The annual State of India’s Environment 2021, was released jointly by over 60 environmentalists of India February 25, 2021.

The pandemic is a default template for every assessment; such has been its impact on our lives. As Sunita Narain, editor of Down to Earth, writes in her opening appraisal of the year just passed by: “The crisis has no precedent. But it is a result of our progressively worsening dystopian relationship with nature.”

“Resetting our relationship with nature.” This has become an expression of mea culpa in the age of Anthropocene.

This theme that runs through the report’s 14 chapters: From the pandemic to sustainable development goals to poverty. From energy to rural development.

The report’s special chapter on the pandemic points out:

  • The world is going to face a pandemic like the current one more frequently. We know just 0.1 per cent of potential zoonoses. In other words, the world remains ignorant of 99.9 per cent of potential zoonotic viruses.
  • The adult generation of 2040 would be stunted, with a lower human capital. This would be the toughest development challenge for the world due to the impacts of the pandemic.
  • The pandemic has demonstrated another brutal reality: A crisis’s impacts trickle faster to the poor. It is estimated that 12,000 more people would die every day due to hunger extended by the pandemic.

The chapter titled Habitat, researchers have elaborated on how the pandemic brought out aspects of unnoticed urban lives. It said: “While the government aims to build 11 million houses for the urban poor by 2022, it must ensure that their new addresses do not render work, health services and education inaccessible.”

The report carries a special section on the state of the Indian states, particularly on their performance on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Only a decade away from meeting these globally committed development goals, India occupies 117th position among 192 countries on the progress list.

No state was found to be on track to meet all the SDGs by 2030.

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