Saturday, 19 October 2019

Footfall


The highest mountain on earth above sea level, Mount Everest, witnessed first documented human footfall only in 1953. It's been a little over 50 years, and already environmentalists are concerned about the amount of garbage accumulated in the area around base camp and all the way to the summit.

Our oceans are now full of garbage. Millions of marine life die every year due to plastic and chemical pollution in the ocean. Estimates say that by 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish, killing even higher number of animals every year. Scientists have found evidence of plastic pollution in the deepest parts of the ocean, a few kilometers below sea level.

There is a notion that says 'human footfall' is the reason for environmental degradation in most of the places. And places that don't get much human footfall are pristine, untouched by human activities. This is no longer true as every farthest reaches of the planet is now affected by us.

There is very limited human habitation in and around the polar regions. With almost permanent ice cover and permafrost, this area is devoid of any agricultural activity. But there have been evidence of very high pesticide concentration (through biomagnification) in the top predators of even these regions.

It is important to understand the immediate and long term impact of our actions then only we will be able to continue to survive.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Best Companions


We hear a lot of cases where children don't look after their parents when they are old. Older generation always feels lonely and forgotten. We also hear about incidents where parents abandon their kids. Many instances show us that faith in other human beings is detrimental while on the other hand if we befriend animals or plants, they are the best companions.

It is said that dogs are human's best friends. Many dog owners consider their pets to be their children. And these children, don't just give us pure joy and happiness, they give us unconditional love for as long as they are alive. We become their whole world. They can't talk, but with their cute eyes, licks & barks and waggling tails, they convey that we are their whole world and how happy we make them everyday.

There are a number of indoor plants which become droopy if they don't get enough water. As if they are sad to be ignored for so long. But the moment they get water again, they bounce back happy, as if to say thanks for taking care of us.

When we come back home from work, the happiness that our dogs get to see us is so pure, so unadulterated. The gratitude these plants show after we water them is so satisfying. We as a species have achieved a lot, but may have lost some simple but precious things along the way. Unlike the dogs and the plants, humans many times fail to offer unconditional love.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Evenings


Evenings
There is something about evenings

Loud Reds
With bright orange and excited yellows

Sadness
Sun sets to make way for moon rise

Contradictions
Of lost chances and waiting opportunities

Evenings
There is something about evenings

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Next Time? Or Not!!!


When I visited Indonesia, I saw what a beautiful country it is. Indonesia is blessed with so much natural beauty, incredible wildlife and cultural diversity. There are places or islands hardly known to the outside world with serene, untouched nature.

Komodo island, the home for vulnerable Komodo dragons, the biggest lizards in the world is not just fascinating due to its unusual wildlife. The island also has rusty volcanoes, pristine beaches and forests. The island and its unusually large inhabitants weren't even known to the outside world until a few decades back. But once it was known, there was no stopping thrill seeking humans. With steep increase in tourists all over the world, came all the negative effects of human intervention.

The dragons are endemic to the island. The island is their critical habitat. There are only about 4000 of the dragons remain in the wild. Too much tourism has disturbed their habitat so much that now Indonesian government is thinking of closing the island to all humans for sometime. The time is to allow the ecosystem to heal itself and revive.

I didn't visit Komodo island when I went to Indonesia. But I thought, there can always be a next time. Now I am not so sure anymore. But I hope the Indonesian government's efforts pay off and at least some day I see a thriving Komodo dragon population.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

The Price of Convenience


Nothing on this planet has ever been independent of nature. From the beginning of time, humans had been coexisting with nature respectfully. Our ancestors lived in nature, with nature, changing and adapting their lifestyle as per natural processes. They were the indigenous people of the land. Many of them were nomadic, to adjust their livelihood with natural cycles. When it was too cold, they moved to a hotter place, when the water sources dried up, they moved to a place where it was raining and when food sources depleted, they moved to a place full of natural resources.

But this moving around wasn't too 'convenient' for many of our ancestors. So the modern societies modified its surroundings endlessly. They changed the environment, poisoned the air, water, soil, meddled with natural processes. In return these modern societies don't have to move around anymore. But is it really for better? What if our water dries up now or our food sources deplete? How long before we are forced to move, just like our nomadic ancestors. 

The intricate relationship with nature gifted these indigenous communities with valuable experiences, knowledge passed on from generation to generation through stories and cultural practices, which is now globally recognized as invaluable tool for environmental management which our science and technology failed to achieve with all its sophistication.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Our choice


Human beings have always had difficulty prioritizing, the things we want vs things we need. Look at our perception of the beauty of flowers.

A lot of times, fashion tries to replicate this beauty of nature. But how can something as transient as fashion trends compare with the vulnerable beauty of a blooming flower? But in our lives, that's what we chase, we chase the fashion trends and miss out on the beauty of the nature all around us.

The thing is what we want, do we want to enrich our lives by understanding this beauty and cherishing it or running behind the momentary joys of our consumeristic lives.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Part 4: Hydraulic Fracking - Conclusion


Part 4: Hydraulic Fracking - Conclusion:

A technology that is regarded as ground breaking can quickly turn into a disaster shattering the ground of human existence. How confident are we about our technology? Scary thing is, the smartest scientists are much less confident than us common people.

According to Dr Anthony Ingraffea (Cornell University), a pioneer in hydraulic fracturing, "We are going to risk our property values, our water, our air, our health... exacerbate climate change, and what do we get out of this? We lose what we have, we lose why we live here"

Our knowledge is not perfect, in fact it is highly inadequate. Available research, however inadequate, already shows that the process can cause irreversible damage to human health and environment. And most likely the price of cleaning up the negative effects could be several times higher than the profits earned.

There are many more examples of such disasters. Our lack of knowledge and reluctance to act, inspired by the potential to profit often leads us to create irreversible damage to our environment. We are not above environment, and we will never be. The question is how much of such abuse can the environment endure? Luxury, capitalism and consumerism have led to such high demand for fossil fuel. But what is the price that we are paying to get this fuel out of the ground? We can survive with fewer cars, but can we survive without fresh water or clean air?

P.S - Environmental concerns have reached more places than we have. The picture doesn't show fracking. Picture shows fresh water sources that are critical to our existence.

Source: Shattered Ground by Leif Kaldor