Saturday, 28 September 2019

Humans are Strange

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said:

Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health."

The way we take health for granted same way we behave with nature. We assume it will continue to support us and nourish us even as we continue to exploit and disrupt it.

We are focusing on economic gains and ignoring the impact it will have on the environment. All across the world, we are facing issues of air, water, food pollution and living a healthy and happy life may soon be a distant memory. The way we are raging war for the oil, we will soon be making war over water.

Dalai Lama was right, humans are strange. 

Friday, 27 September 2019

Green Birthday Celebration

Birthday is for spoiling our loved ones. Not only with love and care but with lots of gifts also. But it doesn't necessarily have to be for spoiling the environment too.

Over consumption by a section of the society is one of the biggest reasons for environmental degradation in our generation. Consumer goods companies come up with new schemes and offers to lure us to consume more, even if it is not needed.

After years of extravagant spending to celebrate birthdays, we are celebrating a complete green birthday this year, by setting up our very own indoor garden. No waste, no more unnecessary indulgence or buying something only to never use it. Only new life, new color, fresh air and lots of excitement. This is a gift which won't break our bank. This will only keep on giving, more and more as it grows in front of us. 

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Apex Predators

Balance in an ecosystem is extremely important to ensure proper nutrient flow through food. In a healthy ecosystem, the foodchain is a pyramid. Species in the lower trophic levels exist in large numbers and provide food and nutrition to those in higher levels. The higher level species keep the lower level population from growing uncontrollably through predation. Those in higher levels have smaller population (because one predator needs many preys to survive) and their population is controlled through limitation of food source. This control mechanism is the key to any healthy ecosystem.

Apex predators sit at the top of the foodchain. By controlling prey population, they control the integrity of the entire ecosystem. Loss of the apex predator is one of the biggest challenges facing many national parks in the world right now. Some national parks like Yellowstone in US have already faced the consequences of complete loss of the apex predator, grey wolves. The only option to stop a complete ecosystem collapse was to reintroduce wolves in Yellowstone.

The threats are similar for tiger reserves in India as well. We should take all possible measures to save these beautiful apex predators before it's too late. In Yellowstone, it was possible to reintroduce wolves by translocating them from other regions. With less than 3000 wild tigers in India left, we may not even have that luxury.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Snaily Trail

Have you seen a trail of a snail? I have always been fascinated by it, how it leaves an imprint on its journey, its slime marking its path. Isn't that what every human being wants to do, make a mark on this universe?

Sadly that's what we are doing, we are leaving a trail that can easily be followed, a trail of plastic. Everywhere we go, we leave a ton of garbage, most of it is plastic.

Humans have even exceeded the snail. Snail only marks where it has been but humans have left a plastic trail where they don't even inhabit. We can see plastic in the deep ocean and on top of mountains. We keep seeing photos of animals eating plastic or being injured because of it. We recently saw a trail of plastic on Himalayas.

This is what our legacy will be to the world, our mark to show that humans were here, our blazing trail of plastic.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Our not-so-logical-human world

I just heard about a four year old raped by her uncle and it made me question the world we are creating. A lot of talk has been about MeToo movement as well as Consent discussions. But at the end of it all, we keep hearing of women harassment.

But in a natural world, a female is the decision maker. The male has to win the female's attention and approval, often by extraordinary efforts, to be able to pass on the gene from one generation to the other. This simple idea of not just consent but acceptance is ingrained into the animals.

Are we humans smart enough to go to the moon but not smart enough to understand how important women are?

Monday, 23 September 2019

Cleaning Routine

Most of us have a cleaning routine for our houses. Keeping the house clean is not just important for our status in the society but also critical to our mental and physical health.

But what happens to the garbage we take out of our house? It goes into someone else's house. As some of the garbage can not be re-used, can not be recycled then it goes into landfills and ocean. Land becomes barren and oceans become kill zones for their own residents. Is that what we envision when we clean our house but pollute our environment?

In the end, the environment is our extended house. How long can we keep littering and expect to keep the garbage out of our house?

Sunday, 22 September 2019

When there is no alternative

Even if many governments and a very large section of general public have denied it over and over again; environmentalists, scientists have been raising their voice for the ill effects of climate change for a while now. Scientists say that climate change is not only real, its progressing faster than we ever expected. And to make matters worse, our knowledge of the scale and impact of climate change is still at a nascent stage.

Amazon rainforest not only produces 20% of earth's oxygen, it is also one of the biggest carbon sinks, removing excess carbon from the atmosphere and reducing temperature in the process. Steep increase in the number of fires in Amazon rainforest has raised a lot of concern all over the globe. As the forest is destroyed, carbon returns to the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide. There is only one more thing absorbing CO2 more than the mighty Amazon rainforest- the oceans. 

The ocean forests, kelp, phytoplankton and algae plankton absorb CO2 as a byproduct of photosynthesis. 

So one may assume that even if Amazon is being rapidly destroyed through deforestation, fire etc; we still have no reason to panic. We still have our oceans to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere for us. Unfortunately, that's not true. 

The ocean's capacity to absorb CO2 decreases as the surface water temperature or atmospheric temperature increases due to global warming. Lesser carbon absorption will lead to higher carbon build up in the atmosphere increasing temperature further and creating a positive feedback loop. 

The only viable solution to this mayhem is efforts to reduce climate change!!