Gem 7-6-change your ways

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1. E-Newsletter-7/6 Green Earth Movement An E-Newsletter for the cause of Environment, Peace, Harmony and Justice Remember - “you and I can decide the future” Could…
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  • 1. E-Newsletter-7/6 Green Earth Movement An E-Newsletter for the cause of Environment, Peace, Harmony and Justice Remember - “you and I can decide the future” Could we set aside half the Earth for nature? aside-half-the-earth-for-nature A bald uakari monkey (Cacajao calvus) in the flooded forest of the Amazon in Brazil. The IUCN Red List categorizes this species as vulnerable. Photograph: Alamy As of today, the only place in the universe where we are certain life exists is on our little home, the third planet from the sun. But also as of today, species on Earth are winking out at rates likely not seen since the demise of the dinosaurs. If we don’t change our ways, we will witness a mass extinction event that will not only leave our world a far more boring and lonely place, but will undercut the very survival of our species . So, what do we do? E.O. Wilson, one of the world’s most respected biologists, has proposed a radical, wild and challenging idea to our species: set aside half of the planet as nature preserves. “Even in the best scenarios of conventional conservation practice the losses [of biodiversity] should be considered unacceptable by civilised peoples,” Wilson writes in his new book, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life. One of the world’s most respected biologists, Wilson is known as the father of sociobiology, a specialist in island biogeography, an expert on ant societies and a passionate conservationist. In the book, Wilson argues eloquently for setting aside half of the planet for nature, including both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. He writes that it’s time for the conservation community to set a big goal, instead of aiming for incremental progress.
  • 2. “People understand and prefer goals,” he writes. “They need a victory, not just news that progress is being made. It is human nature to yearn for finality, something achieved by which their anxieties and fears are put to rest…It is further our nature to choose large goals that while difficult are potentially game-changing and universal in benefit. To strive against odds on behalf of all life would be humanity at its most noble.” The reason why half is the answer, according to Wilson, is located deep in the science of ecology. “The principal cause of extinction is habitat loss. With a decrease of habitat, the sustainable number of species in it drops by (roughly) the fourth root of the habitable area,” Wilson wrote via email, referencing the species-area curve equation that describes how many species are capable of surviving long-term in a particular area. By preserving half of the planet, we would theoretically protect 80% of the world’s species from extinction, according to the species-area curve. If protection efforts, however, focus on the most biodiverse areas (think tropical forests and coral reefs), we could potentially protect more than 80% of species without going beyond the half-Earth goal. In contrast, if we only protect 10% of the Earth, we are set to lose around half of the planet’s species over time. This is the track we are currently on. “The extinction rate our behavior is now imposing on the rest of life, and seems destined to continue, is…the equivalent of a Chicxulub-sized asteroid strike played out over several human generations,” Wilson writes in Half-Earth, referencing the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs – at least those that didn’t evolve into birds. According to the World Database on Protected Areas, the world has protected 15.4% of terrestrial area, including inland waters, as of 2014. But protection of the oceans lags far behind with only 3.4% of marine environments under some form of protection. The Aichi Biodiversity Target has set a goal of protecting 17% of land areas and 10% of the oceans by 2020. But Wilson writes in his book that this is “in fact nowhere close to enough.” Wilson’s big idea, of course, is not without its critics. In an essay for Aeon, Robert Fletcher and Bram Büscher, both social scientists with Wageningen University in the Netherlands, dub Wilson’s idea “truly bizarre.” IISc mini forest a pristine green space within concrete jungle Naveen Menezes, Bengaluru, June 20, 2016, DHNS: While the once ‘air conditioned’ Bengaluru has become a heat trap withincreasing highrises, a mini-forest inthe IISc shows how a green lung space can thrive withinthe city. Situated in the core area of Bengaluru, the ambience in the 400-acre Indian Institute of Science campus is in stark contrast that of the city. While the streets outside the campus are milling with people and noisy
