It was a classic Kumaoni summer day—morning clouds blowing off by midday, blue sky above, low humidity. Almost paradise. It was also, like virtually every day in May-June, hotter than average. And there was a hint of smoke in the air.
hat smell of smoke was the first sign of the wildfires that would sweep the region, all but closing down tourist season in some resort destinations in the Kumaoni part of the Uttarakhand state. This summer, much of the forest burned. Other parts of the Himalayan States too—
No one event—fire, flood, storm can be attributed to climate change, but the science is clear: Rising temperatures are lengthening fire season, intensifying storms, and raising sea levels. Climate change is wreaking havoc on lives across the country and across the world. Virtually everyone with eyes—or, indeed, a nose—understands this, with the exception of a few in Himalayas. That group of course includes environmentalists from around the world, who recently said he thought the climate would “change back again.”
Those young people in Himalayas have already been harmed by environmental blindness. They want a chance to prove in court that government actions are hastening climate change, which, according to a United Nations panel report, will render much of Earth uninhabitable within their lifetimes.