Environment Awareness

I=PAT

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 23, 2007

 
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The organized environmental movement has been almost totally ineffective at protecting the environment since the mid 1980s. 

 

The big groups have been successful at protecting some resources in certain regions—staving off the drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge and gaining more wilderness designation in the Green Mountain National Forest are two notable successes in the U.S.A—but in terms of protecting the major ecosystems and the general environment, they have largely failed.

 

There are many other environmental crises including loss of species diversity, loss of natural resources like wetlands and forests, and the collapse of ocean fisheries. 

A large coalition of environmental groups in 1970 endorsed a resolution stating that, “population growth is directly involved in the pollution and degradation of our environment—air, water and land—and intensifies physical, psychological, social, political and economic problems to the extent that the well-being of individuals, the stability of society and our very survival are threatened.”

The connection between population growth and the environment is perhaps best expressed through what is known as the foundation formula or the environmental impact equation,

I=PAT.

What this says is that any environmental impact is the result of three factors; the size of the population, the affluence or wealth of that population and the technology or type of consumption that the population spends its wealth on.

What has happened is that environmental organizations have disregarded the population part of the equation and focused almost entirely on the technology part of the equation, be it driving more fuel-efficient cars or encouraging “smart growth.”

 Source: The Environmental Magazine

http://www.emagazine.com/view/?3734

 

 

Environment Awareness

Jal Satyagraha Launnched in Delhi

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 21, 2007

 
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Yamuna is in danger and no single organization or person can handle 
this. Everybody in Delhi has to come together to tackle its problems.
Instead of laying a concrete jungle, we should build a natural jungle of
10,000 hectares on the flood plain of the river. The people should help
in reviving recharge structures and distributaries of the river. The
Ridge should be declared as a recharge zone and the baolis and talaabs
that existed there should be restored. The ghats on the Yamuna should
also be restored.


The Jal Satyagraha 2007 was also launched at the event. It aims to raise
awareness among school and college children. It will create awareness in
both rural and urban India on the optimal use of water and need to
recharge to groundwater. The Satyagraha will work with media to raise
public awareness on water-related issues. It will advocate water as a
basic human right and hold camps in different states. The campaign will
also discourage people from using bottled water and drinking soft
drinks. Lastly, it will work to stop the privatization of rivers and
other water sources.
Source:owsa@oneworld.net

Environment Awareness

Plant pesticides in Kerala

Posted by Susan Sharma on March 26, 2007

 
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It all began two years ago when hundreds of butterflies perished at Muthalamada in Palakkad district of Kerala. The butterflies’ holocaust was followed by the unusual death of cattle in the area. Then came reports that several children were mentally retarded or crtically ill. The situation was somewhat akin to Swarga in Kasargod where similar cases were recorded after indiscriminate spraying of endosulfan on cashew plantations.

WPSI was the first to raise alarm following the death of butterflies. A health survey of residents within a five-km radius of Muthalamada, found that genetic disorders were prevalent in children born in the past five years and they were susceptible to cancer, kidney trouble and respiratory ailments. All of them were living close to plantations that had been sprayed with endosulfan.

Though endosulfan is banned in Palakkad, it is clandestinely obtained from neighbouring towns in Tamil Nadu. To stop such clandestine sprayings, environmental groups are demanding a complete ban on endosulfan all over India. All the same, there is no conclusive medical evidence that endosulfan is behind the maladies of the residents.

When it comes to environment and health of people, isn’t it time we acted on possible causes of harm rather than wait for conclusive evidence?

(Source: The Week, April 2, 2007)

Environment Awareness

Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh

Posted by Susan Sharma on January 30, 2007

 
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The number of sick birds, both wild and domesticated, continues to mount at the Sukhna lake in Chandigarh,   with the UT wildlife department rescuing a large egret and a domesticated goose on Monday. While the egret showed signs of weak legs and was unable to fly, the goose was on the verge of collapse displaying sign of shivering and a drooping neck.


With Monday’s rescue operation, the number of sick domesticated geese which live near the Lake Club has gone up to four. Twelve migratory wild birds have died since January 13 out of which the UT Wildlife department has managed to recover only nine, with two Spotbill ducks and a likely wood sandpiper going missing within hours of their discovery in the Sukhna marshes on January 13.


Along with the rescue operations, a team of expert bird trappers of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) netted a Greylag goose, a Coot and a Northern Shovellor for blood sampling. The samples from a Ruddy Shelduck (Brahminny duck) trapped on Monday by Ali Hussain have been sent to the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratary at Jalandhar.