  • 3. motor vehicles, the stress-free atmosphere within is serene, with lush greenery and many bicycles, besides two-wheelers and cars going around silently. While this is just part of the campus, the 1.5-hectare mini forest has much more to offer and is a perfect habitat for birds and animals. This kind of green patch is not only an arboretum for evergreen tree species but also serves as home for several fauna and adaptable species. The undisturbed greenery also serves as an efficient carbon sink, trapping free carbon in the atmosphere, bringing the temperature down by a degree. Encouraging people and the government and even spiritual leaders to replicate a similar model in their respective neighbourhoods, Prof TV Ramachandra, Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc wanted more green pockets in and around other urban spaces. He said saplings of 49 species of trees from Western Ghats were planted inside the IISc premises in 1983 and their performance was monitored for more than two decades. “Contrary to the belief that tree species are very sensitive to change of location and conditions, the introduced trees have grown as well as they would do in their native habitat and maintained their phenology. Further, they have grown in perfect harmony with trees native to the location,” he noted. Besides, the undisturbed mini-forest plot progressively developed rich micro- and macro-fauna, from insects, frogs, snakes to birds and smaller mammals like the most elusive Slender Loris. The entire plot is amazingly transformed into the type of a habitat that prevails in the moist forests of Western Ghats, the study observed. On the other hand, the temperature profile analysis through the computation of Land Surface Temperature (LST) showed that the temperature in this area was at least two degrees lower than the surrounding regions. And the water table at this location was at about 3 to 3.5 m below the ground, while it is in the range of 60-70 m depth in the IISc campus,” the study noted, indicating how land cover dynamics play a decisive role in recharging the groundwater sources. From ShankarSharma Private Consultancy IISc mini forest a pristine green space in a large concrete jungle called Bangalore DearDr. Ramachandra, Congratulations to you, your team and all concernedin IISc to have created a mini forest within IISc campus. WheneverI visited IISc, I always felt that I was in a different world because ofthe greeneryand the serenity. I had mentioned to Dr. Atul Chokshi,how I felt envious of those staff members ofIISc who were fortunate to live in such a green environmentwithin a large concrete jungle known as Bangalore. Mostimportantly, your efforts should be a clear warning to the state govt. authorities on the looming crises of ecologyin Bangalore city, in particular, and elsewhere in the state of continuing to neglectthe environment. Let us hope this article will awaken ourforest departmentmandarins (who seem to have forgotten their basic science and the implied oath to save the environment)quickly of huge opportunities available within Bangalore and othercities to turn the tide of global warming.
  • 4. The benefits of the mini forest in IISc campus,as mentioned in the article, should have been obvious for any high schoolstudent, butyour efforts to demonstrate the same with a practical example so close to the centre of power,should be a lesson for our government,as to whatcan be done,and mostimportantly, whatmust not be done. Every govt. department/facility with a large estate, and every educationalinstitution with a large compound around should considerestablishing such a miniforest /micro environmentwithin large urban areas.Letus also hope that this article will persuade ourauthorities to protect and enhance the ecologyofopen spaces available within urban areas,such as parks and lakes. Congratulations to all of you once again.I shall be happyto share this article with hundreds aroundthe country of the good work done in IISc. Regards ShankarSharma WALK WITH NATURE By Gyalwang Drukpa, TOI We all come from nature and are a part of nature, we are nature. When we think life is just horrible, if we walk with nature for a little while, we are often able to broaden our view and see life in a different, better light. Nature doesn't worry about the past or race to the future. Even in our urban environments, taking time to look around and enjoy the journey from one place to the next will often result in noticing things that surprise and delight us. Nature also has a way of bringing us into the moment and into our body , sometimes to help us contemplate and often to help us let go of our worries and get back to the basics. Modern technology and communication mean that we now spend so much time in the virtual world that it is easy to lose our connection with nature. I myself end up looking at the computer for hours, and yet, often little is achieved, it is a true challenge to one's powers of attention. We cannot simply sit still and quiet in our surroundings without pulling out our phone or sending another email. This is far from calming or comforting; our minds whirr away , just like our gadgets, on permanent alert, flitting from one thing to the other. It becomes difficult to focus on just one thing, just this moment, what we are doing or who we are with right here in the present. I know people who have thousands of `friends' they have never even met. We have to be the boss with technology and not let it take control of us; we have to be careful and mindful.
