The World Migratory Birds Day

Their Future is our future

This is the theme of the world migratory bird day being commemorated on May 13th.

Avian migration is one of the most wonderful events of nature. Birds fly distances to find best ecological conditions and habitat for feeding, breeding and bringing up their young.

Migratory birds are birds that travel distances for various reasons, but primarily reason being food and nesting. birds move between the northern and southern hemisphere in search of food, and safe and comfortable nesting zones.

Migration could be short distance that is in the geographic range from high altitude to low  or it could be of medium order within a reasonable radius and  then there are long distance ones that are across continents. A bird like Red knot travels 16,000 km twice a year.

These birds fly year after year with very little deviation in the flyway corridor. The first year birds often make their first migration on their own, it is almost as if the flight chart is memorized by the DNA. How the birds do this is not really understood. However it is known that they orient themselves with the sun during the day, the stars guide the navigation at night and geomagnetism can be tapped on any time. Olfactory sense seem to play a great role when it comes to navigation in the case of the homing pigeon.

Many birds have a preferred pathway for their annual migration, these usually involves important stop overs that provide food supplies that are critical to the birds survival.

These flights are dangerous and ardours. It challenges the physical and mental capacity of the bird. There are predators that threaten the bird. In the recent years, the land reclamation and poaching is eating into the natural habitat disorienting the avian migrations. Many birds are attracted by bright lights while some are confused resulting in collisions with structures. The latest hazard being the tall communication towers.

Role of migratory birds in economy.

Migrant birds are biodiversity indicators of the state of our environment, as their migratory patterns match their feeding and breeding needs. With change in climate there is a change in the timing of the elements of their life cycle too.

Migrating birds act as eco-wardens, and health wardens as they feed on insects and rodents. Vultures which are almost non-visible these days are natural scavengers they can dispose large carcasses rapidly , thus playing a critical role in nutrient cycling. Vultures west Africa to southeast Asia are declining partially due to poisoning of their prey.

The migrant birds follow the food trail, this feeding pattern leads to flower pollination and seed dispersion.  This is part of natures ecological regulation.

Project UNEP Siberian crane wetlands were about sustaining Siberian cranes and millions of other migratory water birds. This restoration not only provided the migratory birds like Siberian Crane to rest and feed it also helped to provide millions people water. The wetlands act as carbon sinks and help in combating climate change. The wetlands are flood defences and help to sustain productive fisheries.

Guano in Quechan language means droppings of the sea birds, this is considered one of nature’s best fertizers.  The Incas considered it so valuable that access to was restricted any disturbance to the sea bird incurred death penalty. Guano allowed improved soil texture, clearing of toxins and speedy decomposition.

The bird dropping result from a complex process starting with the living plants eaten by insects, which in turn are consumed by the fishes that are eaten by the sea birds and digested by the sea bird.

Falconry is another economic activity that uses avian migration, the roots of which lies in Asia dating back to 2000BC. Falconry has been recongnized by UNESCO as global cultural heritage since 2010, it is an art of hunting with trained birds of prey. The decrease in the demand has brought about 60% drop in the species over the last 20yrs. Falconers however are working at conserving of raptors and their prey through preservation of natural habitats and captive breeding. Recently the falconers have reintroduced a species that had totally vanished.

Bird hunting is a major socio-economic activity around the globe, and billions of birds are hunted each year. This along with land poaching has resulted in a decline of migratory bird population. The flyway of these global avian, run across nations and their decline effect globally.

At the end of the day it is for us, to sit up and ensure that these health wardens, natural pollinators, biodiversity indicators , natural scavengers and soil doctors are safe. for their future is also our future, we need to re-commit to sustainable development.

UN migratory movie

 

 

 

 

Earth Day

April 22nd it is Earth day again.

Each Earth Day we faithfully put out the power for an hour, I really wonder who we do this farce for.

Anyway let’s get back to the “celebration of the day” I was looking up the events, it is an absolutely America oriented climate law. The theme for the year is March of science, and science has become euphemism for Pharma and computers, gone are the days when Science emcampassed the botany, zoology, and the bio-cycles.  Oh! Yes it is also about climate literacy, maybe we should start with climate defining climate, then go with the factors that influence climate, once we reconnect to the roots we might take stock of the damage and go for damage control.