BNHS veterinarian Dr Debojit Das, who examined the sick geese, said, "The birds were displaying symptoms of a nervine disorder that is common to avian diseases like botulisim and cholera. This means the birds’ functioning is affected by a nervous disorder that reveals itself in symptoms like it going in circles or trying to look skywards.

Water pollution in Sukhna could be a possible cause. Dead storage level and pollution level in the Lake has been rising.

UT Wildlife Department might have acted fast in the matter concerning the death of migratory birds, but it is yet to explore the role of Sukhna’s water in the rising mortality of birds. Water quality of the Lake, experts in water conservation area say, might have solutions to the mystery behind the death and sickness among the flocking birds. Very often, fall in the levels of dissolved oxygen in water has been found to cause bird mortality.

In case of Sukhna, therefore, testing of water samples is an absolute necessity. Over the past, pollution levels in the Lake have raised rapidly on account of several reasons, main being the rise in dead storage level of the Lake. Dead storage level is the level below which water cannot be drained out of the Lake. Water present below this level is always highly polluted because it gets saturated with toxic elements and gets devoid of dissolved oxygen present in water.

The same might be true in case of Sukhna Lake where dead storage level currently stands at elevation -- EL 1151 feet. There was a time when the level was 1148 feet, but the same has risen over the past due to increase in water level of the Lake by three feet. Naturally, more and more water under the dead storage level would have become concentrated, making it unhealthy for aquatic life.

Another reason why Sukhna’s water has become highly polluted is that the Lake’s spill away gates were last opened in the monsoon season of 2005. That is more than one and a half years earlier. During 2006, there was no escape of water from the Lake at all. This has led to increased level of toxicity in the water and this toxicity, in turn, could cause sickness and death among birds, unless detected otherwise.

Admitting to the possibility of water pollution behind the death of birds, Mr G.S. Dhillon, water resources expert, said a similar problem had once arisen in Harike Lake. "In certain pockets of the Lake, migratory birds were found dying without apparent symptoms. We sampled the waters from those pockets and sent them to Irrigation and Power Research Institute at Amritsar for testing. We found that water was so toxic and so deprived of oxygen that no aquatic or any other form of life could exist. For years, decaying organic matter had caused the absence of dissolved oxygen in water, leading to death of birds. Finally, water had to be pumped out of the Lake and fresh water introduced."

The same institute can be asked to conduct water sample testing of Sukhna.
 
SOURCE : The Tribune, Monday, January 29, 2007  and Times of India, Tuesday, January 30, 2007 

Environment Awareness

The West - Return to more environfriendly travel?

Posted by Susan Sharma on January 25, 2007

 
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Our transportation choices obviously have a major impact on the environment, so what can we do to lessen our impact on the planet and reduce our dependence on oil?

The Federal Transit Agency(USA) reports, “Americans lose more than 1.6 million hours a day stuck in traffic. Without transit, the nation’s $40 billion in annual traffic congestion losses would be $15 billion higher. In fact, if all the Americans who take transit to work decided to drive, their cars would circle the Earth with a line of traffic 23,000 miles long.”

Long-distance trains, so-called “heavy rail,” are making a comeback, despite setbacks. Amtrak in USA, as a whole has lost about $25 billion since it was created in 1971, a staggering sum until you consider the $40 billion annually spent on highways.

Rapid-transit ferries can compete with cars in commuting times. The city of Sydney, Australia, for instance, makes major use of ferryboat commuting, as does Hong Kong, Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. There are some environmental problems and some cost issues with ferries, but, overall, when you have feasible water routes, it’s a great mode of transport.

Biking is also gaining in popularity, for health, for its environmental benefits and to eliminate auto-related costs. The National Personal Transportation Survey found that approximately 40 percent of all trips are less than two miles in length—which represents a 10-minute bike ride or a 30-minute walk. Fifty-four percent of all commuters live within 10 miles of their worksite—making their commute time by bike or car just about the same.

Employers also benefit, because studies show that people who bike to work are more productive and take less time off for illness. Bikers cut down on an employer’s need to subsidize employee parking, and exercise tends to make workers more alert.

Europe is showing the way forward in many ways.

European car-free zones have become very successful. Sixty cities have declared that they’re going to make their centers car-free. Britain has developed a car-free day, which is supported by 75 percent of the British public. Similar ideas have spread to Central and South America. In some places, such as Athens or Singapore, because of pollution problems, you can drive only every other day (license plates ending in an odd number one day, even the next), and London now is charging cars a hefty fee to enter the city center. In Copenhagen, Denmark, 30 to 40 percent of commuters get to work by bicycle.

