June 17, 2007
A modest increase in the number of urban parks and street trees in our major cities could offset decades of predicted temperature rise, a new study by researchers from the University of Manchester has revealed.
According to the team, a mere 10 per cent increase in the amount of green space in built-up centres would reduce urban surface temperatures by as much as four degrees Centigrade.
This 4°C drop in temperature is equivalent to the average predicted rise through global warming by the 2080s, and is caused by the cooling effect of water as it evaporates into the air from leaves and vegetation
through a process called transpiration, said Dr Roland Ennos, the lead researcher in the team.
"Green space collects and retains water much better than the built environment. As this water evaporates from the leaves of plants and trees it cools the surrounding air in a similar way to the cooling effect
of perspiration as it evaporates from our skin. Urban areas can be up to 12°C warmer than more rural surroundings due to the heat given off by buildings, roads and traffic, as well as reduced evaporative cooling, in what is commonly referred to as an ‘urban
heat island’," said Dr Ennos.
For their study, the team took Greater Manchester as their model, and used Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping to build up a picture of the conurbation’s land use.
The team then worked out the impact of an increase in the amount of green space on the urban climate as well as on water retention.
The research also examined the effect an increased green space has on the amount of rainwater urban areas capture and retain; towns and cities lose a large proportion of rainwater through what is termed ‘run-off’
where precipitation quickly leaves the surface and drains away into streams and rivers, eventually returning to the sea.
"We discovered that a modest increase of 10% green space reduced surface temperatures in the urban environment by 4°C, which would overcome temperature rises caused by global warming over the next 75 years, effectively
‘climate proofing’ our cities,” said Dr Ennos.
Dr Roland Ennos ,Prof. John Handley and Dr Susannah Gill
June 17, 2007
Capitalism, faced by natural obstacles, sees no alternative to a new assault on nature, employing new, high-tech armaments.
The ecological irrationality of this response is evident in the tendency to
dissociate global warming from the global environmental crisis as a whole, which includes such problems as species extinction, destruction of the oceans, tropical deforestation, desertification, toxic wastes, etc.
It is then possible, from this narrow perspective, to promote biofuels as a
partial solution to global warming — without acknowledging that this will
accelerate world hunger. Or it is thought pragmatic to dump iron filings in the
ocean (the so-called Geritol solution to global warming) in order to grow
phytoplankton and increase the carbon absorbing capacity of the ocean — without connecting this at all to the current oceanic catastrophe. The fact that the biosphere is one interconnected whole is downplayed in favor of mere economic expediency.
What all of this suggests is that a real solution to the planetary
environmental crisis cannot be accomplished simply through new technologies or through turning nature into a market. It is necessary to go to the root of the problem by addressing the social relations of production.
We must recognize that today’s ecological problems are related to a system of global inequality that demands ecological destruction as a necessary condition of its existence.
New social and democratic solutions need to be developed and rooted in human community and sustainability, embodying principles of conservation that are essential to life. But this means stepping outside the capitalist box and making peace with the planet
— and with other human beings.
-John Bellamy Foster
Professor of sociology at the University of Oregon in
Eugene, and editor of Monthly Review.
June 15, 2007
The National Board for Wildlife has been reconstituted with the following members. The members are Mahendra Vyas, Brijendra Singh, Divyabhanu Chavda, Dr. Ranjit Sinh, Biswajit Mohanty, Sekhar Dattatri, Bonani Kakkar, Dr. Bhibah Talukdar,Dilip Khatau and
Valmik Thapar. WPSI, Reef Watch, Wildlife First, WWF-Iand BNHS are the instituional members.
June 14, 2007
Here is an opportunity to learn about EIA-provided by Centre for Science and Environment
Training: Understanding EIA: From screening to decision making
New Delhi, August 27-31, 2007
CSE invites applications for its five-day training programme, which aims at demystifying Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for NGOs, environment managers and community-based organisations (CBOs). It also seeks to develop the capacity of state-level regulators
and state level expert appraisal committees to screen and scope the EIA process, evaluate reports and conduct public consultations, especially after the new EIA notification.
