Saturday, 12 December 2015


UN has declared 2014-2024 as Sustainable Energy Decade.

     Globally 143 million households depend on firewood for cooking.76 million  households have no electricity.In India out of 167.8 million rural households 85% are dependent on biomass for cooking.45% (75 million households ) have no electricity.Annual keresine consumption in India is 3.6 billion liters.
Our loss of energy during transmission is huge.Our electrical and electronic appliances are not energy efficient.We have to act now.

Thursday, 29 October 2015


The variability among living organisms from all sources, including marine,terrestrial, and other aquatic ecosystems is called biodiversity.This includes diversity within species , between species, and of ecosystems.This  biodiversity represents the variety of life,whether in terms of different species of birds and mammals, and the variability across ecosystems.
  • We currently use nearly 40,000 species of plants,animals ,fungi, and microbes
  • There are about 250,000 species of plants known to science.
  • Without biodiversity, humanity would cease to exist.The economic value of  global biodiversity is infinite.
  • Valuing a loss of  biodiversity is  more difficult.The key economic questions concern  the marginal value of  biodiversity itself and the benefits of preserving a particular part of a habitat
  • The benefits of preserving biodiversity derive from three sources.Direct values due to medicine and agriculture is the first one.
  • Organisms  have a vast range of uses.For example,actinobacteria is used to produce a common form of antibiotics.
  • We obtain the edible mushroom from fungi.
  • Silkworms  are useful insects which have even commercial importance.
  • The lady birds predate upon aphids.
  • Animals like sheep and buffalo provide meat,milk,transportation,leather,and fertilizer.
  • Higher plants provide timber,crop plants,insecticides,fodder and are also source of both traditional as well as modern medicines.Many common drugs are sourced from plants-
Aspirin is taken from willow bark and taxol used in the treatment of cancer is derived from the Pacific yew.Biotechnology has made it possible to take traits such as disease resistance from close relatives to crop plants,and incorporate these traits into commercial varieties.

  • By destroying a habitat, we may inadvertently destroy a close relative to a crop species that contains valuable genetic material Zea diploperennis is a relative of commercial maize( Zea mays.)It  was unknown untill recently.It is on the verge of extinction.Its last remaining habitat is in the Sierra de Monantlan in Mexico.The plant has resistance to many diseases that affect the commercial crop.It can provide genetic material for new disease resistant crop varieties.
  • Loss of crop genetic diversity over the last 50 years has been so rapid that there has been a call to establish a Red List of endangered crop varieties, based on the IUCN Red List For  endangered  species.
  • Manipulating genetic codes of organisms biologically active chemicals can be exploited as the blue print for drugs that are then produced synthetically.
  • In Costa Rica the ecosystem services related to hydrological regulation and drinking water is estimated at 2.5 million US dollar a year.

