India excels at ‘Global Greening’; but misses out on the flip side of the growth

Ritika Pathak

, India, Special

India along with China is leading the global greening movement, which comes as a shocker to all the nations worldwide. In a recent observation by NASA, it is stated that the world is turning greener than it was 20 years ago.

“China and India account for one-third of the greening but contain only 9 per cent of the planet’s land area covered in vegetation,” said lead author Chi Chen of Boston University. Looking at the oddity of the findings, he added that India is a populous country thought to be overexploiting and degrading its land.

The NASA study revealed a greener pattern in China and India, with India’s green growth mostly from croplands (82 per cent) with minor contribution from forests (4.4 per cent).

Both the countries have had a spike in food production by over 35 per cent, since 2000. “When the greening of the Earth was first observed, we thought it was due to a warmer, wetter climate and fertilization from the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” said Rama Nemani, a research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center and a co-author of the study. 

But the growth has rather been a byproduct of increase in Indian region’s harvested area, through multiple cropping, aided by fertilizers and surface or groundwater irrigation. But opinions differ on if India’s green growth is really for the better? Here’s why:

Thought as a means of growth and sustainable development, India’s green economy also has a flip side as observed by a few. While people claim that we have officially landed in the age of Anthropocene , the countries’ contribution towards greener planet is in lieu of the planet’s overall health.

It is inflating the levels of carbon dioxide, nitrogen in the air, making the world warmer, and browner. Experts also say that not all leaves grow up to be equals and are poorly managed globally. 

While increase in the level of carbon dioxide does promote photosynthesis, which in turn pulls the gas out from the atmosphere, but most of it goes right back into the air. Despite the drawbacks, the benefits outweigh them as greenness. It has proven to be bringing more sustainability and bio-diversity in the ecosystem, working towards the goal of mitigating land degradation, air pollution and climate change. 


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