google-site-verification: google40171d3e54329fb2.html Google+
Showing posts with label Catastrophe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Catastrophe. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What if you get paid for every tree you plant?

At a time when global warming seems irreversible; at a time when an ever changing climate threatens the well-being of the most intelligent species on this planet; at a time when we increasingly notice the callous attitude of our leaders towards this issue (as in Warsaw) and at a time when the future looks grim and options few – we are confronted with a question: “What can we do?”

Plant a tree!

In India year after year we celebrate a unique festival called Vanamahotsava. Famously acclaimed as the festival of life – the intent behind it is to encourage natural conservation amongst the next generation. Schools all over the country celebrate this by planting saplings, donating saplings to students, holding awareness campaigns and drives, taking up causes etc. Indeed a remarkable imitative in its inception. Similar festivals and events are organized by various charities and NGOs around the world. TV channels, newspapers and websites cover these events; foundations and governments award prizes in recognition to the leaders and a lot of public support rallies behind them. A novel cause indeed.

Statistics indicate that the tree cover on this earth is exponentially decreasing. A simple conclusion from the previous statement – the rate of tree felling is much higher compared to the rate of replanting. Every country has legislation regarding felling of trees and afforestation. Most of these are sadly not implemented. Lack of interest? Lack of motivation? Lack of fear? After all they are trees – why should I care? Even if I give a damn, what do I get in return?

The rate of deforestation is only going to move up the vertical spiral in the years to come. Can it be stopped? I guess not. But can we undo the damage? Of course we can!
The Vanamahotsava, NGO and foundations planting trees, the afforestation programs on a small scale are all wonderful initiatives that unfortunately aren't enough.  So here’s the plan – we take this movement to a whole new level. We take it to every village, town and city on the face of this earth. But wait a minute – what will motivate people to sign up, especially in villages (most of which are ridden with poverty and illiteracy)?
What if I say – we will pay you royalty for every sapling you plant right from day one?

To be continued…………

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Climate change and its impacts on a religious epicenter!

The Ganges – the magnificent symbol of culture, fertility, prosperity and civilization, on whose banks has much of India grown, developed and prospered. This 2500 kilometer long river has the water that is considered sacred by the nearly 800 million Hindus that live around the world. Its origins: the largest glacier in the Himalayas – the gangothri.

The Gangothri glacier in the form of the Ganges forms the lifeline of Nepal, much of North India and entire Bangladesh. This mammoth river apart from being the lifeline of this region is an important constituent of India’s rich mythological history and culture. Now it’s a well-known and a much ignored fact that the Ganges today is polluted beyond repair. Let’s not get into that. But what we will discuss is the much bigger problem that may eventually shut down the entire Ganges! Can you imagine such a scenario? Scary isn't it?

The ever increasing global temperatures due to global warming have begun to take a toll on this holy glacier. Scientists from around the world first started studying this glacier and its behavior in the mid nineteenth century. Around the year 1960 it was observed that the glacier was shrinking at an alarming rate of 26 meters a year! But what shocked the scientific community is what came next – by the year 2006, the shrinkage rate was 800 meters a year!
Throughout the Himalayas more such glaciers are continuously melting. While this may have some short term benefits like an increase in the fresh water flow in the rivers, the long term impacts are often disastrous. For example, the continuous melting of the Himalayan glaciers has resulted in the formation of numerous small lakes. We are aware of the fact that climate change is increasing the global precipitation rates. Imagine a cloud burst on these small lakes.  Would we be seeing at an Uttarakhand part two?

The Himalayan glaciers and the Ganges are important religious and cultural centers of India. The Amaranth Yaatra which nearly 700,000 pilgrims undertake to witness and pray to Lord Shiva in the form of an Ice Shivalinga speaks marvels of the importance attached to these holy mountains and their ice.  However, the as per the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report 2007, Himalayan glaciers are at risk of disappearing by the year 2035 if the Earth continues to warm at its current rate!
Imagine these glaciers disappear by 2035? Will there be an Amaranth Yaatra left? What about the Ganges and the fertile plains that it nourished all these years? What about the billion people depended on this water?

Wake up earthizen. Time is running out! Lord Shiva may have come down from the heavens to save us then! But why would he? We destroyed and ruined the very place where he explained the meaning of eternity? And that very place would cause our doom! What an irony!
True isn't it?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rising temper - blame it on climate change!

Are you increasingly turning out to be short tempered? Are your children becoming increasingly arrogant and violent? Is your relationship with your partner being hurt due to silly fights? Are people on the road tending to argue / fight for trivial reasons?
Have you ever pondered over these questions? 
No? , then please pause for a movement, close your eyes and think about your experiences. Are humans slowly turning out to be more violent?