Ecosystems  provide us with numerous direct and indirect services, including waste assimilation,water purification,and nutrient cycling.We are unable to assess the value of particular species in a complex ecosystem
  • Ecoystem  cycles relate to energy input,circulation of the elements essential to life - carbon, nitrogen, hdrogen,, and so on (biogeochemical cycles) - and water circulation
  • An estimated value of protecting an individual plant species on the basis of medicinal value of  7109 dollars.It is calculated based on the drug discovery made in US.
  • Energy in terrestrial and most marine ecosystems must be constantly renewed from the sun.
  • Plants capture the sun's energy through photosynthesis to produce tissue.Plants are called autotrophs.They live on inorganic elements,such as,carbon dioxide and water.
  • 17 lakh species have been described by science.(250,000 plants,44,000 vertebrates, and 751,000 insects).Out of this 4000 are mammals.
  • Current estimates are between 5 million and 15 million species. Of this large number of species, about 85-95% have not been discovered
  • In a survey of ecosystem services conducted in 58,000 hectare national park area in Cocta Rica the hydrological regulation and drinking water were estimated at 2.5 million US dollar per year.
  • Plants capture the sun's energy through photosynthesis to produce tissues.Plants are called autotrophs. They live on inorganic elements , such as carbon dioxide and water.All animals,insects and micro-organisms are directly or indirectly fed by plants,and are called consumers or heterotrophs.
  • Trees in a rainforest act like a sponge,and moderate the local water cycle by retaining water in the soil and evaporating rainfall.
  • Biodiversity loss involves more than the loss of a few high profile species such as elephants and black rhinoceros;it concerns any regional loss of species or any reduction in the geographical range of species that reduces their genetic diversity.
  • Coral reefs provide protection to to coastal areas and protect delicate coastal wetlands and mangrove swamps from storms.Loss of significant part of the coral reefs by pollution ,or a sea level rise due to climate change would result in a significant loss of ecosystem services, where as the local loss of a species of fish would not directly.
  • Mangrove trees are critical to the functioning of coastal swamps,as they stabilize sediments and filter the water.
  • The loss of a species of mangrove,the primary producer in that ecosystem,would have a devastating effect on the local marine environment, since there are no close  substitute for these species in its role as a  primary producer capable of surviving in salt water and stabilizing the sediment  in coastal swamps.
  • Benefits of functioning ecosystems to mankind is enormous.Natural resources,flood mitigation,pollination for agriculture,carbon sequestration, and reducing soil erosion are provided by the ecosystems
  • Trees in a rain forest.act like a sponge, and moderate the local water cycle by retaining water in the soil and evaporating rainfall.In this way, they reduce the  frequency and intensity of floods.
  • Other benefits include goods such as fish or fuel wood,and services such as recreational opportunities,storm reduction,water purification,and cultural benefits,all of which have economic value.
  • Biodiversity can play a key role in the functioning of ecosystems,and thus in the quantity of services that they deliver.
  • Worldwide 60% of the ecosystem services have become degraded.Major portion of this has happened in the last 50 years.
The Human Rights Act protects us from discrimination on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation; it gives our patients in hospitals and care homes the right to be treated with compassion; and it protects us from the threat of an all-powerful state – here and anywhere in THE WORLD.(adapted from David Weaver's words)
We humans in Syria,Afghanistan,Somalia,Sudan and the like are  we respecting the act or the humans and their rights?Let the global humans respect ourselves and the brothers all over the world and keep peace.
In 1973, the Endangered Species Act(ESA)acknowledged that the ecological,educational,historical,recreational and scientific value of species diversity was inadequately accounted for in the process of economic growth and development.The act provides a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend may be conserved.

  • Earth is currently undergoing a phase of mass species extinction due to habitat loss and disruption
  • We are appropriating rich and diverse habitats for agricultural production and other disruptive forms of land use,humankind determines which species survive,which thrive, and which are pushed to extinction.

  • Rain forests are responsible for 28% of the Earth's oxygen supply
  • 70% of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by marine plants..
Species extinction is estimated to range from 5 to 30 percent per decade.
With it's thick forest cover and immense biodiversity,Bhutan is called the oxygen tank or the carbon sink of the world.
There is a crocodile bank in Chennai.It was established in the early 1970s by Romulus Whitaker.Because the  crocodile was facing extinction.Later it became an International Crocodile Bank.gathering species,which were endangered in other countries as well.
The Bank now has crocodile from all over the world and has become a gene pool for all species . Over 50,000 visitors come here every year.Whitaker's single but enormous contribution biodiversity conservation is so dedicated and unique.

  • Seed banks,zoos,and botanical gardens are important for biodiversity conservation,but they are beset with many difficulties.
  • There are a range of international conventions and agreements to promote biodiversity conservation , the most important being the CBD(Convention on Biological Diversity).


Let us take a pledge that we will not contaminate air,water,soil,and food articles this year

  • Biotechnology  promises immense benefits for agriculture,food production, and health,but brings with it many problems too.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015


Ecosystems are or can be the wealth of the poor.For many of the 1.1 billion people living in severe poverty, nature has always been a daily lifeline, an asset for those with few other material assets.Example:harvests from forests/fisheries/farm fields.Income from ecosystem- what we call environmental income.Productive ecosystems are the basis of a sustainable income stream from nature.


  • Mangroves,tidal marshes  and sea grasses sequester and store large quantities of blue carbon in the plants, but mainly in the soils beneath them.About 95%  to 99% of total carbon stocks of salt marshes and sea grasses are stored in the soils beneath them.

  • Global annual loss of these ecosystems is at the rate 1-2 % for tidal marshes ;0.7 -3% for mangroves; and 0.4- 2.6% for sea grasses. 
  • An ecosystem has a living component ,called biotic community or biota and non-living components called abiotic conditions.
  • The loss of the ecosystems releases significant emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere and ocean contributing to Climate Change .Emissions from drained coastal wetlands result in about 3-19% of emissions from REDD(Reducing Emissions and Forest Degradation). 
  • Coastal ecosystems provide other benefits for Climate Change adaptation,local livelihoods, tourism and culture such as protection of storms and prevention of shoreline erosion,regulation of coastal water quality,habitat for important fish species and other vulnerable species.