  • 5. Government set to plant 3 crore trees tomorrow DNA CORROSPONDENCE To take the forest area in the state to 33% up from current 20.01%, the state government has chalked out an ambitious plan to plant 3.11 crore seedlings in Maharashtra on July 1. However, space-starved Mumbai city and the suburbs will see a minimal share in the plantation drive. Maharashtra will see 3,11,66,057 seedlings being planted with peoples' participation, surpassing the earlier target of 2 crore trees. Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, who is also the state's forest minister, said they planned to plant 50 crore trees in the next three years including over 3 crore this year, 3 crore next year, 10 crore in 2018 and 25 crore in 2019. In addition, 12.27 crore trees will be planted in gram panchayat areas. He added that to take the forest cover to 33% as envisaged in the National Forest Police, 1988, the state needed to plant 400 crore trees on 40,000 sq km to take the forest area to around 1 lakh sq km of the total geographical area of over 3.07 lakh sq km. Thus, plantations will also have to be undertaken non-forest areas. On July 1, governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Mungantiwar and celebrities will plant trees at the Mahim nature park. However, Mumbai city and the suburbs, which suffer from a space crunch, and lack of adequate open spaces will see just 8,054 and 15,596 seedlings being planted respectively by the forest department and other entities like NGOs. This covers just 0.03% and 0.05% of the plantation drive at 146 sites. The highest tree plantation will happen in Nashik (9.71%), followed by Pune (6.90%) and Ahmednagar (6.84%). Even neighboring Thane will see trees being planted on 1,136 sites with 10,39,984 seedlings being planted covering 3.34% of the saplings to be planted in the state. A total of 147 varieties of trees will be planted. The state will adopt the "Bihar pattern" wherein one family will be appointed to take care of 1,000 planted trees. Plans have been chalked out for drought-hit Marathwada with the Eco Battalions of the Indian Army. For a PPT - BEST TREE CONTEST visit Go to GEM PPT section and click BEST TREE CONTEST
  • 6. BEST TREE CONTEST Organised by GEM and INFANT JESUS HIGH SCHOOL, Jogeshwari-East. For further details read the PPT State govt will be fined if it is found violating green laws TNN | Jun 26, 2016, 12.56 PM IST Mysuru: Justice Jawad Rahim, judicial member, National Green Tribunal (NGT, New Delhi) on Saturday said that if the state government is found guilty of violating the provisions of Forest Act or environmental laws with regard to development projects taken up at Chamundi Hills, there is a provision under the NGT Act to impose a fine of up to Rs 10 crore on the government. The state government has started various development works worth Rs 78 crore atop Chamundi Hills and reserved another Rs 30 crore for road widening. But green activists are crying foul, claiming that the government has not obtained clearance from the forest department for the project. City-based Mysuru Grahakara Parishat and Let's Do It! Mysuru, a citizens' forum, had expressed their displeasure by staging protests against the proposed projects that are under way, claiming that the works may imbalance the ecology. Following pressure from various organizations, DC C Shikha convened a meeting on June 22. After interacting with officials and organizations, she immediately called upon the authorities concerned to stop the ongoing work till they get environmental clearance.
