There has been a distinct lack of posts on this blog because I have been visiting India for the last four weeks and took a break from blogging at the same time. This was my first visit to the Indian subcontinent but it won’t be my last. Originally the visit was designed to reunite my family – my daughter has been traveling for over a year and refused to return to Canada for Christmas – so we went to see her.
However I had not anticipated to have my perspective on the world to be so altered by a trip abroad. India has a population of 1.1 billion people 12.9 million of them live in the city of Delhi. I only spent two days in this city – I’m not sure my body could have survived any more – I live in the highest city in Canada and my lungs have been spoiled with fresh air it would seem. The air quality in Delhi was so poor that all four of us (my two kids and wife) became sick with chest infections that were very hard to shake off. I have only been back in the beautiful clear air of Alberta, Canada for a few days now, but I already notice a change in how different I feel. I was curious to find out what I had (rather naively) exposed myself to and visited this article on pollution in Delhi. I had not realised that I was visiting the most polluted city in Asia.
The visit brought home to me in a very physical way the monumental task we have as a species ahead of us. Ironically at the very same time as our stay in Delhi the Bali climate conference was taking place. I would have thought that rather than an up-market resort in Bali – a more appropriate place to have a climate conference would be a downtown, New Delhi hotel. Then all of the delegates (especially those who like myself may have never visited a highly polluted city before) could feel for themselves the real effects of heavy pollution. Maybe the experience would have helped some of the delegates realise that if we don’t collaborate as a planet – we simply won’t have one that is habitable.
I met some of the most beautiful, sincere, and joyful people I’ve ever met in my life on this visit to India. My heart went out to these great people when I realized that most of them did not have the choice, as I had, of leaving the filthy air behind. The experience also impressed upon me that the anthill we need to ‘teach to fetch’ is the anthill called ‘planet earth’.