  • More than 40% of the world's oxygen is produced by rain forests. 
  • Forests   play  an important role in the livelihoods and welfare of a vast number of people who live in and around  the forest.
  • By absorbing water and holding soil in place, forests reduce risk of floods and mudslides that result from earthquakes and hurricanes.
  • Forests protect watersheds which supply fresh water to rivers.Rivers are critical sources of drinking water.The cloud forests of La  Tigra National Park in Honduras provide more than 40% of the water supply for the capital city,Tegucigalpa and its 850,000 people.
  • More than 1.6 billion people around the world depend to varying degrees on forests for their livelihoods,not just for food but also for fuel,for livestock grazing areas and for medicine.
  • Forests are home to 80% of the world's terrestrial biodiversity.
  • The carbon in forests exceeds the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere.Forests and forest soils store more than ONE TRILLION TONNES OF CARBON
  • In 2004 trade in wood-based products such as bamboo,mushrooms,game,fruit,medicinal plants,fibre,gums,resins has been estimated at 11 BILLION US DOLLAR PER YEAR.
  • More than a quarter of modern medicines; worth an estimated 108 billion US dollars a year, originate from tropical forest  plants.
MMANGROVES     Soldiers of Our Coasts

Mangroves have special mechanisms to make them salt tolerant.Some mangroves take in salt and excrete it through salt glands while others filter filter salts at the root zone itself by means of reverse osmosis, thereby taking in only water.There are some mangroves that accumulate salt in the leaves,which they shed during summer. 

  • Globally there are 60 true mangrove species,in 27 genera and 20 families.
  • In   India  there are 34 species of true mangroves.Bhitarkanika(Orissa) has 31 sp. ,the Sunderbands have 27 sp. and the Andaman & Nicobar islands have 24 sp
  • Mangrove trees are hermaphrodites.This means they have both male and female flowers on the same tree and pollinate and reproduce on their own.
  • India is home to more than 7% of the world's mangrove forests.Mangroves make up 8% of  the Indian coastline .80% of these forests are found on the eastern coast of India.
  • Mangroves are found in over two thirds of the salt water coastal areas of tropical and sub tropical Africa , Asia , Australia , and North and South America.
In  the temple  town of Chidambaram,  near  Pichavaram, Tamil Nadu,  the thillai tree  (Excoecaria  agallocha)  a   type of mangrove , is beieved to have active chemicals that   can  cure leprosy.
  • Mangroves are nesting grounds for hundreds of species of birds, which build nests on the branches.
  • Mangroves are very leafy and take in a lot of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to make biomass.This reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • During Vietnam war 11 million gallons of herbicide known as Agent Orange was sprayed over more than 1000 square kilometers of mangrove forests in the Mekong Delta.Even today , not a single mangrove plant grows in this region
  • If mangroves are destroyed migratory birds will no longer have a safe haven to halt and rest..
  • Mangrove deforestation is contributing to decline in fisheries,degradation of clean water supplies, increasing salinity of coastal soils, erosion, and land subsidence.
  • The unique Sunderbans get their name from the mangrove species Heritiera formes, locally known as Sundari, a common species in the region.
  • Indonesia has the largest area under mangroves with 30% of global coverage, followed by Brazil,Australia,   and India
  • Mangroves are the most productive ecosystems..
  • Red Mangroves is the most common mangrove species in the world.Rhizophora genus (Red Mangroves) is well adapted to salty swamps.Black Mangroves,white mangroves,and  buttonwood mangrove grow around red mangrove clusters.
  • Mangroves survive in very little fresh water.They have  thick, waxy leaves to prevent loss of water by evaporation.Mangroves grow in water logged soil with little oxygen and nitrogen.So their roots absorb gases like oxygen and nitrogen directly from the atmosphere.
  • Mangroves slow down the force of the sea waves and thus, protect the coastline.
  • Roots trap silt and sediments that may contain dangerous heavy metals.As a result, clear water washes out into the sea, because of which the coral reefs flourish.
  • Sunderban Mangrove forests are home to more than 35 species of reptiles, 270 sp. of birds,42 sp.of mammals.Among them is the salt water or estuarine Crocodile - the largest of all living reptiles.In India this blobally endangered species is also found on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.


