By Soroor Ahmed

When the global leaders were putting their heads together at Glasgow (Oct 31-Nov 2) to pretend that they are serious in fighting the menace of climate change, thousands of kilometres away in the United Arab Emirates the organisers of Twenty20 World Cup were literally burning midnight oil – and all sorts of fossil fuels – to convert planet Earth into hell. Not to speak of the organiser, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), even those campaigning to keep the world environmentally clean and engaged in combating the challenge of global warming see nothing wrong in such brazen disregard for ecological norms.

Ironically, the dim-witted champions of development see in this cricketing jamboree a great sign of progress not realising that holding such day-night shows is, to say the least, a criminal act. And this is not an isolated event taking place in the world. This tiny country itself had just concluded the remaining part of the Indian Premier League after it was put off midway in summer last following the havoc wreaked by the second wave of corona virus in India.

Besides, there are innumerable whole-night shows and unnecessary business activities going on around the globe just because they help the big corporate houses mint money. The political leaders as well as many ‘intellectuals’ and ‘the public opinion-makers’ of the world are just pawns in their hands and parrot what they are asked to speak.

At the very outset one must put it loudly and clearly that nobody is against development. The only issue is that there are still many souls who do not buy the absurd and outlandish definition of development taught and propagated day-in and day-out.

Wasting energy – which is produced at such a high environmental cost – to hold such lavish extravaganza can certainly not be called development. After all cricket or any sports can be played in day-light. Till a few decades back even Olympics Games used to be held between sun up and sun down. Now if one questions such sheer wastage of energy – not for doing any real productive work – but to play, there is likelihood that the said person may be declared mad and outdated fool.

Almost all the countries closed their educational institutions for months due to the pandemic, but the Tokyo Olympics was held after a year of postponement. Do not ask as to how much extra resources and energy were spent to make it a ‘success’ – mind it almost all the events were held in empty stadiums due to COVID-19 .

It took rich Canada 30 years to repay the debt taken for organising Montreal Olympics in 1976. Forty-five years later Montreal is still to fully recover from the destruction caused by the Olympics, which was plagued by widespread loot and corruption.

Greece turned a bankrupt country after 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. In the name of restoring ancient pride the capitalists plundered the natural wealth of the world.

Now wait for 2022 World Cup Football to be held in Qatar. This show would be held at enormous environmental cost, which has absolutely nothing to do with 90-minute game played by 11 players on two sides. Billions of dollars would be spent to keep the stadium cool and lighted. This tiny country may have to pay for years to come just like Montreal. The pandemic is increasing the budget of all such entertainment industry.

Needless to suggest, football matches everywhere were till a few decades back played in late afternoon or evening, that is, just before sunset.

These enormous expenditure of energy and other/ resources have absolutely nothing to do with fight against poverty, starvation and ignorance.

In this age of such tall claim of using renewable energies, are we doing anything to fully utilise the solar energy? Yes, the capitalists are doing so. By luring the cricketers for the sake of money, they are compelling them to play in Indian Premier League under the torrid temperature in the afternoons of April-May every year. Nobody minds playing or watching the first of the two matches of the IPL which starts at 3:30 PM in summer. Earlier cricket was never played in summer in tropical and subtropical regions. Tours would be planned to play matches in England during summer, where cricket is/was never played during winter.

The truth is that the Indian cricket team had won the 1983 World Cup or Test series against the strong West Indian and English teams way back in 1971 in their own countries when we used to hold domestic tournament in winter days. We produced many great cricketing heroes in the pre-IPL years, yet a perception is being created that the Indian team became world-beater only by playing IPL. This is the magic of capitalist-driven propaganda.

In this era of the global village one cannot do away with 24×7 activities. But this does not mean that we should play matches after sunset till midnight, open markets, marts, malls, pubs, nightclubs, etc. throughout the night.

A close observation of human behaviour in the last quarter century would reveal that men and women across the world are rising late by one to two hours. This is simply because they are sleeping late. Thus we are not only wasting more electricity but at the same time not making the optimum use of sunlight – a big asset, especially in tropical and equatorial regions.

It has been left only up to school-children to make the use of early morning sun rays as they are despatched to schools quite early. In many cases their mothers go to sleep again after sending them to school. The male-folk sleep till late in the morning. In weekends they sleep till mid-noon as they play games or remain engaged in social media till the wee hours.

If school-children can start their work early, why not the office-goers, shopkeepers or those engaged in any such activity, do the same.

In many cities shops are opening at least an hour later in the morning than a couple of decades back as they remain open till midnight.

Big business-houses and the government would talk about installing solar-panels and thus in the process earn money. But we are wasting at least one to two hours of sunlight everyday. Just imagine how much electricity the world can save annually by restoring normal routine.

Those busy in the campaign to bring down the carbon emissions and thus check global warming should pay attention to this aspect.

[The views expressed are personal]

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