The course will expose participants to:
- Technical and new legal aspects of EIA
- Environmental and social impacts of various types of developmental projects
- Hands-on exercises in screening, scoping, data analysis and developing environment management plans
- Tools and thumb rules to evaluate various environmental and social impact parameters
- Techniques to engage in public consultation
- Post-EIA monitoring
Last date for registration:
July 31, 2007
Register online >>
For more information contact:
Sujit Kumar Singh
- Course is open to NGOs, academicians, regulators, decision makers and industries
- Due discount will be given to grassroots NGOs and CBOs
June 13, 2007
….Simple arithmetic provides a total, today, of around 1,300 tigers in the country; some tiger biologists believe the actual number may be less than 1,000, perhaps even
as few as 800.
We do not need to argue the numbers: whichever way you look at the tiger’s situation, it is dire; it is a national crisis. But is the government bothered? Do we see the
Ministry of Environment and Forests galvanised into action now that their own Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institute of India project is providing data that confirms what conservationists have been saying for the last few years. Tragically not.
What we find is a government at best silent, at worst still disowning and denying the figures. What will it take to convince it? We have had facts and figures and images of Indian tiger skins poached and swamping Tibet; we have had Indian tiger biologists
with scientific data to back their arguments, we have had children petitioning the PM in for the tiger’s cause, we have a high-profile tiger reserve (Sariska) lose all its tigers; we now have a major ‘official’ study showing exactly where tigers can still
be found and from where they are missing, a study showing how fragmented their habitat is, how precarious their existence: yet, the point is argued and denied.
The issue is not people versus tigers, it is not that wildlife conservationists ‘bicker’ or put their egos before the tiger, it is not that there is a controversy within the informed community as much
of the media like to portray; the major stumbling block to saving the tiger is simply that those with the mandate and muscle to maintain and protect natural India are failing to do so. The true battle is people — the forest-dependent people especially — and
tigers versus the government. It is not only the tiger and other wildlife that is being squeezed. It does not take much newspaper reading even for city-dwellers to know that the farming communities, the tribal populations and other marginalised people are
equally being sacrificed in our shining India march towards a global economy and double-digit economic growth in emulation of industrialised countries elsewhere.
…………… we must forge alliances and speak out in one voice to prevail upon the government that a new and professional system of wildlife care and management is required and must be instituted: one that
involves and gives respect to all those living in and around the wilderness areas, that is transparent and accountable, that understands that knowledge is the basis for creative care and that science and research are required to provide that base. We do not
have this now. The present poaching profile is that of serious organised crime and it will not disappear only by patrolling and regarding all local communities as potential poachers. We need a management system that understands that they are custodians of
the most precious resources, not rajas with fiefdoms. We need a system that keeps communication channels with the wider world open so that it can evolve. If India’s wild areas are to survive, if India’s environment is to remain conducive to human survival,
such changes must happen now.
-Joanna Van Gruisen is a wildlife photographer and former editor, TigerLink News
Source: Hindustan Times 25 May 2007
June 12, 2007
Watch these films on Discovery channel on 20th July 2007
Wildlife crime- UK Environment Film Fellowships 2006
Once there was a purple butterfly-Sonya V. Kapoor
Sonya says that of the 1,500 species of butterflies in India, 400 are on the verge of extinction; this was reason enough to track down butterfly poachers—entire villages
in Kerala—where they catch and supply rare species to traders from south-east Asia.
Leopards in the Lurch— Gurmeet Sapal
The film shows that most of the leopards/cheetahs that are killed in the Himachal are not just by poachers but by locals - on the pretext that they are man-eaters.
However, Sapal says, forensic evidence shows that several of those killed in the Garhwal forests were innocent.
The Hunted - Jay Mazoomdar
“If the extinction of tigers is be tackled effectively, the traditional hunter is to be shown an alternative livelihood.”
Jay’s film shows the Moghiya hunters of MP and Rajasthan who hunt tigers for larger traders for measly sums. “It would be difficult for this trade to flourish in the absence
of skilled hunters,” he adds.
Vanishing Seas-Himanshu Malhotra
For husband-wife duo, Himanshu Malhotra and Sabina Kidwai, the endangered marine coral reefs in Lakshwadeep and Andaman spell the death of an entire eco-system.
Turtles in a Soup-Kalpana Subramanian
Freshwater turtles in the Gangetic river systems and their systematic poaching led Kalpana Subramanian to make her film Turtles in a Soup. The trade, she says, has moved
on from simply shipping turtle meat to actually processing the more easily transportable ‘plastron’ (turtle cartilage) into chips thus making it more “invisible and difficult to nab”.
