Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans — Jacques Cousteau
I write this story from Sydney, Australia. My service apartment sits in the heart of Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD) — a short walk from the iconic Queen Victoria Building (QVB) shopping centre. I have been living in Sydney, Australia for a total of 175 days (a little less than six months). During that time, my travels took me to one more country — Aotearoa (or New Zealand in popular culture). Over the span of those days, I read about tourists dying in New Zealand’s North Island because of a volcano eruption (Whitaker/Whale Isand eruption), millions of species impacted and people rendered homeless by bushfires that ravaged Australia and escalated the natural disaster to a global disaster. Now, as I plan to board a plane to Mumbai, I cannot help but imagine how returning to one of the most polluted cities on the planet will feel like. Don’t get me wrong — I am and will continue to remain a proud ‘Mumbaikar’ (ex-citizen and eternal lover of Mumbai).However, when smog blankets out the blue sky, I am left with nothing but a throbbing heartache.
What can I do? Perhaps, nothing. I should be totally disengaged, just stick to the problems in my personal life, stay away from reading the news or learning the facts behind global environmental challenges and basically lighten up by watching Netflix disregarding the absolute horror of real life movie playing out in the world outside. Perhaps, I can write about my heartache in the hope that not everybody is disengaged with the plight of their neighbors. Better still, I can contribute financially, monitor my own activities to reduce my own footprint of pollution and try to gather support for action over inaction. In any case, I believe total disengagement is a recipe for doom. I am trying to cajole you to agree.
What IS Total Disengagement?
I can, with a guilty conscience the size of this planet, explain what total disengagement is. I am friends with a cardiologist (a heart doctor that probably knows more about heartache than any…