Counting our Gifts...

If you have noticed, when you wake up early in the morning, there is a pleasant music of Nature that is playing in the backyard. Yes, there is chatter of birds, chirping of crickets or croaking of frogs, even in cities like Mumbai. We hear them everyday; may be that’s why we tend to ignore it. But there are some areas in the developed world where it is deathly silent. Want to know why it is so..?

Pure air, Solar energy and fresh water are known to be our resources. I need not tell you the pollution of Air and Water taking place all round the globe. Everything..from pesticides to our daily drainage, our devoted offerings to Deities (Nirmalya, as called in India) to heavy loads of cosmetics used in make-up..everything ultimately reaches to our sacred rivers and then to ocean. All our deeds have made the water of rivers so unfit for use that we have to spend crores to make it suitable for consumption.

Some might say, "We never throw anything harmful into river. Then why we are forced to pay for water purification in the form of taxes?"

Yes, you might have never ever used pesticides or cosmetics (?). But, being a consumer, you must be using numerous products which are manufactured in industries. Take for example, Paper manufacturing company or a Thermo-electric power plant. I am not trying to criticise anybody or any company here. All I want to say is ultimately, its all of us, Humans, who are responsible for these pollutions. There N number of industries or companies which are disposing the harmful chemical by-products into rivers or emitting disastrous gases in the atmosphere without any pre-treatment.

So I will say the taxation is justified! But here We are taking all the living organisms in water for granted. We are paying in currency, but forcing them to pay in the form of their lives; and that's too for our deeds. In Nashik, we have example of Nasardi. Surprised? Yes, it used to be a fresh water river few decades back, harbouring many fishes & other organisms. But now it is being converted into a Nala (river of dirty water) in which only disease spreading mosquitoes or like can develop. Its our loss too as we lost a source of fresh water.

Same applies for Air. As the cities increased in size, air pollution increased exponentially. With less food available for birds, they have to migrate to countryside. But their too, we have fields sprayed with poisonous pesticides; further contributing to decreasing the number of birds. Similarly insects, amphibians, reptiles have decreased tremendously in numbers in last decade, especially in developed countries.

Thank God we couldn’t yet deteriorate the solar energy, which is an energy source for life on Earth. But still there are reports of declining soil fertility from various parts of the world. To understand this, we must now look at another of the Earth’s basic resources, the soil. The top soil contains loads of micro-organisms, ranging from algae to earthworms. They all are essential component of soil. The action-interaction of these micro-organisms help in enriching the soil with number of macro- and micro-nutrients. The soil won't be fertile if we lose these creatures. And that's what is taking place. The pesticides & herbicides won't differentiate in 'good' insects/micro-organisms and 'bad' ones. Its spraying kills them all. It also been reported & proved that the traces, usually in increased concentrations, of these poisonous pesticides are found in the soil even after 5 years; though rain water keeps on washing them into the water streams, contaminating the the aquatic life too!

Water, soil and Earth’s green mantle of plants make up the world that supports the animal life of the Earth. Although we, modern man seldom remember the fact, we could not exist without the plants that harness the sun’s energy and manufacture the basic foodstuffs he depends upon for life. Our attitude towards plants and other organisms is singularly narrow one.

The problem is, We do not adjust or change according to Nature. We try to change Nature according to us. Actually speaking, Nature has everything to sustain and balance the life..enough for man's need, not for man's greed! But one thing we have to keep in mind, if we want our future generations to live here peacefully and prosperously, then we have to share this world with all living organisms. After all, its their world too!

'But how?'

For starters, lets have a look at our roadsides or field borders. Usually we do not allow growth of wild shrubs & climbers there, do we? Especially in some parts of urban societies. Generally, though known as weeds, these shrubs & climbers are not invasive at all. Of course they usually accompanied by real weeds too, but this doesn't mean that we should remove them also. We can't ignore the beautiful flowers they bear, which also provide food for bees and insects. These insects, so essential to our agriculture, deserve something better from us than the senseless destruction of their habitat. There is obviously more to the wish to preserve our roadside vegetation than even mere aesthetic considerations. In the economy of Nature, the natural vegetation has its essential place. Hedgerows along country roads and bordering fields provide food, cover and nesting areas for birds and homes for many small animals. But their destruction is justified by their bad company. How could some intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death to their own kind? To destroy the homes and the food of wildlife is perhaps worse in the long run than direct killing.

You can definitely search other ways to if you wish keeping water-baths, food for birds or so. Keep your eyes wide open and you will certainly find the way.

If we look at the history of life on Earth, it has been a history of interaction between living things and their surroundings. The origin of Life on Earth is dated 3.8 billion years back while that of first human 2 million years ago, according to scientists. If we consider this era from the start of life on Earth till today as 1 hour. Then calculations tell that we, humans have come here just 1.89 seconds before! All other organisms like insects, fish, plants, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds etc have been here since eons of time, a way before humans. So we are new-comers here. But look at the hell around we have created for the other living organisms. They, certainly do not deserve this!

