://www.who.int/news/item/04-03-2015-who-calls-on-countries-to-reduce-sugars-intake-among-adults-and-children?
 Dopamine is a neurotransmitter made in the brain. It acts as a chemical messenger between neurons. Dopamine is released when your brain is expecting a reward. When you come to associate a certain activity with pleasure, mere anticipation may be enough to raise dopamine levels. It could be a certain food, sex, shopping, or just about anything else that you enjoy. - https://www.healthline.com/health/dopamine-effects#definition
 Jaggery is traditional non-centrifugal cane sugar. It is a concentrated product of cane juice and often dates or palm sap without separation of the molasses and crystals, and can vary from golden brown to dark brown. It contains up to 50% sucrose, up to 20% invert sugars, and up to 20% moisture, with the remainder, made up of other insoluble matter, such as wood ash, proteins, and bagasse fibres. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaggery
 The Indian English name for Muscovado.
 Sugarcane emerges as likely culprit in drought-hit Marathwada; growing cultivation of cash crop depleted groundwater- https://www.firstpost.com/india/sugarcane-emerges-as-likely-culprit-in-drought-hit-marathwada-growing-cultivation-of-cash-crop-depleted-groundwater-5572261.html
 Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), also known as consumer-packaged goods (CPG), are products that are sold quickly and at a relatively low cost. Examples include non-durable household goods such as packaged foods, beverages, toiletries, candies, cosmetics, over-the-counter drugs, dry goods, and other consumables. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast-moving_consumer_goods
 WHO calls for tighter monitoring of advertisements of unhealthy foods to children- https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/who-calls-for-tighter-monitoring-of-marketing-of-unhealthy-foods-to-children/article26667706.ece
 Animal Welfare Board of India vs. A. Nagaraj and Ors (2014) 7 SCC 547. https://indiankanoon.org/search/?formInput=all%20india%20animal%20welfare
 Jallikattu (or sallikkattu), also known as eru thazhuvuthal and mañcuvirattu, is a traditional event in which a bull (Bos indicus), such as the Pulikulam or Kangayam breeds, is released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to grab the large hump on the bull's back with both arms and hang on to it while the bull attempts to escape. Participants hold the hump for as long as possible, attempting to bring the bull to a stop. In some cases, participants must ride long enough to remove flags on the bull's horns - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jallikattu
It is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted in 1960 to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals and to amend the laws relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals. As per the provisions of the law, the government of India formed the Animal Welfare Board of India - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevention_of_Cruelty_to_Animals_Act
 M.C. Mehta And Anr vs Union of India & Ors on 20 December 1986; 1987 AIR 1086, 1987 SCR (1) 819
 According to the rule of absolute liability, if any person is engaged in an inherently dangerous or hazardous activity, and if any harm is caused to any person due to any accident which occurred during carrying out the such inherently dangerous and hazardous activity, then the person who is carrying out such activity will be held liable. The exception to the strict liability rule also wouldn’t be considered. - https://blog.ipleaders.in/concept-strict-liability-absolute-liability/
 It is a concept that is used in the sphere of tort and environmental law, and other economic parts of the law. It refers to the idea that the uncertainty of an activity should be borne by the person who is in a better or relatively good position to handle such a risk. This can be achieved by either spreading such a risk or uncertainty to many risk-bearers or the fact that this could be imposed upon a person who is tentatively neutral in such a position. The deep pocket argument, amongst other arguments, may be used as a weapon to justify the liability of a product as the producers with the “deep pockets” will normally be better able to accommodate the risk of the damages that those kinds of individuals who are not endowed with “deep pockets”. - https://blog.ipleaders.in/the-legal-aspect-of-the-deep-pocket-theory/
 Municipal Corporation, Ratlam vs. Vardhichand AIR 1980 SC 1622
 Acid rain has been shown to have adverse impacts on forests, freshwaters, soils, microbes, insects and aquatic life forms. In ecosystems, persistent acid rain reduces tree bark durability, leaving flora more susceptible to environmental stressors such as drought, heat/cold and pest infestation. Acid rain is also capable of detrimental soil composition by stripping it of nutrients such as calcium and magnesium which play a role in plant growth and maintaining healthy soil. In terms of human infrastructure, acid rain also causes paint to peel, corrosion of steel structures such as bridges, and weathering of stone buildings and statues as well as having impacts on human health.- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_rain
 M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India AIR 1987.
 The modernization of the meat and poultry processing sector in India is the Pink Revolution. Modernization is the mechanization and specialization of the standard of processes in the meat industry. Industrialization and upgraded technologies for the Indian entities and adopting and developing mass production capacities. -https://byjus.com/free-ias-prep/pink-revolution/
Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun vs. State of Uttar Pradesh AIR 1987 SC 2187
 Prafulla Chandra Natwarlal Bhagwati (21 December 1921 – 15 June 2017) was the 17th Chief Justice of India, serving from 12 July 1985 until his retirement on 20 December 1986. He introduced the concepts of public interest litigation and absolute liability in India, and for this reason is held, along with Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, to be a pioneer of judicial activism in the country. He is the longest-served supreme court judge (including Chief Justice to tenure) in India. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._N._Bhagwati
 Ranganath Mishra (25 November 1926 – 13 September 2012) was the 21st Chief Justice of India, serving from 25 September 1990 to 24 November 1991. He was also the first chairman of the National Human Rights Commission of India.- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranganath_Misra
 Indian Council for Enviro-Legal vs. Union of India AIR 1999 SC 1502
 Engalaguppe Seetharamiah Venkataramiah (18 December 1924 – 24 September 1997) was the 19th Chief Justice of India, serving from 19 June 1989 until his retirement on 17 December 1989. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engalaguppe_Seetharamiah_Venkataramiah
 M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India AIR 1988 SCR (2) 538.
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