MIDWAY: Drink, a drop less

Some fine morning at a Nagarkot hotel, sipping some piping hot coffee imported from Russia, the manager of the hotel threw a desperate dekko at the thinly snow-covered Langtang mountain range and whined, “in few years, we will see snow only in panoramic posters!” His desperation was understandable: until the recent past, the same mountain range covered itself in a denser snow blanket.

Last week, two separate cases menacingly stared up from the Nepali press. The first case heralded the Imja Lake in the Khumbu region may burst any time and swallow up the entire region, including life and property. Second, this season, the Shirish flowers in Kathmandu bloomed at least two weeks later than their normal blooming time.

These uncommon cases, however, have one common cause: global warming. Examples abound: two years ago, Ladakh, the north-western territory of India, experienced floods despite the fact that the great Himalayan barrier usually blocked the monsoon from entering the high-altitude plateau. Simultaneously, it snowed at sea level in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan.

The grass is not greener elsewhere either. Last winter, the French-Italian Alps, even around the Mt. Blanc, saw virtually no snow. The panicky and upset skiers half-heartedly returned back ‘home sweet home’ with their skiing boards with no snow stuck.

Such phenomena give many the willies. Some have even started reacting to it on an individual

level. Recently, the editor of Capital, a French magazine, declared publicly that henceforth, he would say a capital NO to green beans — his favorite vegetables — imported from Kenya. Importing a kg of green beans by plane, say, from Nairobi to Paris, implies the emission of 4.5 kgs of CO2, the chief cause of global warming. The same quantity of beans brought by truck into Paris from the province pollutes the environment 45 times less.

Little efforts pay when it comes to fighting global warming. Hence, by drinking a little less imported coffee, the Nagarkot Hotel manager, you and I could help the Shirish flowers bloom on time, the snow fall sufficiently in the Himalayas and the alpine lakes remain intact.