Save Earth !

Flamingoes descend on Agra: Is this a global-warming phenomenon?

AGRA: What are flamingoes doing in Agra at this time of the year? This is the question plaguing environmentalists here after nearly 500 of the gregarious wading birds descended on Agra’s Keitham lake last week.

“I think the flamingoes have lost their way. This is the first time that so many of them have come to Agra. And at this time of the year, it raises some perplexing questions. Is this a global warming-related phenomenon, or has the winter advanced in north Europe? So many questions needing answers,” says Dr KS Rana, environmentalist and a professor of natural sciences.

Ravi Singh, a green farmer and eco-activist of the Barauli Aheer block sees a disturbing trend. “These birds have come looking for nesting spots. Keitham provides good food, the wetland has enough algae to provide plankton for the birds. But why Agra and at this time of the year?” Singh asked.

The forest department’s Uttham RB, in charge of the Keitham lake, said: “The lake provides the right ambience and nesting environment with enough soft mud and adequate feed, but I doubt if they would nest here or stay for long, because the lake’s water level is set to go up once the rain starts. Their nests would be destroyed,” Singh told IANS.

“These birds prefer the Rann of Kutch for nesting. But why are they not going there? Do they fear any problem?… there are no answers at the moment,” he added.

Experts also surmise that these could even be migratory birds, from across the Himalayas or from Gujarat and Rajasthan.

“But if the birds have come from distant shores, it could mean an early winter in the north,” conjectures a researcher in environment, Swabha Takshak, associated with TERI and now conducting a survey on pollution in the Yamuna river near the lake.

Dr R.P. Bharti, chief zonal forester, thinks “it’s the level of humidity and the stable temperature that suits these birds, that has attracted them to the lake. The birds usually come from Afghanistan. Some birds have also been sighted in Bharatpur’s Keoladeo Ghana wildlife sanctuary.”

“Such freak patterns would become more frequent in future. Till some years ago, there used to be more cranes (Saras) in Mathura, but now Mainpuri district has many times more cranes,” he added.

Farmers around the Keitham reservoir, 20 km from the city, however, feared the flamingoes were harbinger of bad news: a poor monsoon this year.


Have your luxuries, but spare a thought for the environment

Is there a way to live extravagantly and still save the planet?

Extravagance. Amazing cars with powerful engines and huge exhausts and half a kilometre of unleaded petrol per litre, air cons anytime everywhere, huge houses, lots of servants, expensive furniture, real leather, fur, mink, how many of us are drooling as we read this?


Let us admit it. We love extravagance. Unless we have religious reasons to stay away from something or the other, we just have to have everything. Let us just admit it; we are all not the Mahatma. That requires an extraordinary strength of mind, and more than a little madness in the blood. How many of us can boast of these characteristics?

But we all would like to see a green world, a clean world, one where you see natural beauty everywhere you turn, where breathing is a healthy and a pleasing thing to do, rather than a necessity you would avoid if you could (how many times do we walk the city with our hands over our noses?).

So how do we achieve both? How do we achieve that elusive balance between extravagance and environmental-friendly living? How do we enjoy our luxuries without feeling guilty, or wondering whether we are contributing to global warming?

By being aware, of course. You want to buy that car? That incredibly expensive car that people will stare at every time you take it out (or rather, try to spot it, because you are not driving below a hundred when you take that car out)? Go ahead, then, buy it.

But also include walking into your routine. Sure, if you want to zip on the highway, that car makes perfect sense. Sure, if you want to show off to your gym buddies, take it there. But to the grocery store? I am pretty sure those people at the grocery store really couldn’t care for the car you come in to buy your milk. Walk. Walk to your grocery store. In fact, why don’t you chart a mental map? Walk to all those places that are from a ten to fifteen-minute walk from your house.

When you go shopping, try parking your car five minutes away from the mall and walk. Saves that much petrol, and stops that much pollution. Five minutes. Can’t kill you. And even if you do have really heavy bags to carry, you could always come back and drive your car to the entrance to take them in, or ask the shop boys to help you. If for no other reason, they will help you for ten bucks out of your pocket.

Can’t be bothered to turn all lights and fans (sorry, a/c) off when you are not using them? All right, don’t. Can you turn one light off? By turning off that one light, you save that much energy. Just a pinch, maybe, but saving that pinch is better than wasting that pinch, don’t you think so?

