Saturday, 8 June 2019

Beach Cleaning

Have you ever been to a beach cleaning exercise? My first time was with a couple of friends, all of us doing it for the first time. The coordinator assigned me a space of my fully stretched hands and told me to clean. I looked at him with baffled experssions as the beach where I was standing was clean. He smiled and said, dig. I thought he was joking or maybe the organization was actually into treasure hunt or some game and I was misinformed. But I saw that others had started digging around me, so I did too. And behold, I found my first plastic bag in just 10 seconds. I thought I am done and I am ready to move to other area. So I looked up, saw that others kept digging deeper, finding more in their own designated area. I sighed and thought, how much garbage will be in this small place. But I kept digging for about an hour and kept finding some garbage, plastic bottles, bags just swarming the place, layers of proof of our abuse of the environment over the years.
I have seen so much garbage being thrown into the sea, the sea throws a small part of it back to us on the shore. On the beach, that small part disgusted me to my core. Major part of that plastic waste remain in the sea. On social media, we keep seeing videos of turtles, dolphins, other fish with plastic around their body parts. How disheartening those sights of plastic filled beaches and those animal videos are!!!
But these seconds of sadness need to turn into actions. We need to stop using this single use plastic, move to metal/ glass bottle and paper/cloth bags. It is such a small change that all of us can easily implement it. It will mean a great deal to our environment. 

Friday, 7 June 2019

Nature Never Disappoints

Every time I go on a Wildlife Safari, I tell God, how nice I have been and a good sighting of wildlife needs to be on my rewards list. I know what you are thinking, this is the same conversation a kid has with Santa Clause. But that's exactly how I feel, just like a kid, bubbly and excited for the upcoming adventure. And just like Santa Clause, the nature never disappoints, it always has some surprise in store for me, just for me.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Childhood Drawing

When I was a kid and anyone asked me to draw a house, I always drew a wooden house, a small river passing next to it with a big tree. It had a moutain range in the background, sun setting in those mountains, with exactly 3 birds flying in the horizon.
I don't know how my childhood self imagined this to be the house as I have always lived in a City. It wasn't just me, I think my entire generation grew drawing this picture. Maybe sub consciously someone was putting this idea in our head that only if you are this close to nature, will you actually be home. I know it's a romantic notion but isn't it the sweetest!!!

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Global Environment Day

Today is Global Environment Day. But what is environment? Oxford dictionary defines it as 'The surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates'. So is it enough to celebrate / care about that environment only one day in a year? What about the rest of the 364 days?
Let's look at some statistics:
1. Earth is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old. Life on earth, on the other hand, is said to be 3.5 billion years old. We humans have come to existence only about a 200 thousand years back. Not through any miracle, through evolution of different species over billions of years, with support from interactions of every living and non living entity in the environment in perfect harmony.
2. Over the millions of years of evolution, the nature has created more than 20 million  different species. Humans, with all our intelligence have been able to discover only 1.8 million of those so far. So 90% of the mystery of the natural world still remains unknown to us, and so does its interconnection and its role in the larger eco system.
3. Human interference, in the last century has driven 1 million species to extinction or near extinction so far. We have already killed 60% of the planet's wildlife.
4. The planet is already 1 degree celsius hotter than late 19th century. And the temperature is rapidly rising. Most of the warming happened in the last 49 years or so. Scientists say by 2050 the arctic regions are estimated to be largely free of ice in the summer, leading to rise in sea level creating many tsunamis and mayhem. Higher temperatures will lead to irregular rain pattern, affecting every living organism, including humans negatively.
5. Excessive usage of single use plastic is choking the oceans. By 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish, killing millions of animals every year.
6. Exponentially growing human demand have already destroyed half of the world's rainforests that took millions of years to evolve, teeming with biodiversity, the second biggest producer of life supporting oxygen on the planet.
7. The biggest reserve of water and oxygen, the oceans are dying because of pollution,  excessive use of chemical fertilizers, oil spills, plastic, industrial waste, human sewage.
8. We created atomic energy without understanding the full implications of it, which led to disasters such as Chernobyl. We polluted the 1000 sq miles area, made the land, air and water uninhabitable for humans for 20,000 years, longer than the existence of human civilizations.
9. Half of the Great barrier reef, a natural wonder, is already dead due to massive rise in ocean temperature. The damage may well be irreversible in those coral reefs rich with marine life, evolved over a million years
10. An oil spill (Deepwater Horizon oil spill) in the Gulf of Mexico killed or mutated thousands  of marine life, birds, destroyed corals. We created the pipelines, without accounting for the disaster scenario. The inevitable happened, leaving the oil in the ocean for years to come, threatening life of every living species in a 1300 miles of shoreline.
There are many more alarming statistics like this. With all our science and technology, how much of the complex natural world do we understand even today? Our lack of knowledge has caused irreversible damages to the environment already. How much more can the environment really endure? Every living and non living entity has a role to play in sustaining the ecosystem. How can we replace the functions performed by those 1 million species in the ecosystem that have or will soon cease to exist, thanks to us? When a part of the ocean turns dead, our food source depletes, fishing industry takes a hit. When rain pattern changes, agriculture gets affected. Air and water pollution doesn't just kill animals, it affects human health as well. Human population now stands at 7.5 billion in the world. Scientists predict us to grow to 10 billion globally by 2050 or 2100 at the latest. Can this damaged environment take care of 10 billion humans, even the basic demand for food oxygen and water? If not, then we need to start caring about the environment more than just one day in a year.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Beauty of the Wild

Have you ever been to a zoo, seen the animals caged, deprived of everything that their natural instict is telling them? And now we have the so called "safaris", where the humans are put in caged vehicles or with armed guards. The entire premise being that animals like tigers and lions are dangerous and the humans need protection from them.

For a lot of children, this is their first interaction with such a beautiful animal and the child is learning that they are dangerous, to be feared or tamed. With our guns and cages, we are superior to these animals and have every right to expoit them for our leisure.

I hope and pray a day comes when we humanize this experience, for all of us. Rather than fear, we instill appreciation and love for these animals into our kids. I hope the kids learn to respect and care for these animals.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Save Tiger Habitat

"Save tiger" campaign is seeing great deal of success in recent times, we are actually seeing the number of tigers increase.
But is it enough to stop poaching? One of my teachers used to tell me, first aid is always given to solve the immediate problem but that is not the treatment.
As we stop poaching, we also need to provide the tigers with environment to grow in numbers. Tigers are solitary and territorial animal. They fight each other, even kill cubs to ensure their dominance, no wonder they are called the kings of the jungle. But survival for many tigers becomes more and more difficult in this world of smaller and fewer Habitats. We need to build these habitats and cultivate passageways between them so that tigers are able to roam around. This will actually be a solution to the issue and not just the first aid.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Curious Child

Curiosity kills the cat, does it harm even the langur baby? Looking at this teeny-tiny baby, all I wanted to do was comfort it but one glance at the fierce mother I decided to keep my distance. Such a young baby, where did it learn fear so early, was there some predator waiting for it, has it already survived some attack on his well being. Or the wise mother has already taught the baby about the perils caused by Human race. If not for pure self preservation, then at least for this langur baby, let's try to save this planet. Life will be so boring without these beautiful little eyes.