The 2012 India Blackouts: A Great Example of How our Education System and Media Coverage are Leaving us in the Dark

by Pepper Givens

This summer, hundreds of millions of residents in India endured two days of stalled productivity, traffic jams and pretty much chaos as the country endured back-to-back power outages. Suffering the largest blackout in the planet’s history, the country went dark and, while the world noticed, no one seemed to really understand why — or at least the mainstream media made no attempt to delve into it.

They, rather, covered the devastation and lost company time that came with the territory. They documented stopped traffic and citywide collapse, but when it came to the root of the problem were next to silent. Do you think anyone from the general public could give a thorough, educated reason for the events — most likely not. Sure, specialists in the field who know what to look for, but what about the average Joe? Well, with the current media and educational systems we have in place, it’s no surprise the answer is no.

To clue those of you in who might not know where I’m going with this, the cause of these massive outages was a combination of things — a bad system setup, high demand and out-of-whack temperatures caused by a climate that is a bit off track all because of global warming. Sure, the Indian electrical system is challenged on a regular basis as it tries to pump energy throughout the veins of such a large population — that’s nothing new — but factor in the intense heat and extreme conditions the country as a whole was battling because of missed monsoons and you have the recipe for disaster.

But, as I already suggested, the blackout itself is not the problem here. The problem is the lackadaisical approach so much of the world seems to be having toward this ever-growing issue of climate change and environmental stress. Educators, leaders, policy-makers and of course, “talking heads” alike are, for most part all side-stepping the tough issues and rather distracting with other problems.

Granted, there are the select few who seek to spread awareness and knowledge, but the overwhelming majority does their part to silence them, for whatever reason. Perhaps they just don’t want to deal with it and are in a state of denial; perhaps there’s some ulterior motive involved (although I’m pretty sure we all lose when it comes to dramatic climate change); perhaps they are just at a loss and struggling to buy themselves sometime while they look for an answer. Whatever it is, the current approach is pathetic at best, leaving the world with nothing but a bunch of ignorant consumers who “know not what they do.”

But seriously, how many of you give the issue of climate change a second thought? What about over consumption of resources? While the people reading this blog might consider these issues, think of the other billions of people on the planet. A good deal of them would look at you like you were speaking a foreign language if you delved into the ins and outs of the scientific issues, and that’s a problem.

Our system of awareness and education needs to improve for our children, students, businesses and families. This is especially true when talking about something such as electricity — a luxury most of the developed world enjoys and utilizes throughout their days. People need to stop being kept in the dark about the issues that could potentially affect their future on this planet. The more we know, the more we can work toward positive, effective change that makes difference.

So, yes, the rolling blackouts throughout India are a great example of how our planet’s responding to extreme environmental issues. We need to start taking notice and action to ensure we prevent something even larger from happening. In these situations, the best defense you can have is knowledge and information, so let’s stop depriving our public of that, deal?

In an ideal world, it would be just that simple.


Pepper Givens is a freelance blogger and webmaster who commonly writes for Pepper welcomes your questions, comments, and any other kind of feedback you’d like to offer.