IS INDIA DROWNING IN GARBAGE?

The old saying out of sight, out of mind definitely does not apply when it comes to getting rid of personal waste.

Garbage, though unseen, can have real impacts on the environment when it is not properly disposed of. Burying rubbish as a means of disposal is one the oldest and most common forms of waste management, but unfortunately, the impact that landfill sites have on the environment are huge.

The environmental problems caused by landfills are numerous. There are no arguments over the assertion that there are many things that contribute to the environmental problem of landfills. The negative effects are most commonly placed into two distinct categories: atmospheric effects and hydrological effects. While these effects are both of equal importance, the specific factors that drive them are important to understand on an individual basis.

The mixture of chemicals like bleach and ammonia in landfills can produce toxic gases and odor that can significantly impact the quality of air in the vicinity of the landfill. Hydrogen sulphide produced in landfills smells similar to rotten eggs.

Travelling from central Delhi towards Ghazipur in the city’s east, the first warning that you get of the approaching landfill is the sight of circling birds of prey. The mound of waste itself becomes visible much before one is assaulted by its stench. Smoke rises steadily from the pile, as the decomposing waste generates highly combustible methane gas. Three of the four stinking waste mountains (landfills) are long overdue for closure and there are no fresh landfills available to take in the current daily discard of 9,000 tonnes. By 2020, the Capital needs an additional area of 28 sqkm, more than the entire spread of Lutyen’s Bungalow Zone, to dump 15,000 tonnes of garbage daily.

Aside from the various types of gases that can be created by these landfills, dust and other forms of non-chemical contaminants can make their way into the atmosphere. This contributes further to the air quality issue which plagues modern landfills.

When it comes to waste management in India, little is the way it’s meant to be. Mumbai literally raised a stink recently when a fire broke out at the Deonar landfill, severely compromising air quality in the city. The national capital too is fast becoming one huge garbage dump with civic body sanitation workers on a strike to protest against non-payment of salaries.

Delhi has miserably failed to manage its waste load. Only 15 per cent of R1,350 crore that the three corporations spend on waste management and sanitation is spent on actual disposal. The rest goes into collection and transportation.

The authorities must ensure segregation and promote composting and recycling. They must quantify waste generation for setting effective reduction targets. But don’t wait for the authorities to do everything. From segregation, recycling to composting — you can make a difference. And, yes, consume and waste less. Now is the time.

DOES OVER-POPULATION IMPACT GLOBAL WARMING?

According to the United Nations Population Fund, human population grew from 1.6 billion to 6.1 billion people during the course of the 20th century. (Think about it: It took all of time for population to reach 1.6 billion; then it shot to 6.1 billion over just 100 years.) During that time emissions of CO2, the leading greenhouse gas, grew 12-fold. And with worldwide population expected to surpass nine billion over the next 50 years, environmentalists and others are worried about the ability of the planet to withstand the added load of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere and wreaking havoc on ecosystems down below.

In 1970, when worldwide greenhouse gas emissions had just begun to transgress the sustainable capacity of the atmosphere, the world population was about 3.7 billion; today it’s about 6.1 billion — an increase of 86 percent.

In that same period, worldwide emissions from fossil fuels rose from about 14 billion tons to an estimated 29 billion tons — an increase of 107 percent.

Population growth is not the direct cause of global warming, burning fossil fuels is.

Where some of the confusion comes from is that CO2 emissions are reasonably well correlated to population.

It’s not a one-to-one relationship, but there is a solid relationship. For a couple of centuries, more people meant a great deal more CO2 which more closely tracked gross domestic product on a one-to-one ratio. As countries became richer, that was reflected in their GDP and also in their reduction in fertility. More GDP equals flattening population but still increasing CO2 emissions.

“Population, global warming and consumption patterns are inextricably linked in their collective global environmental impact,” reports the Global Population and Environment Program at the non-profit Sierra Club. “As developing countries’ contribution to global emissions grows, population size and growth rates will become significant factors in magnifying the impacts of global warming.”

According to the Worldwatch Institute, a nonprofit environmental think tank, the overriding challenges facing our global civilization are to curtail climate change and slow population growth. “Success on these two fronts would make other challenges, such as reversing the deforestation of Earth, stabilizing water tables, and protecting plant and animal diversity, much more manageable,” reports the group. “If we cannot stabilize climate and we cannot stabilize population, there is not an ecosystem on Earth that we can save.”

Many population experts believe the answer lies in improving the health of women and children in developing nations. By reducing poverty and infant mortality, increasing women’s and girls’ access to basic human rights (health care, education, economic opportunity), educating women about birth control options and ensuring access to voluntary family planning services, women will choose to limit family size.

 

 

OCEAN ACIDIFICATION

Climate Change isn’t the only consequence of carbon pollution from fossil fuels. If driving global temperature rise wasn’t enough, increased carbon in our atmosphere is also behind the rapid acidification of our world’s oceans.

