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Showing posts with label Qualtiy water. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Qualtiy water. Show all posts

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Scenario 2030 - investing in a safe future.

The year 2030 – let’s call it the target year.
The target – to adequately adapt to a changing climate and a changing landscape.
Why 2030?
By then the world’s sea levels are expected to rise by about 1.37 meters. Today around 100 million people around the world live within 1 meter of the sea levels. This is number will only increase in the next couple of years.
The rising seas will pose a variety of problems both at the micro as well as the macro level.  Resettlement of the displaced population, ensuring and maintaining adequate security, law and order, disaster control etc. would challenge every government on the face of the earth. But the one problem that would most likely suffocate these governments into giving up is food security. You can read more about this in my book ‘Wake up Mangalore… or be damned!’
I was raised in a small coastal city surrounded by lush green paddy fields and coconut plantations. But today, I can hardly see this greenery.  This is the case in most countries – wherein the lucrative real estate rates are persuading farmers into selling their fertile agricultural land. The advent of technology however has kept the demand and supply gap more or less within controllable limits. But with an unpredictable weather looming large, soil patterns constantly changing and water availability fast decreasing – keeping this gap small is a challenge.
But we need not panic, as we have plenty of solutions at hand. The only thing that needs to change is our proactiveness in implementing them.
One such solution is agroforestry.
Agroforestry can be defined as the integration of crops and livestock systems with trees. If implemented scientifically it has the potential to allow the farmer to increase the efficiency of land use, boost yields and also help in increasing the ever decreasing carbon sink.
For a farmer – agroforestry has tremendous benefits. On farm trees (the right kind) help replenish nutrient deficient soil. This eliminates the necessity to use chemical fertilizers. These trees may also bear fruit that can be used locally and sold – adding to the farmer’s revenue. These trees may also provide fodder for the livestock reducing fodder costs. In total it is a win-win situation for a farmer.
Sadly, I have no agricultural land except for a small back yard. What much can I do?
Don’t get disheartened and give up! There is a lot we can do!
To begin with, plant a few indigenous fruit trees in your yard. Consider this as an investment you are making for your children. You could also invest in agroforestry schemes and contribute to NGOs undertaking such missions. Remember the biggest challenge our children will face is finding adequate quantity of nutritious food. And we have a golden opportunity here. Let’s not let this one pass!

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…………

Friday, August 30, 2013

Your health and climate change

There is a lot of noise these days about global warming and how it threatens to annihilate the human race. There are also numerous versions and theories both supporting and discrediting this. Before this catastrophic event occurs, there would exist a very long process of human suffering and torture at the hands of a merciless nature. If I may ask – what is the one thing that you wish to have till the end? While wealth would definitely be a priority, health would be the most important one. Good health brings happiness and happiness is the healthiest of human emotions. So before climate change wipes out our race, what suffering has it got at stake for us?

Global warming as the term suggests is causing an increase in the average surface temperature of the earth. Warmer surface temperatures would result in a variety of ill effects affecting people of all ages alike. A prolonged spell of hot weather, with high relative humidity and less cooler nights would induce severe heat related stress on elderly people, leading to death. 
Warmer surface temperatures would also cause an increase in the breeding rates of rodents and pests – which are disease carriers. There would be a decrease in the overall quality of water, as the microorganisms purifying this water would reduce their functioning as a result of a warmer climate. This would lead to an increase in water borne diseases. Warmer atmospheric conditions would result in an increase in ozone production. Ozone in the lower levels of the atmosphere is a pollutant and together with pollen would lead to deadly cases of respiratory diseases amongst the new born and the elderly.
Climate change is also going to influence our health through a number of indirect factors. Topping this list is – natural disasters. Climate change would result in numerous natural calamities often with devastating effects. Changing precipitation patterns coupled with a warmer atmosphere would result in longer dry spells with sudden heavy downpour causing annual flash floods. People living along the coasts would be forced to migrate due to rising sea levels and non-availability of fresh drinking water. People would also be force to relocate due to adverse weather conditions, land slides, earthquakes, increased volcanic activity and food availability. This mass relocation of people would instantly lead to a rise in the number of diseased population.
The second factor is the reduction in the quality of available fresh water. The United Nations Organization estimates that about one third of the world population would be deprived of quality drinking water by 2050. This would result in an increase in the spread of water related diseases. 
Another important factor is food scarcity. Changing soil patterns, failing monsoons, annual flash floods and increase in surface temperatures would result in large-scale crop failure. Lack of adequate food intake would result in further aggravation of the spread of diseases. Finally, scientists claim that there would be a hundred per cent rise in the occurrences of new incurable diseases, many of which (MERS, SARS, H1N5 etc.) are already causing wide spread panic.