Researchers from the University of California Berkeley recently published a paper in the journal Science, in which they suggest that humans may become more hostile as global temperatures rise. Their suggestion was based on strong evidence linking the recent regional conflicts and climatic changes. One of the most classic example of which is the fact that changes in the local weather pattern coupled by an acute shortage of wheat largely fueled the Arab Spring.
The researchers assumed an average increase of four degrees Fahrenheit and concluded that humans would do little or nothing to adapt, but simply turn violent and perish! The study also claims that occurrences of human and inter-group conflicts would increase by fifty per cent by 2050. We already know that humans would turn to cannibalism when climate change causes a food crisis, but would needless violence predate this by decades? Is the recent turmoil in the Middle East, the rising number of rapes in India, increasing terror related violence in Pakistan, the occupy wall-street movement in the west and the anti-government protests in China and Russia just the beginning?

Yes, the occurrences of such events will increase exponentially, but no government will understand the real reason behind them and take steps to mitigate climate change. This can be comparable to the attitude of the governments during the sixties when the first research linking cancer and cigarette smoking was published. Since scientists could not explain the exact phenomenon linking the two, every major government in the world chose to ignore it. The same is the case with this research. While our elected representatives time and again choose to simply betray us, the mammoth task of protecting our future and that of our children is in our hands. 

If you are a parent reading this, please pause and ask yourself – Is this the future you want your child to experience? I am sure your answer is no. But you would also immediately express your helplessness about the issue. After all what can an ordinary person like me do? Well, you are no ordinary person. You are an earthizen. And every earthizen has the moral responsibility to protect nature and the right to make decisions regarding this. We all live in a selfish world – where everything within my house in important. But nature has no boundaries, and therefore let’s not be selfish about this! Change begins at home. Start leading a greener life. Educate and encourage your neighbours to follow suit. You can start a revolution! Go for it!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The six degrees unto death

Global Warming- not a new phrase right?
While our world leaders are politicizing it and scientists are shouting 'crisis', and we honorable earthizens are sitting silent digging our own grave. We are a simple bunch of uneducated folk - who simply do not make any attempts to learn and explore. Its human nature to be so. But the situation is grim and time is fast running out. We have to wake up and rise.

"There should have been panic on the streets,"
 says Mark Lynas in his book, Six Degrees, "people shouting from the rooftops, statements to parliament and 24-hour news coverage." . It's a very serious problem we are dealing with.

In an article titled"Acceleration of global warming due to carbon-cycle feed-backs in a coupled climate model", published in November 2000 in the scientific journal Nature - the UK Met Office’s Hadley Center for Climate Change, rings the loudest possible alarm bells. In layman's language, Hadley simply expresses its helplessness, while calling for an immediate response to this problem . According to this report, nature itself would become increasingly uncomfortable and would turn violent. There would be unpredictable changes in the weather patterns, which at first would be less violent and the latter would even turn fatal. Acute shortage of food and quality drinking water would plague the world and man would be forced to even turn to cannibalism! It would be an absolutely lawless world, filled with misery and grief, until nature finally pulls the plug.

It's human tendency to accept and understand only the facts that please us. Global warming sadly is one of those unpleasant facts. Mark Lynas states "The end of the world is nigh, and it's already been published in Nature."  Therefore it is essential for us to first understand the implications of our actions, effects of climate change and then try and implement a few proven solutions. As step one towards our learning process, let us understand the gradual changes that are going to happen around us, as global temperatures rise .
1c Increase - Ice free Sea absorbs more heat and accelerates global warming; fresh water lost from a third of the world's surface; low-lying coastlines flooded.
2c Increase - Europeans dying of heatstroke; forests ravaged by fire; stressed plants beginning to emit carbon rather than absorbing it; a third of all species face extinction.
3c Increase - Carbon release from vegetation and soils speeds global warming; death of the Amazon rain forest; super-hurricanes hit coastal cities; starvation in Africa.
4c Increase - Runaway thaw of permafrost makes global warming unstoppable; much of Britain made uninhabitable by severe flooding; Mediterranean region abandoned.
5c Increase - Methane from ocean floor accelerates global warming; ice gone from both poles; humans migrate in search of food and try vainly to live like animals off the land.
6c Increase - Life on Earth ends with apocalyptic storms, flash floods, hydrogen sulfide gas and methane fireballs racing across the globe with the power of atomic bombs; only fungi survive.

I assume this brief prediction sums it all. It’s a selfish world we live in, filled with ignorant and stubborn people. On an international level a lot of tantrums are thrown by world leaders about the steps that they would take (at a time of their convenience) and how through these steps they would be saviors of mankind. But the reality is – any government that tries to push towards policy reforms concerning climate change is isolated internationally. The best example is that of Ecuador – which recently gave up its vows to prevent drilling in the pristine Yasuni National Park. 
You may now wonder – why don’t the world leaders act? And why aren't the big business houses that control these world leaders pushing them to act?

The answer is extremely simple. Two per cent of the world’s population (comprising of these business and world leaders who in-turn control 98% of the wealth), have already invested in technology that would probably transport them to another planet, where they would live safely. What about the rest? Oh yes, we are the fools living in this selfish world.
It’s high time we open up our eyes and understand the truth. Let us all join hands and fight to secure a future for our children.

(For a more in-depth analysis of how the world leaders are out to destroy us and what can be done to save ourselves, please read my book Shall we save the Earth?)