But what exactly is ocean acidification?

When carbon dioxide (CO2) is absorbed by seawater, chemical reactions occur that reduce seawater pH, carbonate ion concentration, and saturation states of biologically important calcium carbonate minerals. These chemical reactions are termed “Ocean Acidification” or “OA” for short.

Oceans becoming more acidic after the Industrial Revolution are no accident. As humans burn more and more fossil fuels, the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere continues to rise, driving climate change and making both air and sea temperatures hotter and hotter.

Ocean acidification is expected to impact ocean species to varying degrees. Photosynthetic algae and sea grasses may benefit from higher CO2 conditions in the ocean, as they require CO2 to live just like plants on land. On the other hand, studies have shown that a more acidic environment has a dramatic effect on some calcifying species, including oysters, clams, sea urchins, shallow water corals, deep sea corals, and calcareous plankton. When shelled organisms are at risk, the entire food web may also be at risk. Today, more than a billion people worldwide rely on food from the ocean as their primary source of protein. Many jobs and economies in the U.S. and around the world depend on the fish and shellfish in our oceans.

Ocean acidification is an emerging global problem. Over the last decade, there has been much focus in the ocean science community on studying the potential impacts of ocean acidification. Since sustained efforts to monitor ocean acidification worldwide are only beginning, it is currently impossible to predict exactly how ocean acidification impacts will cascade throughout the marine food chain and affect the overall structure of marine ecosystems. With the pace of ocean acidification accelerating, scientists, resource managers, and policymakers recognize the urgent need to strengthen the science as a basis for sound decision making and action.

Future predictions indicate that the oceans will continue to absorb carbon dioxide and become even more acidic. Estimates of future carbon dioxide levels, based on business as usual emission scenarios, indicate that by the end of this century the surface waters of the ocean could be nearly 150 percent more acidic, resulting in a pH that the oceans haven’t experienced for more than 20 million years.

GREEN REVOLUTION OR FOOD REVOLUTION ?

The global population is skyrocketing, the climate is changing, and diets are shifting. So how do you tackle the problem of feeding 9 billion people by 2050?

It’s only 2017 and we produce enough food for 10 billion people, so why are we defaulting to a scientific solution? Science can address the technical aspects of food production — yields, shelf life, etc. — but the technical aspects of food production aren’t the problems when it comes to feeding nine billion people, or dealing with the agricultural impact of climate change, or accommodating shifting diets. These problems are, almost exclusively, social and political.

“Twenty-first-century challenges require 21st century approaches,” said Sally Rockey, executive director of FFAR. While many people tend to view agriculture as a tradition-bound system, “it really is a cutting-edge science.”

This may be true, but nowhere is it written that a 21st century approach MUST involve advanced technology, precision-everything, and patching together a broken food system with duct tape made out of patents.

We have an intractable food problem because it’s a people problem, not a technological one. Its solution will involve deliberate choices to do with less quantity and fewer options in a world where the supermarket and its infinite bounty and instant gratification are regarded as a global ideal.

“Revolution” is agriculture oriented toward locality, diversity, redundancy, seasonality, mass participation, and ecological integration. Revolution is farms, and the technologies for distributing food, focused on producing food for a community or region instead of the gaping maw of a global marketplace. Revolution is communities around the world largely independent of food products, methods, and technologies owned outside of those communities.

A Green Revolution would be a fundamental re-engineering of the way food is produced and consumed around the world.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE GLOBAL WARMING

For three decades, environmentalists have been claiming that if we don’t do something to fight global warming, we’ll all turn into pumpkins by the end of the century or so. Yet they’ve made very little headway in getting humanity to act on their suggested remedies.

The amount of Global Warming is often measured relative to the late 19th century even though this is about 100 years after the start of the industrial revolution, when humans started burning large amounts of fossil fuels.

According to the Paris Agreement on climate change, the world should try to limit global warming to as close to 1.5C as possible to avoid its worst effects, such as deadly heat waves, sea level rise that threatens coastal cities and more violent storms.

One of the researchers, Professor Michael Mann, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had been using a definition of pre-industrial “that is likely underestimating the warming that has already taken place”.

“That means we have less carbon to burn than we previously thought, if we are to avert the most dangerous changes in climate,” he said.

“When the IPCC says that we’ve warmed 1C relative to pre-industrial, that’s probably incorrect. It’s likely as much as 1.2C.”

Meeting a 1.° C target is obviously more difficult if the change already experienced is 1.2 degrees rather than the 1.0 that had been broadly accepted. The new information doesn’t make the world any warmer, but it could have an effect on programs designed to meet the 1.5 degree goal. Either the total change allowed under agreements needs to go up to adjust for this early change, the definition of the allowed change needs to be redefined to make it clear it’s relative to 1880, or programs will have to be rapidly accelerated to try and hold off that final bit of change.

