Population, food, water, environment, habitat, greening and cleaner production processes are intertwining issues. These are not merely concerns of survival but also of sustainable development.
Over the next 20 years water deficit globally could rise to 50 percent while Bangladesh has the current shortfall of 40 percent of its water requirement. The global population would hover around 9 billion in two decades. When these figures are read with 50 percent decline in food production worldwide since 1990 and food prices doubling in the next 20 years, we have before us a compelling picture of priorities. Specifically, where responses would have to square up with the emerging existential challenges can be ticked off.
To meet water deficits it will be simplistic to suggest its conservation through rainwater harvesting and stopping of water waste, even though they are certainly ways to ease up the constraints. We say 'simplistic' in light of global warming, sea level rise, tsunami, earthquake and desertification which portend severe sweet water scarcities and much more. The experts are prescient, almost prophetic when they envision regional and international conflicts over water rights. As a matter of fact, we are taking much more from the nature than giving back to it, oblivious to the nature's bounty being finite, exhaustible.
Vanishing habitats are an issue with us. The struggle for survival over newly accreted chars after river erosion and that in the wake of other serious natural disasters are eloquent tributes to the resilience of Bangladeshis. In the eye of a perceptive observer, human resilience is a precious commodity for which rather than pitying Bangladesh critics might have to 'wind up learning from her example'.
We are into the budgeting season when gender budgeting would have to be unbundled from the mixed-up, convoluted, male-driven regimen. Despite attempts to add novelty to the national budget it falls short of reflecting a concern for long-term structural issues like urbanisation, for one, coupled with migratory treks away from rural habitats.
The focus has switched on to local discourse of Islam pitted against global discourse of capitalism. We are pulling into the direction of a 'hybrid society', culturally and perhaps lifestyle-wise.
From capital market regulatory through Fukushima nuclear accident ('benefits are greater than risks') to Pulitzer prize winner Sylvia Plath, the range of coverage is as wide as it is informative and insightful. Sylvia took her own life in a mind-boggling way but has an undimmed celebrity status even to this day. She could be likened to Marilyn Monroe because of them both throwing up their lives in disgust and Jibananando Das for the similarity in poetic cadence between Sylvia and him.