The ozone layer over the Earth depletes due to the use of certain chemicals.Chloroflurocarbons(CFCs) is the group name for such chemicals.These chemicals are used as refrigerantrs and aerosol propellants.The Ozone layer in the atmosphere absorbs most of the harmful ultra violet radiation from the sun.Depleting the ozone layer causes skin cancers,eye cataracts,weakened immune systems,reduced plant yields,damage to ocean ecosystems,reduced fishing yields and adverse effects on animals.The Vienna Convention (March 1985) was a frame work agreement followed by Montreal Protocol(2009) to take measures to protect human health and environment against human activities that modify the ozone layer.As a result of the Montreal Protocol  98 % of ozone depleting substances have been phased out.Still the use of these substances are not completely banned or out of use.
        PFCs are used in many industrial processes and consumer products.To make water proof products and dirt repellants PFC is used.PFCs are broken down only very slowly,they remain in the environment for many years and dispersed across the entire planet.

    About 400 tigers live and swim among the mangrove islands and hunt scarce prey like chital deer,barking deer, and wild pig.Sunderbans is also the nesting place of the endangered Olive Ridley Turtles, one of the smallest species of marine turtles in the world.Other endangered animals include the white bellied sea eagles and the Indian smooth-coated otters.


    Sea grass supports many animals in the ecosystem

    • Sea grass habitat is declining globally.Under water marine coastal plants are losing 7% of their known area per year.It was confirmed at the 11th  International Sea grass Biology Workshop(ISBW 11) in Sanya(China).Sea grass loss is driven by unsustainable practices in coastal regions including rapid development and pollution
    • Sea turtles,dugongs,sea horses etc. depend on sea grasses for food and habitat.Sea grasses act as nurseries for fishery species and stabilize and filter shallow coastal environments.
    • Mangroves,tidal marshes and sea grasses sequester and store large quantities of blue carbon in the plants, but mainly in the soils beneath them.About 95% to 99% of total carbon stocks of salt marshes and sea grasses are stored in the soils beneath them..
    • Global annual loss of these ecosystems is at the rate of 1 - 2% for tidal marshes; 0.7 - 3% for mangroves; and 0.4 - 2.6% for sea grasses.
    • The loss of these systems releases significant emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and the ocean, contributes to climate change.
    • Emissions from drained coastal wetlands result in about 3 - 19% of emissions from REDD(Reducing Emissions and Forest Degradation)
    • Coastal ecosystems provide other benefits for Climate Change adaptation,local livelihoods,tourism, and culture such as protection from storms and prevention of shoreline erosion,regulation of coastal water quality,habitat for important fish species and other vulnerable species.
    • Ecosystem services that coral reefs are worth 31 billion dollars a year.
    • Sea grass supports many animals in the ecosystem
    • If the seagrass disappears, the balance in the ecosystem collapseTiger sharks help the .seagrass at just the right level by eating the animals that eat the grass
    • The dugongs and turtles stay around the  seagrass area.They cannot leave the sea grass area.Dolphins look for fish to eat.Tiger sharks travel slowly to the area where the dolphins,turtles,and dugong are.

    During the World Forest Week 2014 FAO launched a Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism to help countries meet the Bonn Challenge to restore 150 million hectares of Degraded and Deforested Lands by 2020, we have to create the rich landscapes the world needs.


    • Ecosystems represent complex interactions among organisms between them and the environment.
    • Organisms have roles like producers, consumers, and decomposers in the food chain.They maintain the flow of matter and energy.
    • An ecosystem always moves towards a state of dynamic balance.
    • Every species has it's ecological niche in an ecosystem.
    • Water and carbon are continuously cycled in the biosphere.
    • Ecosystems provide invaluable services to the biosphere, which includes the human beings.