The study, described in the journal Natural Climate Change, found that anything from 0.02C to 0.21C of warming could already have taken place before the late 19th century.

The lower end of that range would mean the current use of the late 19th century is reasonably accurate, but the upper end would be a substantial change.

Professor Mann, of Pennsylvania State University, said that either the Paris targets “have to be revised” or the world could simply decide that they only wanted to restrict warming relative to the 19th century.

The new information doesn’t make the world any warmer, but it could have an effect on programs designed to meet the 1.5 degree goal. Either the total change allowed under agreements needs to go up to adjust for this early change, the definition of the allowed change needs to be redefined to make it clear it’s relative to 1880, or programs will have to be rapidly accelerated to try and hold off that final bit of change.

TO SAVE THE WORLD, START SMALL

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
— Greek proverb

Global warming has increased in vast increments in the last decade. In fact, in the last 50 years, the earth’s global temperature has increased by 3%. Pollution caused by the release of carbon dioxide into the air creates a blanket over the atmosphere. Global warming can cause a whole chain of events to rupture ecosystems, weather patterns, and a variety of other factors. We all play a part in our future.

To save the world, there is no need of any committee or agreement. We can do this by simply altering our lifestyle a little. Take small steps that won’t change our life but make a difference to the world.

Replace Regular Incandescent Light bulb: Replace regular incandescent light bulb with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. They consume 70% less energy than ordinary bulbs and have longer lifetime.

Go Solar: Many people have caught the energy efficient band wagon of solar energy. Having solar panels installed is something readily possible and available. Incentives and discounts given by government agencies and energy companies make solar energy something to look into.

Reduce Waste: Landfills are the major contributor of methane and other greenhouse gases. When the waste is burnt, it releases toxic gases in the atmosphere which result in global warming. Reusing and recycling old items can significantly reduce your carbon footprint as it takes far less energy to recycle old items than to produce items from scratch.

Use less Hot Water: Buy energy saving geysers and dishwasher for your home. Avoid washing clothes in hot water. Just wash them in cold or warm water. Avoid taking frequent showers and use less hot water. It will help in saving energy require to produce that energy.

Plant a Tree: Planting trees can help much in reducing global warming than any other method. They not only give oxygen but also take in carbon dioxide, during the process of photosynthesis, which is the main source of global warming.

Reuse Towels: Hang towels to dry, instead of popping them back in the wash after a few uses.

Spread the Awareness: Always try your best to educate people about global warming and its causes and after affects. Tell them how they can contribute their part by saving energy that will be good for the environment. Gather opportunities and establish programs that will help you to share information with friends, relatives and neighbors.

By being just a little more mindful, we all can play our part in combating global warming. These easy tips will help preserve the planet for future generations.

OCEAN OF PLASTIC.

About 71% of earth’s surface consists of water.

The ocean remains one of the most expansive, mysterious and diverse places on Earth. Unfortunately, it is being threatened by pollution from people on land and from natural causes. Marine life is dying, and as a result the whole oceanic ecosystem is threatened simply by various sources of pollution.

One such hazardous pollution is plastic pollution.

More than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in our oceans every year.

The proliferation of plastic products in the last 70 years or so has been extraordinary; quite simply we cannot now live without them. We are now producing nearly 300 million tons of plastic every year, half of which is for single use.

Plastic is cheap and incredibly versatile with properties that make it ideal for many applications. However, these qualities have also resulted in it becoming an environmental issue. We have developed a “disposable” lifestyle and estimates are that around 50% of plastic is used just once and thrown away.

Plastic is a valuable resource and plastic pollution is an unnecessary and unsustainable waste of that resource.

Plastic is harmful to environment is many ways. It does not break down easily and it is considered as food for marine animals.

But we could prevent this much plastic from ever entering the ocean.

For example, only 14% of plastic packaging is recycled, and it’s the biggest source of plastic pollution in the oceans, according to the report.

If we reused more plastic packaging, and turned it back into other plastic products, the report concludes, we could significantly decrease the amount that goes into the oceans.

If we are to preserve ocean and its natural beauty, drastic measures have to be taken to combat this pollution and keep what we hold most dear.

 

GO GREEN WITH YOUR CLOSET.

Every morning, looking at our giant closet the first thing that comes to our mind is “I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO WEAR, I NEED TO SHOP”.

Then magically we take our new Zara dress, slip into our Jimmy Choo and we are off to shop.

But what we don’t realize is that subconsciously we are contributing for carbon footprints which lead to global warming. According to a recent survey, to convert raw materials into finished products, textiles use at least 8000 toxic chemicals. This human impact has devastated life on our planet, leaving a very large footprint – and that’s just the creation process. Based on the life span of any given product, the remaining half of the ecological footprint occurs after the garment is purchased.