Source:www.emagazine.com

Environment Awareness

Roots and Shoots

Posted by Susan Sharma on January 22, 2007

 
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Roots and Shoots


I had the privilege of listening to Jane Goodall at the Brish Council on 21 Jan 2007, while she was addressing the audience of  "Wildscreen India". 
Jane Goodall is intenationally known as the saviour of chimpanzees.  But it was indeed more thrilling to listen to her enthusiasm for the "Roots and Shoots" program she has initiated in 100 countries and is soon starting in India too.

Roots and Shoots of plants have the uncanny ability to pierce/sprout through brick walls.  She believes that the brick wall of unsustainable development/global warming will have roots and shoots growing all over soon  - roots and shoots being the young workers she is organizing into groups of grassroot workers from all corners of the world. 


The youth of today and even senior citizens can be mobilised for action and they are our "Reason for Hope"

Do visit the site http://www.rootsandshoots.org for more info.

Environment Awareness

Environmental problems

Posted by Susan Sharma on July 12, 2006

 
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Environmental problems are very site specific, and any good solution needs to factor in social and economical aspects. It comes with experience, and with asking lots of questions.

"Marketing" is an important issue, not only with environmental problems but with most problem in general. It is not only important to identify a problem, it is equally important to be able to present it to the public in a way that people can identify with it and to express it in a way that is easy to comprehend.

 You will be learning about many problems that may seem overwhelming, and at times you may feel that there are so many aspects to an issue that it is impossible to get a grasp on all of them.

Water quality is deteriorating, nitrate is killing off habitats, phosphorus is accelarating the closure of lakes, ground water is being polluted, farming accelerates erosion of soil, air quality is suffering, but on the other hand we need food, cash crops and food security. Where do you strike the balance?

 How do you make incentives for farmers to apply conservation practices? Who should pay for these costs? Who should pay for the economic downturn of fisheries ? These issued need to be aired and the public should know the impacts and the efforts to reduce them.

We need to generate debate on issues concerning the environment.  It is the ecosystem that is sustaining humanity.

Environment Awareness

Animals, agriculture and city planning

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 28, 2006

 
Forum Post

...The Food and Agricultural Organisation(FAO) of the United Nations recommends urban agriculture including animal rearing within cities as a useful means to tackle poverty and promote sustainable city practices.  It is feared that rapid urbanisation in developing countries will consume about 14 million hectares of cropland by 2020 and make matters worse.  Many African cities and a few European cities are now seriously considering urban agriculture as a viable multifunctional land use strategy.

.........Processed foods increase the ecological footprint of a city, as goods have to be transported from long distances.


The FAO estimates that Delhi will require an additional 1,96,500 trucks of 10 tonne capacity by 2010 to supply food for its population, while Mumbai will need 3,13,400 more trucks.  This will have serious implications for traffic and roads.

.......  Cities that have seriously considered the issues of urban poverty, environment, and food security have made plans to allow for more agriculture within their urban and peri-urban areas.  Bangkok has 60 percent of its metropolitan area as agriculture land, as has Madrid.  Beira in Mozambique has a high percentage of about 88 percent of its green spaces used for family agriculture.  Ottawa has 5,000 hectares of agriculture land within city limits...........

The famous marshes of Xochimilco, located on the outskirts of Mexico City, are fed by treated wastewater from the city.  This water is used for irrigating flowers and vegetables and also recharges the aquifers.....The East Calcutta wetland is an example worth looking at. This 3,900 hectare wetland located in the peri-urban area is used for fisheries.  The many ponds are benefited from the 1,300 million litres of treated wastewater discharged from the city.  About 13,000 tonnes of fish are harvested and about 60,000 people provided a livelihood.  In addition, 150 tonnes of vegetable are also produced daily.  Pigs and ducks are reared as well.........

A.Srivathsan(The Hindu 27 June 2006)

Environment Awareness

environsciences.com

Posted by gagan matta on June 07, 2006

 
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http://www.environsciences.com

 This site contains useful information about environment/nature studies and have the details of every topic of our school & college study.

Environment Awareness

Our Mountain heritage

Posted by Susan Sharma on April 23, 2006

 
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On a recent visit to Rishikesh when I stayed at one of the mountain resorts, I decided to trek the mountain slopes along with one of the workers at the resort-who was a cook cum coolie at the place.

As we walked along, I was surprised to hear him talk about the uses and medicinal values of almost every plant that grew around there. He said he and his family members have never visited a doctor.

 As we came back, he wanted to know if I can help him get a job in Delhi. I felt ashamed and helpless. Tried explaining to him that the knowledge he has and the air he breathes in is so much superior to what we urbanites have to offer.

I do not think he was poorly off. Is there anything we can do to empower him- to respect him for his knowledge?

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