The Last Dance- Ashima Narain
Under the law, the Indian sloth bear is entitled to the same protection as the tiger.
Yet crimes against it are committed openly across India as bears are made to dance for our entertainment.
By venturing on an undercover anti-poaching operation and witnessing the surrender of a dancing bear, the film shows how this crime can be brought to an end.
The Silenced Witness-P.Balan and R.Radha
“The Silenced Witness” analyses why despite having about 60 per cent of the world population of Asiatic and despite the animal being revered
for centuries, the magnificent mammal is fighting for survival.
The story centres around crimes committed on Elephants in Kerala - both domesticated and wild.
June 09, 2007
There is a growing sense of panic among global political and business leaders, especially in countries such as Singapore that have large coastal regions threatened by rising sea levels.
Therein lies the profit opportunity for Silicon Valley technologists, who are quickly shifting more attention to clean-tech. Clean-tech ventures are now receiving ten percent of venture flows, up from just one percent a few years ago.
“We think clean-tech is the biggest economic opportunity of the 21st century.” As if Silicon Valley clean tech entrepreneurs and investors didn’t already have enough reasons to feel bullish about the fast growing clean tech industry, a disturbing new scientific
study published May 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported that the annual growth rate of global C02 emissions measured in 2004 is nearly triple the rates previously measured between 1990 and 1999. 73 percent of global carbon emissions
growth is coming from developing countries like China and India.
- Nicholas Parker, co-founder and chairman of The Cleantech Group, an international network of clean tech business leaders and investors
June 09, 2007
If future generations could vote on how foundations invest their money today, would they choose the current allocation?
Only 5 percent of U.S. foundation spending goes to the environment, and a paltry 2.9 percent goes to science and technology. Of the top 50 foundation grantees in 2004, only three were environmental organizations.
Even those foundations that do work on ecosystems spend much of their resources on small-scale land conservation. Government priorities are also skewed to the here and now. As the Oct. 30, 2006, New York Times reports, U.S. federal spending on energy research
has fallen to $3 billion – less than half of its level in 1980 – while spending on medical research has quadrupled to $28 billion over the same period.
Human-caused climate change, sharply declining conventional energy sources, and population growth are threatening the very platform of human life. Yet fully two-thirds of U.S. foundation spending goes to current human health and well-being, and seven of
the 10 largest U.S. foundations concentrate on human health or the arts, according to the Foundation Center’s latest statistics (from 2004). The world’s second largest foundation (Stichting Ingka, the IKEA fortune) focuses on interior design.
A management problem that keeps foundations preoccupied with the present is their lack of coordination with other organizations. With family control of many foundation boards and disparate and idiosyncratic board agendas, coordination for achieving bigger
aims is structurally difficult.
June 06, 2007
No species can survive on this planet without respecting the three basic laws of ecology.
(1) The law of biodiversity—that the strength of an eco-system is dependent upon the diversity of species within it.
(2) The law of interdependence—that these species must be interdependent to support a strong eco-system and
(3) the law of finite resources—that there is a limit to growth. Growing human numbers utilized vast amounts of resources and steal carrying capacity from other species resulting in the collapse of diversity.
The greatest fear is not something in the future but something happening now. We are in the midst of a mass extinction event and thus in danger of radically altering the entire biosphere.
Captain Paul Watson, Founder and President of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, USA in
June 06, 2007
"Yes this sounds like what the world was like during my childhood and what Manali and its environs were like when I had first visited it in the 1960s.
The present sad state of things here is the result of the huge amount of spraying done on the almost monoculture of apples in the ’Valley of the Gods’. Kangra would have been badly damaged had it not been for the fact that fruit farming is not very reliable
on account of the strong hail storms that occur there as a result of the interface between the hot lowlands of the Punjab and the almost sudden verticle rise of the Dhaula Dhar range.
I would however like to know how many large Ficus trees are there and what is the state of the water in the very many rivulets flowing down from the mountains into the Rana Pratap Sagar. Such concentrations of birdlife should be, and most certainly can
be, existing along with human communities. That they do exist in locations should not lull us into a feeling of welbeing.
Do post this on your portal on my behalf."
Comment by Lavkumar Khachar on the article " Chintpurni, Dharamshala, Pragpur……(Himachal Pradesh)