Global awareness of our carbon footprint is steadily on the rise. The world population is developing a fundamental understanding of the need for ecologically sound practices. Choices for sustainable, eco clothes keep that momentum rolling.

So what changes can we do?

Going green with your closet is a simple way to protect our environment. By making small changes in our shopping techniques we can make big a difference.

Before buying a cloth make sure to check the material. Bamboo, silk, organic cotton, soy, hemp are one of the few natural, eco-friendly fabrics on the market. Before you shop, it’s best to know the ins and outs of each.

When we purchase merchandise from a brand, we are not just buying a piece of clothing or a statement necklace. We are also indirectly giving our seal of approval on its labor and environmental practices. We need to know more about the brands we tend to wear. Visit their websites and check the label before supporting them.

Wash with care. Buy green laundry detergent. It does the same job without the harsh, synthetic chemicals that harm the environment and pose health hazards. To save energy, wash on low heat and line dry.
If you need to dry clean your clothes, search for an eco-friendly, organic cleaner in your neighborhood that doesn’t use perchloroethylene (perc), a common chemical used by many traditional dry cleaners. It’s been listed as a hazardous air pollutant by the Clean Air Act and a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

These minor changes in our daily life might be noticeable to us but they would show their effect in long term.

A small contribution towards the growing problem of global warming, by International Centre of Culture and Education (ICCE) is Green(R)evolution. Join our initiative to protect the environment.

EAT ORGANIC FOR ENVIRONMENT.

When we are walking down the aisle of the departmental store or wandering around the farmer’s market, we are so focused on shopping vegetables and groceries that would add nutrients and proteins in our diet; we tend to overlook how the production of these goods is effecting the environment.  Food production includes certain growing or raising practices, packaging and shipping; all these steps involve the emission of carbon and other greenhouse gases. While we are focused on living a healthy diet, we lose the sight of the effects we are leaving on our environment.

Food can be grown and raised organically or by conventional methods that use chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Organic agriculture is aimed at preserving the environment, biodiversity; supporting animal health and welfare and only using approved materials. Choosing organic food simply means buying food products that are grown without using any synthetic or artificial products. The best way to avoid these products is to buy local production of food. Eating locally reduces your carbon footprint by minimizing emissions from transport.

In the past decade, diets and eating trends have exploded in the mainstream. Everyone is trying something new or has some kind of sensitivity to a common food. Our lives have begun to revolve around the management of our eating habits as we become more obsessed and invested in our own, and our families’ diets. With our changing lifestyle, we are all focused on achieving our fitness goals. This, as result, has increased the consumption of proteins and thereby meat. Between 2010 and 2016, the meat consumption has increased 10 times.

So what if it is too much meat?

A recent study by the Environmental Working Group showed that the production of red meat produces 10 to 40 times the amount of greenhouse gasses as the production of vegetables and grains. Antibiotic and pesticide contamination, high use of fossil fuels, excessive water use, and mass deforestation are some of the horrific byproducts of meat production. The risks to clean and sustainable land, water, and air are increasing at an alarming rate.

We don’t need to go turn into vegetarians or vegans to save environment. Reduce your daily intake of meat and animal products like dairy, eggs, and fish to 1-2 servings. Explore other protein options from the plant kingdom. Buy meat from sustainable and bio-diverse producers and only in the portions needed for you and your family.

With increasing awareness about saving environment around globe, different communities have started taking initiatives to protect environment through innovative measures. One such initiative taken by International Centre of Culture and Education (ICCE) is Green(R)evolution , which spreads knowledge about protecting environment from global warming. Follow us to know more about protecting environment from our own hazardous habits.

 

Killing a Tree, just to save ourselves??

Walking through my street yesterday, I realized it was too open, something too wide enough to see the building’s beside the lane. It was a noticeable gap that startled me. Soon, I came into a realization that the Ashoka Trees that once stood large and tall reaching the height of the building and leaning out from the crowded cement jungle were been vanished. Not only the Ashoka trees but many other’s too. I have always noticed this each and every year before the monsoon. So today morning, I decided to ask the watchman of our building what made them do so. His answer was “Beta, It’s just to stop them from swinging down during the storm and hurting people”.

Okay, I understand the urge and the need about taking them down because Trees may cause a major mishap if it comes down during a windy day. But I felt a bit uncomfortable with the answer because it didn’t do the justification for the concept we teach our future generation of “How to plant more trees”.  And guess what! The cutting of trees also bought plenty of litter spread on the street unattained.

Is it a solution?? Don’t we have another option??

Yes!! we do have the option available.

Cut the branches instead, let it grow again. Let them bloom, with their joy.

“In the morning of rainy drops let the nature burgeon again with a delight of a new life.”