    • More than 500 million people worldwide depend on them for food, protection,jobs,and recreation.Their resources and services are worth 375 billion dollars each year.Yet they cover less than 1% of Earth's surface.
    • Highly vulnerable to climate change.16% of world's reefs are suffering serious damage during Global Warming.It got bleached during 1998 warming event.
    • According to status of coral reefs 2004, 70% of the world  coral reefs were threatened or destroyed,20% damaged beyond repair, and within the Caribbean alone, many coral reefs have lost 80% of  coral species.The loss of these ecosystems would perturb livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of millions of people around the world.
    • More than 450 million people live within 60 kilometers of coral reefs,with majority directly or indirectly deriving food and income from them.
    • Reefs help protect the coastal zone from the impact of waves and storms.
    • Coral reefs are among the world's oldest , most diverse , and most productive ecosystems.
    • Coral reefs are  one of the natural wonders of the ocean.
    • Coral reefs are found in the shallow coastal zones of tropical and sub tropical oceans,where light can penetrate.
    • Corals are formed by huge colonies of tiny organisms called polyps.They secrete calcium carbonate or limestone to form a protective crust around their soft bodies.
    • Following their death outer skeletons remain as a platform for others to continue building the coral
    • The intricate crevices and holesin the coral catacombs become the home for 25% of all marine species.
    • The colour of the corals comes from zooxanthellae(tiny single celled algae) that live inside the tissues of the polyps.
    • Zooxanthellae produce food and oxygen through photosynthesis in return for the home provided by the polyps.
    • Coral reefs perform many ecological services.When polyps form their shells, they absorb some CO2 as part of the carbon cycle.
    • Reefs help protect the coastal zone from the impact of waves and storms.

    Under water marine coastal plants are losing 7% of their known area per was confirmed at the International Seagrass Biology Workshop in Sanya(China).It is driven by unsustainable practices in coastal regions including rapid development and pollution.

    Monday, 20 July 2015

    Coal is currently responsible for 36 percent of carbon dioxide emission in the world.It also releases radioactive particles into the atmosphere,more than a nuclear power plant.Every year ,air pollution from coal kills thousands and causes respiratory diseases in thousands of people.

    Saturday, 18 July 2015

    At current rates
     of use, the world's coal reserves will probably last for some 200 years.Among the fossilvfuels , coal is most harmful to the environment.

    Friday, 17 July 2015

    Currently ,there are 1500 major oil fields in operation,of which 400 large ones account for 60 - 70 percent of productioubnn.The discovery of new big fields peaked in 1962 and, since 1980 , jusy 40 have been found.Geologists agree that there are no dbig ones left for us to discover.

    • Fossil fuels such as oil,coal and gas provide 80% of power we use every day.
    • India produces 680,000 barrels of oil per day.Consumption is 3 million barrels a day.
    • Production of Natural gas 1.4 trillion cubic feet and consumption 1.8 trillion cubic feet.
    • 610 million tons of coal is produced and consumes 680 million tons.

    Thursday, 25 June 2015


    • Fossils are formed from plants and animals buried quickly under the earth.When a plant or animal dies it is usually eaten by other living things so that nothing remains.If the plant or animal was buried quickly after death,or even buried alive, it's body may be preserved.

    • A fossil is made from minerals.A dead plant or animal can be dissolved by water.An empty space in the shape of the plant or animal is left in the mud and fills with minerals from the surrounding rock.Sometimes the minerals simply settle in the body, making it harder and heavier.
    • Some fossils look like coiled snakes but are really shell fish.They are ammonites. An ammonite's body was covered by a spiral shell.The body rotted away leaving the shell to become fossil. Ammonites lived in the sea at the same time as the dinosaurs lived on land.
    • Dinosaurs did not just leave fossil bones.Some left whole skeletons. Fossilised teeth ,skin,eggs and droppings have been found.When they walked across mud left tracks behind that became fossils.By looking at those ,scientists discovered how dinosaurs walked and how they could run.
    Fossil fuels are burnt every day for all our routine works as a source of energy.Three hundred million years ago land was covered by forests and swamps that did not rot away.Over time their remains were squashed and heated so much that they turned into coal.Today coal is used to work generators that make electricity.

    Fossil fuel is a naturally occurring fuel contained in coal,oil and natural gas.It is formed as an organic sedimentary deposit.It contains carbon or hydrocarbon produced by the decomposition of fossilised remains of plants and animals.It can be burned for heat or power.Fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide into the air when they are burned.This contributes to the Green House Effect and Global Warming.These are non-renewable resources.Because we use them much faster than they form naturally.Substitutes and alternative forms of energy are being actively sought and developed as a matter of urgency.Before fossil fuel supplies run out completely or before they become so scarce that price rises make them non-viable as a major energy source.

          The quantity of particular fossil fuel that is known to exist based on geological and engineering evidence and that can be recovered under current economic conditions and with available technology.

    Estimated recoverable reserves are 1.4 to 2.1 trillion barrels.About 70 percent  of the world's crude oil reserves are with the OPEC countries.

    As  the world's population has grown and we have invented petrol - guzzling cars and built fuel-hungry homes, our energy needs have increased dramatically.Total world wide energy use has increased by about 14 times since the early 20th century.