Go out on the street and ask any ordinary person what he/she understands by the overused words – global warming or climate change and the answer would singularly be a high air conditioning bill for the rich. But little do they know that the phenomena brings along with it un-seasonal rains or occurrences like the July 26 deluge excess now in the tropical regions, warm summers in the temperate zone, hurricanes, droughts and all other warming related happening like melting of polar ice-caps floods in glacial-fed rivers and its downstream course and eventually rise in sea levels.
In a nutshell, the impact on archipelagos like the Lakshadweep, Andamans and Nicobar or the Sunderbans and island cities or low lying regions like Cochin, Mumbai, Daman, Silwassa, Bhavnagar within India and Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Sydney Papua and New Guinea, Maldives in other parts of the world. They are likely to be drowned taking along with them probably a 30 per cent of all floral and faunal diversity and many more endemic species an food / medical resources found exclusively in our coral reefs, mangroves island coasts or marshlands. Of course, the coastal loading can ravage congested civilization and industries or entire river valleys extending to over hundreds of kilometers, affecting human and wildlife populations.
The trigger to these catastrophic happenings is very much in he hands of every common person. Every time you leave your bike idling for no specific purpose or don’t get your automobile serviced and emission checked, or don’t car pool, or burn garbage use a tungsten bulb, let a tree get cut, use a tissue paper, concretize the area around your housing colony or the ports field, every time you use air conditioning, a non CFC refrigerator dump sulphates and phosphates through detergents into the nearby lake, or simply refuse or acknowledge the fact that you and me are a much part of the problem as we are a part of the solution – YOU ARE TRIGGERING GLOBAL WARMING!
Started in 1972 by the United States during their Stockholm Conference, the World Environment day is celebrated every year on June 5, with varied themes and purposes. With the fuel costs rushing for the stars and crude oil prices crossing a record $ 130 barrel, it seems the right time to think low carbon. Surface transport and industrial combustion which essential necessitate burning of fossils fuels, along with deforestation are the three largest contributors of green house gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone. Global average temperatures have already increased by 0.6 degrees celcius and they are estimated to rise by the next century by another 2-10 degree celcius.
>>Amphibians, the biggest losers
The greatest impact of all these changes has been on our amphibian populations and diversity. Their dual habitat requirements and sensitive skin along with delicate eggs and extreme specificity to microclimatic niches has spelled doom on these harmless and ecologically imperative species. They also epitomize the health of any ecosystem, even within urban areas.
Scientists have established that the Earth’s rising temperatures enhance could cover on tropical mountains, leading to cooler days and warmer nights, both of which favor a particular Chytrid Fungus to grow and reproduce on many of our frog species. The fungus has already killed over a 10 species of frogs in the cool highlands and the diseased frogs living at mid-altitudes at greatest risk.
As the situation stands today, nearly one third (32 per cent) of the world’s amphibian species are threatened an as many as 165 amphibian species may already be extinct. At least 43 percent of all species are declining in population, indicating that the number of threatened species can be expected to rise in the future.
>> No Frogs song means more Malaria
Frogs, toads, salamanders and caecilians in both tadpoles and adult stages are one of the biggest pest controllers in our forest ecosystem on land and in water. And in our concrete jungle they control the populations of mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches and several such diseases spreading vectors.
>> World Environment Day and Common Man:
World Environment Day is celebrated in many ways such as street rallies, bicycle parades, green concerts, essay and poster competitions in schools, tree planting, recycling efforts, clean –up campaigns et al. a few simple ways in which a common man can go carbon neutral –
1) Stop using the regular light bulbs. Switch to the energy saving bulbs.
2) Use luke-warm water to wash your clothes rather than hot water.
3) Use renewable sources of energy such s solar energy or wind energy rather than coal energy.
4) Use bicycles or public transport to travel rather than a car.
5) Switch off your computers while going to sleep, don’t put them on Stand by Mode.