By the way if I were to quote the Earth Day 2017 theme and event then it is March for Science, Climate literacy, to create Green Voters, this to me creates a image of a humoid with chlorophyll in the their cells, green technology, green environment.

Let’s start with greenery, green leafy vegetables, well nature has leaves of various hues, if you doubt me, have a look at the crotons, and the Bougainville’s you will can see the hues for yourself.  This entire Earth Day was created in 1970 as a peace vending event there are 193 countries today negotiating loopholes through the climate laws, and America safe guarding her interest.

Let’s look at Goa, this entire creation of fly-over’s which is unnecessary we are only going to have more tourists zooming and more accidents, trees have been mercilessly chopped, the Goankars who keep talking about “Indians ” have not bothered about the massacred trees, which was one of the things that brought people to Goa. There is not a single PIL or RTI about this issue, Goa as has very little agriculture land, the existing little has been grabbed by the Land sharks from Delhi and Bombay the land being pimped by Goans. We will be dealing with increased Pepsi bottles, coke bottles, and lays wrappers.

Airtel has popped up its towers all over the state, this disturbs the birds, their flights and even their very existence, I do not know who authorizes these installation, neither do I see any RTI or PIL with regarding to this, all the environment groups seem to happy that their Airtel network is working.

Turn on the television, and you have the over-exposed irritatingly monotonous Mr.Bacchan talking about composting… well Mr.Bacchan that has also been your way out of dealing with Shit…yes the biologic waste because that is the carrot dangled in the rural areas for building toilets. While I do agree with this, my point is simple,

Earth or nature has what is called as a chain, the bio-waste of one species feeds another, when it comes to seed dispersion the bio-waste is a vehicle, it no doubt also disperses pathogenic components like maybe worms and cholera, we were so focused on those that we forgot about this. Now with compost it is not the natural one, we talk about collecting wet waste and processing it, when we go overboard what next? Someone has come up with a bus that runs on Human-waste and I thought Naravahana was the epithet of Kubera the chancellor of the Gods.

With all this anguish vented, I wonder if

  • we can plant more trees than people for a change,
  • if we can do away with the concrete layer around our buildings and quench the earth’s thirst
  • If we could revive the old rainwater harvesting instead of ripping the ocean and river bed?
  • We could go back to those architectural techniques that did not violate the environment?

I guess to this we need to be Earth citizens who in their mind and heart know the Earth is the foundation of everything they do, and they care for the earth like they care for their own bodies.

What I found interesting is a citizens group in Hyderabad, has taken on the reforestation of a public park space, they do not have any architect or landscape person there, they have the urban re-forestation department, which educates children on the natural plant habitat they let the children choose the plant from the natural habitat and plant and nurture it, the child has to take the onus of digging planting and rearing the urban reforestation department does not assist in labour or they are the knowledge partners this is hands on learning process.

I had assumed that the Earth, the spirit of the earth, noticed exceptions, those who wantonly damage it and those do not, but the Earth is wiser, it has given itself into the keeping of all and that makes all of us accountable.

 

World Social Justice day

February 20th is the designated as the world day of social justice by UN, the theme this year being Preventing Conflict And Sustaining Peace Through Good Work.

Of course this duo word coined in 1850 does mean equal distribution of resources and opportunities in which outside factors that categorize people becomes irrelevant. Since 2007 the UN-General assembly has been recognizing February 20th as the day of social justice. This day is promoting efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion and unemployment.

The social development aimed at social justice, solidarity, harmony and equality within and among countries lot of there is also pledging of equitable distribution of income and greater access to resources through equity and equality and opportunity for all.

If you were to go through the UN-site there is a whole hoard of hot air, and high sounding ideas, ideals and talk, but at the grassroots I wonder how this pans out… the migrant labour who comes constructs the road, their families living in temporary shanties with no toilets, when they do use the open spaces the educated elite coming down on them hard… is that social justice?

People having to leave their homes in search of menial jobs are that social justice? Young adults trained with skill sets that cannot be applicable, so either they do engineering and work as bank clerks, or they migrate elsewhere disturbing the ecology of the society they migrate into is that social justice?

We confuse “growth” and “development” displace indigenous communities from their legitimate space like the fisher folk of Bambolim beach… the once common resource like the bay and beach has now become exclusive to the five star hotels and this encroachment is this social justice?

