While the Climate drama is unfolding between world powers in Copenhagen, let us bring this third part of the series of stories. Global Warming – Copenhagen – A progress report.
Copenhagen discussion is in progress. Rift and negotiation moves are developing simultaneously. Rich and poor nations fight for their rights on Green House Gas emissions. Representatives of 192 UN nations are participating in the biggest climate change summit in history.
Few days before the beginning of Copenhagen summit, a group of students planted hundreds of mangrove trees along Jakarta Bay.
They have a target of planting 9 million mangrove trees over the next few months.
This is a big step as far as present generation is concerned.
During a period, when youngsters try to keep away from soil and wetlands, this student group walked along the muddy wet lands to recover the damage of deforestation.
This excellent initiative demonstrates that our young generation is realising the dangers of climate change.
Environmentalists and climate change experts have supported the move. They suggest that such initiatives must be highlighted among children and youth to protect our environment from disasters.
Mangroves have a great role in defending land from rising sea levels and stronger tropical storms. However, over the last 50 years, about one third of the world’s mangrove forests have been lost, reports the World Conservation Union. In India mangroves in Sunder ban is losing 100 square kilometers of mangroves every year. The damage that is caused by the loss of natural habitat is so huge and irrecoverable.
Coastal communities are the most affected group. One tenth of the global population lives in coastal area that lies within just ten meters above sea level. Filtering and trapping of pollutants and stabilization of coastal land is the main contribution of mangroves. One of the biggest environmental issues faced by the world is rising of sea level.
Local knowledge is likely to be the most useful in preventing disasters on the ground.
Adaptation and Mitigation: Where India stands?
Preparation for coping with the impact of climate change is adaptation. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says these are processes, practices and structures to moderate potential damages or to benefit from opportunities associated with climate change.
Mitigation refers to tackling the causes of climate change through actions that reduce green house gas emissions or help remove gases from the atmosphere.
Marching to Warming…
If the present trend persists 57 % of worlds population will live in urban areas, reports National Intelligence Council, USA. Most urban growth would be without adequate support in environment.
Industrialization and urbanization without proper vision and planning disturbed and damaged Indian environment. Huge dams, industrial pollution and deforestation made irreparable damage to India.
In Kerala, also urbanization speeds up the global warming. Shift of people to urban areas boost the emission substantially, according to researchers.
Population growth is said to be India’s greatest challenge to face emission. Indian researchers Jyoti Parikh and JP Painuly revealed falling birth rates in the 1990s could mean significant reduction in green gas emission. According to their study, each birth results not only in the emission attributable to that person in his or her life time, but also the emissions of all his or her descendants. Many factors like transport, resources and goods stimulate carbon emission.
IPCC points out the instance of carbon sequestration by trees and soils.
New thought for food
Food production in developing countries is affected by climate change. Indian staple food grains like wheat and rice is facing major fall in production. Price hike in food grains also makes life miserable.
Another study conducted by Kerala Agricultural University has revealed that Kerala had lost huge amount of agriculture and food grains as the result of climatic change. Untimely raining and drought has lead to huge decline in agricultural production. India recorded 17 % decline in agriculture production due to climate change.
According to many climate change experts, it is the time for a second green revolution. Dr.M.S.Swaminathan, the Father of Indian Green Revolution had once said the use of pesticide with little regard to environment was a major threat to our environment.
India had many traditional methods to balance development and environment. Its nature preservation and forest-conservation methods were inherited since the age of sages.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recommend more holistic approach on food production, through feasible mitigation and adaptation methods. They have recommended the world to focus on adaptation methods to reduce emission and improve productivity in agriculture. There must have positive changes in agriculture sector, many experts in the filed of agriculture had pointed out the importance of India’s adaptation methods. According to FAO, by 2050, a projected population of 9.5 billion will depend on farmers for their food. This requires a growth of 70 percent in agricultural production.
International Food Research Institute also recommends enhancing research including biotechnology to help overcome stresses due to climate change for better crop and live stock productivity. India has not reached in an advanced stage of mitigation policy on agriculture. We need to move along the correct direction of community based adaptation policy and decision support system for transfer of agro technology towards sustainable agriculture development.
Kerala, once famous for its dense rain forests and immense resource of natural biodiversity of plants, birds and animal species is now facing threat to its environment. Natural fountains and wetlands have also been lost in large numbers all around Kerala. The quantity of monsoon rain is decreasing each year. Seawater is also rising proportionally.
Kerala bird watchers spotted only 241 of species against 300 last year.
The drastic dip in the number of birds show the climatic effect of God’s own country. Thattekkad bird sanctuary witnessed a missing of 50 % of species.
Many real origins of Kerala birds have been extinct in large number according to the Kerala bird watchers survey coordinated by WWF-India.
Certain types of hot loving teals are seen in large numbers, even in rural areas of Kerala. This shows how fast God’s own country with as many as natural water resources and unravished greenery has become warmest than before. Migratory birds that love dry lands are now on the look out for Kerala as their destination. Same time, birds searching for cool lands are rare in Kerala. Untimely raining, coastal erosion, drought and drinking water scarcity also mark Kerala’s climatic change.
In Ponmudi, Pea Fowl, a dry land loving bird was spotted for the first time, as the result of atmospheric warming in Kerala. Common House Sparrows were also not spotted in many parts of Kerala. Urbanization and food scarcity is said to be the reason for the missing of this common Kerala bird.
Kerala’s wild life sanctuaries were formerly filled with lots of natural fountains that balanced the eco system and nurtured the nearby agricultural farms. Felling of trees and the damage of wet lands are the main reason for the blockades of fountains. Aralam, Thekkady… sanctuaries are facing the set backs.
Kerala is losing its wonderful wetlands along with other powerful centers of bio-diversity conservation.
Unfortunately, these are extremely endangered in Kerala at present due to various factors. Water birds are considered as indicators of the quality of wetlands. Wild Life department had undertaken a water bird monitoring program for the wetlands of North Kerala. This involves two components viz. water bird census and heronry census. This study revealed the loss in water birds and wet lands. Kerala lost many heronries, the community nesting places of water birds.
Rivers, paddy fields, natural water resources have all been lost in Kerala. Bharathapuzha, the famous river is just like a dry land now. Pamba, Periyar and Kaveri have been widely polluted. All these are martyrs of our shallow development.
Studies show that women are most vulnerable group in climate change. At the same time, they are the change agents in emission reduction, as well.
Maintain forests and abate emissions
According to United Nations Population Fund, an assessment of deforestation in 61 nations between 1990 and 2005 found that countries with large or numerous women’s and environmental non-governmental organizations showed significantly lower levels of forest loss.
Reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD) highlights the need for sustainable forest management (SFM).Industrial logging and urbanization without sustainable outlook ruin Indian forest wealth and bio-diversity. Indian conservation method based on joint forest management (JFM) techniques will boost the protection of natural resources, believe social scientists. Executive machinery, numerous NGO s and some dedicated environmental organizations add prospects to protecting environment.
Formulation of effective policies with due emphasis on sustainable development at the grass roots, would be helpful to save our planet for posterity, says environmental experts. Strict adoption and systematic follow up methods are necessary components to achieve targets visualized