Human beings are not the most dominant species by intelligence alone, we are also the most dominant in terms of presence. There is no other large species (in terms of size and resource requirements) in the world that comes close to the 7 billion that we number. That, is not an accomplishment. Our numbers are the single biggest problem we have created for ourselves and it is one of the 4 reasons why the world is facing this environmental crisis.
Forests have been a natural resource that humans have depended on for millions of years. Today, forests are also one of the most “endangered” natural resource. We are cutting down about 13 million hectares of forest per year all over the world. Asia has the lowest forest cover in the world; less than 20% of the total land area. In India, the current statistics say that forests cover 21% of the land in the country (which could be slightly higher than the actual cover. Governments are known to exaggerate stats).
One of the major countries in the world now gets 25% of it’s energy needs from renewable sources. It could grow to by 10% if the current trend continues. Let’s hope it’s more than that!
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) has released it’s September 2016 Energy Trends report. It doesn’t yet answer the question of how to pronounce DBEIS (I’m personally fond of dee-bay, but dee-biz seems to be the most popular) but the report does give some very interesting insights into the energy market in the UK.
The health of an ecosystem directly depends on the species richness and species diversity. Ecosystems have evolved to accommodate more number of individuals and species in it, so as to remain stable despite environmental disturbances.
How does an ecosystem achieve this accommodation?
There are two major processes that affect the ability of an ecosystem to host organisms: the environmental factors and the adaptations of organisms to these factors. We’ve already seen how adaptations play a major role in generating diversity in ecosystems and how it eventually leads to evolution. Let’s take a closer look at the environmental factors and the role they play in an ecosystem. Continue reading Habitat and Niche
Let’s start with the bad news.
Researchers for the last decade have been coming up with different climate change models and predicting when we will cross the point-of-no-return; the point once crossed, cannot reverse or reduce the impact of climate change anymore. Different researchers have come up with different points-of-no-returns: the more optimistic ones say 2100, the slightly conservative ones suggest some year between 2050 and 2073 while the pessimistic ones believe it’s going to be anywhere between 2030 and 2050.
I am one of the pessimistic ones, not just because I believe humans have done irrevocable damage to the ecosystems already; with a thirst for more development and capitalistic success, I am sure that the damage already caused will be dwarfed by what we can do in the next 10 years.
Due to the complex geo-political situation between virtually every country in the world, it’s not surprising that the environment is dragged into it.
One such hot-topic in the recent days has been the reemergence of the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan. Continue reading Indus Water Treaty: Environmental standpoint
Human beings, like every other living organism, has a relationship with its surrounding environment. This relationship began the moment our species evolved and has been a dynamic relationship ever since. We have interacted with the environment in several ways spread over centuries, and it is important to understand this relationship before we understand the situation today (isn’t that why we study history anyway?).
There is an established field of science called environmental history that deals with the study of this relationship. It is a study focused on (1) how nature has naturally changed since humans evolved (2) how humans have interacted with nature and (3) how nature, in turn, has interacted with us. In fact, the study of environmental history up until the recent past has only focused on the last 100-1000 years. This is but minuscule in our total 2 million years on Earth. In light of this, a…
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