If we could train people for the jobs available, people take care of the sick and poor in their own communities probably we would come somewhere near social justice.

Actually all this social justice is a little wonked, I mean the issue we are really talking about here is the great economic divide. Which has been created by greed… we call progress and growth well growth could be good or bad let’s not go there now but progress should mean for the better here is where we get confused,  trees and settlements destroyed is called progress because we have better roads to drive…at faster speeds? Is it social justice that we destroy environment, we displace people we create population, we guzzle gas  to me a world or equality would mean no just a liveable open world for homosapiens but also for the animals, and birds, with our trees and river beds being clean and intact.

At the end of the day equality is not treating everyone the same way it is attending to the different needs equally.

The Real Heroes

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Enter a caption

A lofty call, how will I teach my kids to press Ctrl+S   for nature?

Well I will not, teach them. Simply because kids cannot be taught, they learn through imitation. They imbibe values that we can hand them.

We are destroying forests, we are destroying wild life, we have come to a stage where we are destroying anyone who walks on the road… we have no place for the man who walks. We could call this destruction of nature, but it is not destruction it is change. Nature cannot be destroyed; it is too powerful and is on its own rhythm and pace. No doubt humans will do a lot of damage before we ultimately destroy ourselves.. But life will continue without humans, newer forms of intelligence will emerge long after this human experiment is over. It is not about saving the nature, it is about acknowledging and repaying the debt owe nature.yugadi (2)

See the crevices of a cemented footpath, you will find greenery emerging from it. like the ants and lizards that co-habit our living space. Sometimes rats come it too.  so Noah’s arc or nature ensures things survive. We create plastic nature gets the bacteria in the Amazon forests to eat the plastic, and the rodents of Goa relish good Tupperware!!

Like I said before children learn by imitating, growing up I saw my paternal grandmother Singari, wake up in the morning, sweep the yard and ensure that all the debris went to the mango tree each day it was a different tree. She would then put out some grains for the birds, and keep a stone bowl of water for the birds.  As a rule we never plucked flowers, we always picked what fell down.  Every   atti hunnime that is the full moon between July-August we set a float a coconut, later of course I understood and appreciated seed dispersion, but we did it.yugadi (1)

When I set up home, I do the same, I have pots where I grow few vegetables, I have a bowl where keep water for the birds and everyday I put out a slice of bread for the crow. It is quite interesting to watch the crow perches on the ledge quietly until I finish drying the laundry, it then picks up the bread and flies away, if I am late it caws, it refuses to eat if my husband puts the bread out, it will eat only what my daughter or I give. We do this because we are part of the eco-system.

Traditionally if we cut a tree, we were to plant another one its place. Do we do it?

If we pay attention nature speaks to us, when we are in commune with nature it is difficult to disrespect her.

adivaram angadi (5)
adivaram angadi at secundrabad, that barters home grown stuff.

If it is activism you are asking then you would need to understand that the task of the activist is not negotiate systems of power with as much personal integrity as possible, it’s to dismantle those system.

 

Here are some people who are human beings, and are doing their bit without armchair activism or claiming to be intellectual revolutionaries.

Tavleen who felt if she was not part of the solution she was part of the problem, so she has come up with this.  https://parwatisingari.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/sheroes-tavleens-smartizens-in-a-smart-city/ .  There is Col.Kohli of   Empower camp who has an outdoor camp to sensitize people to nature.   (http://empowercamp.com/)  they let the kids do gardening and take care of the domestic animals.. There is the Purva Venetia Bangalore’s residents society that has come up with an excellent waste management system. (blog link to be put on Wednesday) .  The is a socio-religious group that promotes community farming, on a voluntary basis, the stuff grown is sold at nominal price and the money is reinvested into the farm.

sheroes3
Tavleen with her vision for work to drive.

Lets take a very practical call, how many farming, forestry, or fishery colleges do we have, every nukkad gully has an engineering college, so we are grooming people to destroy. There are libraries that allow kids to take come plants and look after it for a week; there are libraries that give out animals.

At the end of the day it is about what are we going to do to keep the environment safe for us.  for other caretakers of mother earth they are ordinary people who just go ahead and do what think needs to done, they do it with all integrity and faith http://www.thebetterindia.com/

Do what you believe has to be done, your kids will imitate.