  • 7. Speaking to STOI on the sidelines of an event, Justice Jawad Rahim said: "Violation of rules governing protection of environment attracts a fine. The issue of development projects at Chamundi Hills and the controversy surrounding it has not come to my notice. If the government is found to have violated the norms to make way for development projects, there is a provision to levy a fine of up to Rs 10 crore." Any citizen can file a petition and all complaints will be treated seriously. "Once we receive complaints, we will inspect the spot and will take suitable action to protect nature. There are instances where the tribunal fined government agencies, " stated Justice Jawad. Bhamy V Shenoy of MGP said that a formal complaint was filed with NGT (Chennai) in May. "But they have returned the file. We may file a PIL," he said. Nashikites walk an extra mile to save river Sumita Sarkar| TNN | Jun 22, 2016, Nashik: All that one remembers after a walk along the stretch of Nandini, now known as Nasardi nullah, from Takli Sangam to Tapovan Road are the stink the river emanates and the sewage and household waste choking its flow. Debris piled along the river after trenches were dug years ago, making room for the water hyaninth to spread gradually and garbage and plastic finding place. On Tuesday morning, the Times Group (Maharashtra Times and The Times of India), which has taken the initiative to clean the river, conducted the first heritage walk from Takli Sangam to Tapovan Road as part of the campaign and it was attended by several government officials, local corporators and activists. The pledge after the walk was loud and clear - to do away with the debris and sewage and start extensive plantation of indigenous trees along both sides of the river. Nandini originates from Santusha hill near Mahirawani and Belgaon Dhaga and meets the Godavari at Takli Sangam. From Pimpalgaon Bahula, where the Nandini enters the municipal limits till its confluence with Godavari at Takli Sangam, the river is in a sorry state. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board had in 2012 announced it the worst polluted river in the city. And the river has not been able to shed the tag so far. Additional municipal commissioner Jeevan Sonawane and other civic officials, corporators Rahul Dive, Megha Salve and Archana Thorat and several environment activists associated with the Times Group project participated in the heritage walk. "We have to remove the debris at any cost and plant indigenous trees on either side of the river. The leaks meeting the river have to be stopped," an activist said.
  • 8. At some places, sewage bypasses the chambers. One big pipeline enters the river near Takli Sangam from the military area. "We will talk to the defence authorities to treat the water before it is released into the river. Solid waste can be addressed through awareness, for which we are preparing an action plan. Phytorid treatment can also be done," the activist said. "With the help of tree activist Shekhar Gaikwad and school children, we will get the trees planted," said corporator Rahul Dive. Municipal commissioner Sonawane said the civic authorities would ensure that the debris by the river and on the compound road were picked up. Mumbaikars take the ‘cycle2work’ challenge Alka Dhupkar, Mumbai Mirror Rains fail to dampen spirits of cyclists who reached their offices from areas in and around the city including Thane, Borivali, Kandivali, Mulund; participants vow to take up the routine every last Friday of the month For Mumbai Port Trust employee Darshan Kalarickal (43), Friday morning was different. He did not have to take the usual autorickshaw from his house in Char Bungalows, Andheri, to the railway station nor did he have to jostle for space in the overcrowded local train He even reached his office near the Government Post Office at Fort, earlier than usual. What drastic and costly lifestyle change did he make? He just rode a bicycle to work. “I have heard people complaining about how bigger vehicles curse cyclists all the time but I came across none of that. In fact, people were curious than annoyed, and some even showed me thumbs-ups along the route,“ said Darshan. One of the participants of the `cycle2work' campaign launched by the Smart Commute Foundation (SCF), founded by Firoza Suresh, Darshan is now a changed man. He plans to be a regular participant of the campaign, agreeing to ride the 56 kilometre (two-way) stretch every last Friday of the month. “To ask people to ride cycles to work everyday is a difficult proposition especially with most offices not having proper shower facilities for them to freshen up. We are in talks with the BMC Commissioner who has sought a report on the necessary infrastructural policy changes required,“ said Firoza. Darshan is among many who participated from Thane, Borivali, Kandivali, Mulund and other areas in and around Mumbai. Some even marked their attendance on the `Smart Commute' app an Android app developed by Chetan Temker, another active cycler, for this purpose. Even the morning rains in different parts of the city delayed their starts, it failed to dampen their spirits. The participants took care to ensure their bicycle's visibility to other vehicles on the road by employing a variety of measures including installing front and backlights, reflectors under the seat and sticking glow- in-the-dark stickers on the tyre rims.
  • 9. Meanwhile in Ghatkopar, a group in association with the BMC, has been renting out cycles on a trial basis for a daily rent of Rs five. According to Kisan Gopale, who founded the Cycle Parivhan Seva in Bhatwadi, Ghatkopar, the service has received a good response. Underbellies of city’s flyovers to get the green facelift toi Mumbai’s first garden under flyover After opening the city's first park under a flyover in Matunga, the municipal commissioner has directed BMC officials to come up with suggestions to beautify flyovers in their areas. They also
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