The question we need to ask ourselves today is – where are we headed? Is this the future you want to live in? Is the future you want your children to grow up in?

It’s high time we make a choice and chose our alliances. Climate change and its catastrophic effects can be mitigated. A deep thought provoking approach must be initiated by every local and national government for this cause. People must be educated and enlightened. Governments must have a plan for its citizens. If we still chose to be ignorant and consider living foolishly, then we would simply suffer and die a painful death and our children would curse us for the gifts we have given them.

We can change the world! Let’s join together and act! Wake up!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Gifting your child a thirsty future?

As the famous English saying goes – “3 minutes without oxygen, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food”, water without a doubt is the fuel that drives life. From the beginning of time, water has been accorded a very special status by mankind and is considered holy in almost every religion on the face of this earth. But man has changed, so has his attitude. At a time when governments are spending millions searching for water on outer space (thus accepting the fact that water is a giver of life!), we humans along with our governments are simply destroying quality water on earth.

We all learnt in school that water covers most of the surface of the earth, but only a mere 2% of which is potable. Out of this nearly 60% is locked up as ice in mountain glaciers and polar icecaps. The ever increasing global temperatures are forcing these icecaps to fast melt and thus converting even this scarce source of fresh water into salt water. So where are we headed? Is the future going to be thirsty? And who is to blame?
Most of us live in cities and have access to potable water – good quality or not. Most of us are ignorant about the need to intake quality water. Lack of water purification facilities and rampant pollution of underground water (mainly due to poor sewage systems) is adding to these woos. And then there is the problem of unplanned, unethical, selfish and mindless drilling of bore wells. In Bangalore (India’s IT Capital), the depth of the bore wells have increased by nearly 500 feet in the past 5 years alone! The question is how deep can we go? And is there enough water down there?

Did you know that out of the 7 billion people inhabiting the earth, 783 million do not have access of good quality water? Did you know that about 3.4 million people die every year of water related diseases? Did you know that every 21 seconds a child dies due to lack of access of water?

So how is climate change going to worsen the situation? Well for starters, global warming induced sea level rise will reduce the availability of fresh water along the coasts by as much as 50%! (PS: 40% of the world’s population lives along the coasts). Changes in precipitation patterns will further aggravate the situation. Fast receding glaciers and ever decreasing mountain snow-pack would reduce the annual feed of perennial rivers. Failure of monsoons would lead to drought like situations even in areas considered water-rich. Scientists estimate that by 2050 nearly a third of the world’s population would be deprived of quality drinking water. Will I be on that list? Will our children be on that list?

Where are we headed folks? It’s a selfish world we live in and it is high time we wake up do something about it. 
The first question that you need to ask yourself – “Am I gifting my child a thirsty future?” No? Then please join hands and together we can ensure that our kids drink good water. Change begins at home. Be conscious about the use of water and encourage your neighbours to follow suit. But this is not enough. In developing countries like India, the poor sewage systems and lack of water recycling plants are fast reducing the quality of available ground water by mixing of sewage in it. Therefore the need of the hour is to pressurize the government servants and elected representatives into ensuring the purity of the already scarce ground water. Every parent must come together and ensure that the water bodies in their localities are devoid of pollution. Elected representatives must be put to task and questioned when they come begging for votes during the elections. What we need is a revolution like the Arab spring to secure the quality drinking water.
It’s a selfish world we live in, but if we truly love our children, then we cannot afford to be selfish. Change begins at home. Wake up!