It took hundreds of millions of years to produce the life that now inhabits the Earth - eons of time in which that developing and evolving and diversifying life reached a state of adjustment and balance with its surroundings. Given time – time not in years but in millenniums – life adjusts and a balance has been reached. For time is the essential ingredient; but in the modern world, there is no time!

Do You wish to change the perspective to look at our environment and its inhabitants???

Let us join hands...

Ever thought, why everyone is talking about Global Warming? What are these Greenhouse gases? Why there is so much rise in Tree Plantation Campaigns? Why Green has become the catchy & coolest colour around the world? If not, I am sure you must have thought about the increasing incidents of droughts, sun-strokes, cloud-bursts, floods, land-slides and number of deaths associated with it.

After just three years from Al Gore's documentary film An Inconvenient Truth was released, we are facing the unstable and extreme climatic conditions. In recent years, we have seen record temperatures on every continent. Animals and insects are changing their migratory patterns. Invasive species and insects such as malaria-carrying mosquitoes are spreading into new territories. Glaciers in the arctic regions, on Mount Everest in Asia, on Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya, Mount Fuji in Japan and throughout Europe & Americas, are melting, causing the world’s oceans to rise. People in small island nations in the Pacific Ocean have already been forced to abandon their homes. The death toll from floods and mudslides rises every year.

The worst thing is as ocean temperatures increase, coral reefs die, hurricanes increase in frequency and strength and weather patterns change. Droughts and floods are more common than ever before. Global surface temperature has increased by about 0.74 °C (1.33 °F) during the 20th century. This much of increase of temperature in the lower troposphere is resulting in unstable climate we are facing nowadays. Imagine, how much this condition will worsen if we continue to destroy & pollute our nature. If the temperature continues to rise, the impact will be significant..

Here is a anticipated statistic.. If temperature increases by -
2°C: Coral reefs will become extinct,
+3°C: Rainforests will turn to desert,
+4°C: Melting ice caps will displace billions of people
+5°C: Sea levels will rise by five to nine metres.
And then a day will come when it will be impossible for us to breathe also; forget about food & water!

Deforestation and Climate Change are intimately connected. Globally, deforestation releases nearly 2 billion tons of Carbon dioxide per year and is responsible for nearly 25% of man-made CO2 emissions. The destruction of the world's forests not only harms the wildlife and communities that depend on them, but increasingly affects us all. As lands are cleared, releasing carbon into the atmosphere - more carbon but less trees to remove it. Introducing all this formerly-stored carbon into the atmosphere, with no corresponding mechanism to take it back out, has also contributed to the current high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. And these are not my imaginary thoughts! Search web.. Internet is loaded with such information.

We, the Indians, also are not behind. In our hunger for wood, more then 44 million hectares of forests have been felled since Independence, making this country a land with one of the lowest areas under forest cover as compared to total land available.

Every year, the equivalent of 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide enters the global atmosphere, the result of the ever increasing use of fossil fuel. This increase in atmospheric carbon, in combination with the loss of forests has made global climate change worse. Global food security is declining, as is the world's supply of safe drinking water. Unfortunately air pollution does not respect international boundaries! So soon or later, we all are going to suffer.

'Who cares?'
'In no way, we are related to this!' Some might think. Then just have a look at these statistics..
Since the year 1997, according to Government figures, over 150000 farmers have committed suicide and even more have left farming in India, due to unstable monsoon & droughts as one of the main reason. Maharashtra alone accounts for 20% of the total number of the deaths. It is estimated that, on average, one Indian farmer committed suicide every 32 minutes between 1997 and 2005. Think.. The producer is suffering today; tomorrow We, being the consumer, certainly will..!

Droughts and land degradation are not purely natural calamities. They are proven to be the result of a process of systematic neglect of the rain-fed lands and people depending on them. The continued erosion of the productive capacity of the natural resources in the rain-fed regions has made these sections of the population much more vulnerable to the vagarious climate.

I need not tell you about the cutting & killing of trees occurring in Nashik. And this is occurring all around the planet at an alarming rate. Trees are markedly decreasing in numbers and are replaced by concrete jungle. How many trees, do you think, are cut around the world? Believe it or not, but between three to six billion per year! And for what purpose? To make up for the world demand of wood, paper, furniture and other wooden products! Trust me, this is just one aspect out of number of others which are causing detrimental and disastrous effects on our environment.

Everyone loves to talk about the climate crisis. But talking alone is not going to stop lands from degrading, glaciers from melting, sea-levels from rising or the rain-forests from disappearing. We have to do something to stop it. For starters, let us plant native trees and decrease the use/demand of wooden products. It's the simple, only, effective way to reduce & offset the carbon emission caused by us! It's a permanent way to impregnate the soil of the degraded land!!!

Because a large tree inhales 20.3 kg of CO2 in a year and exhales enough oxygen for a family of four for a year. If the native trees are planted, nurtured and not cut, there is a ray of hope for ALL OF US :-)

Remember, when there is a war raging, it is impossible to stay out of it.
One day the war will get to You...