Too cool to carry your own cloth bag to the grocery store? Ok, don’t. But you can at least make sure they put everything in one, or two bags, rather than using too many bags, cant you? I am sure that is not much of a sacrifice. But it saves that much plastic.

Too lazy to find a dustbin on the road? All right, don’t. But as you are walking, or driving, you will come across garbage heaps on the side of the road. Throw your garbage there at least. That way, you are still showing some civic sense, aren’t you?

Oh yes, go ahead and spend all the money you have on all the luxuries you can buy. Just make sure that you save wherever you can. That is all you need to do. So stop feeling guilty about all the harm you are causing society, and get involved in some any planet-saving activity. The smallest gesture makes a difference. And the word is awareness.

Sophia Yusuf – From THE HINDU

Meet for paper on environment

SIVAGANGA: The south zone Vice-Chancellors conference on “Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Global Impact – Role of Higher Education Institutions” held at Alagappa University with the Association of Indian Universities has recommended that a paper on environment should be taught in Under Graduate programmes in order to create more awareness among the people.

One unit could be on energy and climate change and three units could be on environment and one could be on disaster management, the resolution added. Energy consumption and wastage should be reduced. The students should be sensitized so as to disseminate to the people the need to reduce energy consumption and avoid wastage of energy.

The Vice-Chancellors said that energy consumption was essential to maximize the production so as to enable India become a super power by 2020. Research should be undertaken to find ways to reduce the cost of producing power from solar energy and hydrogen fuel cells so that it becomes cost effective. Scientific research could also be undertaken to find out new bio-diesel resources and solar cells research could also be pursued. Research on production of hydrogen from water and aqueous solutions in presence of catalyst and solar radiation should be undertaken.

They urged the higher education institutions and others should carry out extensive research on Solar Energy Induced Photo-catalytic Reactions. The conference also urged the government and other agencies to reduce the cost of production so as to encourage the people to take to producing electricity through non-conventional energy sources.

The conference felt that climate change was caused by emission of green gas while producing energy. Higher consumption of energy was directly related to higher emission of these green gases. However, higher consumption was also an indicator for growth of economy and of well-being of a society. Thus, energy should be provided controlling the emission of the green gases, preferably by alternate sources of energy.


Military band espouses cause of environment Military band espouses cause of environment

Stress on need to address environment related problems without delay

Udhagamandalam: The cause of environment received a shot in the arm on Saturday with the famed band of the Wellington-based Madras Regimental Centre (MRC) joining hands with the Nilgiris Cultural Association (NCA) to commemorate the World Environment Day with a sterling performance at the Saint Joseph’s Boys All India Higher Secondary School in Coonoor.

A treat:The band of the Madras Regimental Centre performing in Coonoor on Saturday. D.Radhakrishnan

With the programme being appropriately titled ‘Enviro Culture’, not only did it underscore the need to address environment related problems without delay but also highlighted the contribution of the defence establishments in Wellington towards enriching the cosmopolitan culture of the Nilgiris.

Right from the curtain raiser ‘Vayu Shakthi’, which was a marching number, the hour-long performance of the band drew loud cheers from the hundreds of persons, who had made a bee line to the venue despite torrential rain.

About a dozen numbers followed.

Tunes with a Carnatic touch thrilled audience.

While ‘Light Cavalry’ and ‘Kadam Kadam Badaye Ja’ introduced by Netaji Subash Chandra Bose to inspire patriotism brought out the best in the band, ‘Rivers of Babylon’ and ‘Spanish Gypsy Dance’ made many tap their feet. Hindi numbers reflecting love of nature were received well.

When the troupe ended with ‘Sare Jahanse Achcha’ the audience gave a prolonged standing ovation.

Since the reputation of the band preceded the performance foreign students studying in some of the residential schools were among the audience.

The band which has won many accolades comprised members from Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Lakshwadeep, Andaman and Nicobar.

Addressing the gathering, Chief Guest M.V.Ragunathan, Past Governor, Lions District 324 A1, urged the youth to learn from such presentations and vow to protect the environment.

NCA president P.S.Sundar stressed the need to protect the environment.

Principal of Saint Joseph’s Boys All India Higher Secondary School Babu Varghese also spoke.