Only change is permanent we are told by one and all: Philosophers, Economists, Naturalists, Gurus of spirituality, God-men, Scientists, Development Agents, and over and above all by the beckoning Mother Nature that while transcending evolution and succession, creates and recreates incessantly. In other words, every day is a “Ground Zero Day”. We need to think fresh, start anew, and build further on daily-basis across sectors, research thematic, economic avenues, products and professions. While doing so, our past sets the frame for present, and future is very much chained to what we do now. Our Lead Strategist, who was at the Dr. Carl Benz Museum in Ladenburg, Germany, presenting as Alumni of Daimler Benz Foundation last year, snapped pictorially the first-ever patented automobile of our planet. In a way early 1880s, were yet another Ground Zero Moment, ‘a landmark’ but also a game-changing innovation that set the planks for us humans, a journey that is marked by the narrative “automobiles are invincible”. Therefore, from an era of profanity for automobiles (i.e. when religions treated the first car with abominable gestures) to the status of almost a “worshipped deity” (i.e. as we get our freshly purchased automobiles at the earliest to a nearby religious place and even crack a coconut or few to sanctify it for our auspicious, long and safe life), in less than 140 years.
Hence even for automobile industry development, times of change are permanent. The current life-threatening issues of our planet, climate change, energy security, and economy and ecology were never so pertinent. The argument of transportation sector contributing almost one-fifth of greenhouse gas emissions alone in Europe are yet again demanding innovations, albeit, at faster pace. Hybrid and electric cars, fuel efficiency arguments, trade emission schemes, and car-driving behavioural changes are among only few demands that we have set ourselves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and remain within the set global milestone of keeping temperature increase less than 1.5 ℃ to that of pre-industrial era.
Likewise, it is with development in general. SDGs agreed globally, and targets set by each country are challenging us to innovate, in delivering conservation and development in a balanced way. Like for car industry which has set a challenging target of having 30% of new cars as plug-in energy-zero hybrids by 2030, we will need to innovate heavily to address poverty, food and water security and among others biodiversity degradation and loss. Today’s solutions may not work tomorrow. For instance, as we have seen, in raising electric fences to save ourselves and our crops from wild elephants, we are simultaneously shifting problems to other neighbouring areas and do not know what an electric fence means for other numerous wildlife species. So human-wildlife interface and conflict continues while we explore for new options to counter the issue. While finding solution for wildlife conservation and human development, land use planning with all stakeholders will be the key to trade-offs at landscape scale.
Hence Dr Benz’s conclusion in 19th Century “Inventing is definitely more beautiful than having invented” is valid for conservation and development as well. Treat every day as a new chance to evolve, innovate and improve. Those who provide enabling atmosphere to innovate consistently, will deliver also consistent solutions in an ever changing world with aplomb.