“I’m blogging about how I’ll remind kids to press Ctrl+S for nature for theShortcut Safaari weekend activity at BlogAdda.”

 

 

Mutation Not Evolution.

yugadi (2)
first rains of the season

An interesting prompt. How do we teach kids to keep environment safe? The answer is WE DON’T, the onus of keeping the earth safe, for human existence is on us and not the kids. Let’s  just take a deep a breathe, and connect with the environment, ever thought of it? Turn the television off, the air coolers and air conditioners off no room fresheners or perfumes for the day. We have walked so far away from where we were that we are no more connected.

On one hand I am pessimistic about the human race because it is too ingenious for its own good. Our approach to nature is to beat it into submission. We could stand a better chance of survival if accommodate ourselves to this planet and viewed it with appreciation instead of sceptically and dictatorially.

yugadi (1)Can man really destroy the planet? Maybe it is an intoxicating vanity. Just an overview of our planet. Earth is four and a half billion years old. There has been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first, then the first multicellular then the first complex creature in the sea, then on land. Finally the great sweeping ages of animals, the amphibians, the dinosaurs the mammals, each one enduring millions on millions of years, great dynasties of creatures rising, flourishing dying away – all this against a background of continuous and violent upheaval. The mountain ranges thrust up, eroded away, commentary impacts, volcanic eruptions, oceans rising and falling, whole continents moving, an endless, constant violent changes colliding buckling to make mountains over millions of years. Earth has survived everything in its time. It will certainly survive us. if all the nuclear weapons of the world went off and all the plants and all animals died and earth was sizzling hot for hundred thousand years life would still survive somewhere, under the soil, frozen in the arctic circle. At the appropriate moment life would spread again. The evolutionary process would begin again. It might take another few billion years for life to reach the present state. And of course its manifestation would be different, the earth would survive our folly but the same cannot be said of us.

DSCN8317If the ozone layer was to think, and ultraviolet rays sear the earth, what then… well ultra violet rays are good for life, it is a potent energy that promotes mutation.. Change. Many forms of life thrive with more UV radiation. Many others will die out. This ain’t the first time this has happened. Think about oxygen, very necessary for life now. But oxygen is actually a metabolic poison, a corrosive gas, like fluorine. When oxygen was first produced as waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago it created a crisis for all other life on earth. Those plants were polluting the environment, by exhaling a lethal gas. Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life, nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the human  though being hundred years is a long time, but think about it a hundred years ago we didn’t have cars airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a different world, a different life, but to the earth a hundred years is nothing for that matter neither is a million. The planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can’t imagine its slow and powerful rhythms and we haven’t got the humility to try. We have residents here for the blink of an eye if we are gone tomorrow the earth will not miss us.

nagvem cha raya (8)
from a bygone era

What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.  Think of this, smoggy skies, insecticide grains, pines hidden with billboard signs, from to oily sea… many call this process the destruction of nature, maybe, but more than destruction it is change. Nature cannot be destroyed.

Humans will do a lot of damage before we ultimately destroy ourselves, but life will continue without humans. New forms of intelligence will emerge long after this human experiment is over.

How do we educate remind our kids to save nature? How do we teach Ctrl+S for nature….WE DON’T TEACH THEM. children are never good at listening to their elders. But they NEVER fail to imitate them. the best thing to do for OUR survival is to kick butt and respect nature.

nagvem cha raya (3)
tunnel spider

We could confront our creature-hood squarely, how do we propose to educate? The answer I think is implied in the root of the word education, educe which means to draw out. What needs to be drawn out is our affinity for life. That affinity needs opportunities to grow and flourish, it needs to be validated, it needs to instructed and disciplined, and it needs to be harnessed to the goal of building humane and sustainable societies. This in turn would lead to a kind of awakening of possibilities and potentials that lie dormant and unused in the industrial- utilitarian mind. Therefore the task of education as Dave Foreman stated, is to help us open souls to love this glorious luxuriant animated planet.

We could stop fighting over who we believed created the planet, and work against destroying it, and this readiness to assume the guilt for the threat to our environment is deceptively reassuring. We like to be guilty since, if we are guilty it all depends on us. we pull the strings of the catastrophe, so we can also save ourselves simply by changing our lives. What is really hard for us to accept particularly those influenced by the west is  that we are reduced to the role of a passive observer who sits and watches what our fate will be. To avoid this impotence., we engage in frantic, obsessive activities. We recycle old paper, we buy organic food, we install long-lasting light bulbs – whatever – just to assure ourselves that we are doing something. We make individual contributions like the cricket maniacs who support their team in front of a TV screen at home, shouting and jumping from his seat in the belief that he can somehow influence the outcome of the game.

