Saturday, 7 September 2019

I am losing my home

I am losing my home.

Home, it's a feeling, it's a place that I call my own. It's not just a shelter, it's not just a roof over my head.

I am at home when I see a sunrise over the horizon and when I can enjoy the birds' wakeup calls. I feel at home when my bare feet touch the grass and I am drenched in the rain. I feel whole when I can relax in the tree shade with the gentle music of flowing water. Home is a calm place where I can relax and feel one with nature.

But I am losing my home. My home is actually becoming a sanctuary, an escape I have to find to cope with life. Is this a common feeling? Is that why travel has suddenly become so alluring? Everyone is searching for that feeling of home which we can't get in these overcrowded cities and closed concrete buildings. We keep looking for it in newer places.

Is this our prosperity? Is that what we want to achieve? What material gain do we aspire that will replace the feeling of home?

Friday, 6 September 2019

Nothing is impossible

It's not too late, not yet. But it will be, pretty soon. The wiser lot have already started realizing that.

Ethiopia has a long history of rampant deforestation. After losing billions of trees and much of its forest cover over the past decade alone, Ethiopia decided to take some action in the right direction. The Prime Minister offically launched a national 4 billion tree planting project on May 26, 2019. The country set a world record of planting 350 million trees in 12 hours on 29th july.

A nation's commitment and its millions of citizen's dedication have the potential to change the face of the earth for better, even now. Whether the effort will be successful, the trees will survive and reverse the country's centuries of abuse is yet to be seen. However, the effort and commitment of the government and the citizens is commendable and should be followed by every other country. Perhaps this is the only way to act before it's too late. 

Thursday, 5 September 2019

A fellow wildlife lover friend ( once wrote an FAQ on tigers. And not surprisingly, one of the top questions we wildlife enthusiasts get asked is 'aren't you scared? Being so close to a wild lion or leopard or tiger sounds dangerous'!! So I thought of checking on some numbers.

In the first half of 2019, The Hindu reported that 224 people were killed by tigers in the last 5 years. Compared to 130 million Indian population, this number is miniscule. On an average 400 people die in vehicular accident daily in India (a news by The Economic Times, 2018). So we have a 3,260 times higher chance of getting hit by a car than being attacked by a tiger.

In a little over 100 years, wild tiger population in India has declined from 100,000 to less than 3,000. 97% of the population has been wiped out due to human activities and human greed (wild tiger population in the world is <4,000). Even in recent years, more than 100 wild tigers are killed worldwide every year for illegal trade alone. In addition to that human-animal conflict, electrocution, poisoning, lynching, roadkill, habitat loss cause many more tiger deaths every year.
And we say tigers are dangerous!!!!!!

The statistics is similar for any other animal anywhere in the world. I wanted everyone to understand this statistics rather than drawing conclusions based on gut feeling. And the statistics tells us that we are not only safe in the jungle, but actually safer than we ever feel in the city.


Wednesday, 4 September 2019


I grew up in a middle class family where education, being a good human being was given the utmost priority. I was taught the value of things and was never allowed to splurge. As a kid, I never realized the value of it. These values pushed me to work harder to achieve something in life all by myself. And environmentally, they saved me from years of wasting resources.

When I started working, I was suddenly introduced to a salary account and a world of consumerism. In this new world, getting new stuff looked like the solution to all problems. First the big shopping malls and then the online shopping websites...all made it even easier. I bought stuff when I was happy, sad or angry. The obsession to own the new stuff as soon as I see it, made me buy things which I never needed or never used. I donated never used items to buy new items that would be never used in the future. The excitement of owning new stuff was gone the moment I buy them. Then the craving for new excitement started again.

Today when I look back to that obsession, I see effort to hide lack of fulfillment with material goods. After a while I started realizing, the things that really gave me fulfillment, weren't listed on a shopping website or displayed in malls. Even after owning all the stuff, I still turned to nature for meaning. Over time I realized, the precious memories that I hold so close to my heart, weren't any of those material things I bought. I realized that my moments spent with nature, unique outstanding experiences with wildlife brought a smile to my face every time I thought about them, which my material possessions failed to provide for so long!!

Consumerism is taking over our modern society and it's only driving us further away from our real root, nature. If my shopaholic past sounds familiar to you, ask yourself this, do you need all those items that you buy? Does the new item bring smile to your face, create a memory that you will never forget?

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Let the Birds Sing

I live in a city where honking is way of life. I may go for days without hearing a single bird chirp but I hear honking daily. One of the reasons I can't hear the bird chirping is all the human noise, including honking.

For birds, it is critical to be able to communicate through singing. They use the bird song as call for mating, defending territory from rivals and even as a warning against predators.

To cope with the noise pollution, some of the birds have evolved their bird songs. European robins studied in Sheffield, England, were found to sing at night in those areas where noise levels were significantly higher in daytime. German nightingales, by contrast, are content to engage in the bird equivalent of screaming. Not all species have the vocal machinery to work around the commotion. One such example being common sparrows which are disappearing from cities.

It is a sad reality that we are choosing honking over bird song. It may not be a conscious informed choice but at the end, honks are winning the fight against the birds.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Is God really happy?

There are thousands of different religions in the world and billions of people following them. Most of the religions believe that God created humans. So we worship God, we offer devotion and prayers, even sacrifices to God. The face of God changes across religions, but the basic construct doesn't change.

But God didn't just create humans. God created the whole universe...the sun, the planet, its land, air, water, every living thing starting from single cell organisms to plants and animals also. And He made sure all the creation is intertwined in a delicate balance in the entire ecosystem.

Every religion also talks about peace, harmony and love among all humans, because they are God's creations. But what about ALL of this creations, from plants to animals? Shouldn't peace and harmony extend to them as well? If harming or intending harm to another human being is a sin, how is harming a plant or animal acceptable?

How do you think God feels to see the abuse of His creations at the hands of the humans?

Sunday, 1 September 2019

The Gift of Time

Food, water, oxygen...the three essentials of life. We humans need them to survive and we need them constantly in moderate supply. Natural ecosystems are not only adapted to natural variability (seasonal or cyclical or spatial) in water supply in the form of rain or snow, in fact, most of the times they depend on it. However, the story is not so simple for humans.

Too much water supply can lead to flood, damaging property and causing loss of life. Too less water supply can lead to draught, damage to crops, water shortage in cities and industries. We cannot control rain or natural water supply, but over time, with our technological advancement, we have learned to control the natural water with dams and reservoirs.

However, climate change is disrupting rain patterns worldwide and it's changing fast. Where and when it rains and how much, is no longer dependent on season and hence not so easily predictable as before. As a result we don't have the time to adapt to the changes to maintain the moderate flow of water vital for our survival.

Given enough time (thousands of years) natural world will adapt to drastic changes in rain pattern as well. The question is, are human beings strong enough to adapt to such changes? This adaptation usually takes several generations. With the recent pace of climate change, will Humans be given so many generations to evolve? Or will human race perish even before the evolution starts?