DSCN8316
the day ends.

At the end of it all we need to have the humbleness to accept that nature is constantly mutating and evolving. We are sorry outcomes of the same.

PS; — after playing the devil’s advocate and telling you to stop being so arrogant about mastery over nature, the best way to ensure our environment remains friendly to us, is by getting proactive in the maintenance phase. Will give you the link tomorrow.

, “I’m blogging about how I’ll remind kids to press Ctrl+S for nature for theShortcut Safaari weekend activity at BlogAdda.”

The Deluge At Coramandal

chennai floods
chennai floods image courtesy google.

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”
― Norman MacleanA River Runs Through It and Other Stories

With the approach of the North-eastern monsoon, is like the annual cyclone season, a low pressure consolidating into a depression and slowly intensified into a deep depression the land interaction, the high vertical wind shear all collaborated to douche the coramandal coast and Chennai became the worst effected rainfalls like 490mm was recorded in 24hrs.The two rivers nourishing Chennai was flooded because the water from the dams were released.

It is quite interesting that the first reaction is thank god I am safe.

The next one was that my family is safe, and then we looked at the extended family.  Phone calls twitter messages and facebook updates, not to mention instagram pictures.

After an accident usually one ensures the safety of the survivors, then ensures that the dead are honoured and we make sure that there is no foul play eventually we get down to the cause of accident then comes the judgement. It should have been the same here, the crisis management, rescue operation then the stock taking and planning the prevention.

Instead our media is busy gathering news bytes I can’t help but wondering, if only those resources that organized to have the media person there had channelized it to provide help I don’t mean old clothes and utensils, but transporting people, providing food, the rescues would have been more effective. There was actually a channel that went gloating that they were the first to get the first hand visuals of the disaster, if only they had used to resource for rescue operations…

I saw some rafters that that Ola symbols on them, I do not know if they were trumped up or if Ola just made lemonade when it was handed Lemon.

We are so busy screaming about the glacier melt, the global warming, but we do not talk of deforestation causing soil silting resulting in raised water levels. We don’t take responsibility for the concrete that we lay that stops the earth from soaking the water the water has no choice but to get hostile.

We don’t accept that we are causing so much of damage to the natural order that disasters are only waiting to take centre stage.

Yet amidst all this people are reaching out to people, and if we really think about it people are like water: much rush past you, as some will over-flood. Some will drown us or force you into their current ways. Come are cold, some are hot springs but we do try to stick to the warm ones. Some come down as raging waves, and cause a ripple, or some are like the calm sea, supporting us, quenching or thirst and flow by our side to where kisses will always stay wet.

Maybe it is time we stopped developing and began really getting civilized in our interaction be it towards Man, animal or Nature.

Earth Overshoot Day

earth overshootEvery body talks about development, connectivity, which somewhere translates to just  construction work, this is taking a toll on our ecology, the list that is damaged is so long that I am using a cheat sheet. We have out shot the planets capacity to support the need and the greed of the global population.

To raise awareness of how fast we’re depleting earth’s resources one science research based non-profit organization calculates the exact date that the global community starts running on ecological deficit each year.

This year the day was August 13th, though it usually overshoots a month or two before the date. The overshoot is as much as 25-30% that is to say we are consuming 25-30% more than what the earth can provide for that year.

How best do we address these various environmental crises? Crying wolf and talking about the stark reality is fine, but what are the pro-active steps that we can take? Or do we hide behind the numbness created by a Media Monster? Maybe roping in the media is winning half the battle but moving beyond the glamour to the hands on other half is the challenge.

By creating an alert on the Earth overshoot Day we maybe raising the red flag.  This year we collectively over draw on August 13th, that is we have already consumed more than what the earth can produce for the year.

This concept of Earth Overshoot Day is believed to have originated with the New Economic Foundation an UK based think thank that inspires and demonstrates real economic wellbeing. It is calculated by the Global Footprint Network of California.

Relevant links

http://www.neweconomics.org

http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/