Posts Tagged ‘plants’

Nature @ our service – Do we care ?

Posted: June 7, 2011 in Environment
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Along roads when King Ashoka had dug wells and planted trees for the benefit of humans and animals he would have never imagined we would need an annual event to save our environment.

World Environment Day (WED) is an annual event that is aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. It is really sad that conserving Environment has become annual event as oppose to our daily activity.

Theme for 2011: Forests: Nature At Your Service

Forests cover one-third of the earth’s land mass, performing vital functions and services around the world which make our planet livable.They play a key role in our battle against climate change, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere while storing carbon dioxide.From our school days, we have read that but we keep ignoring and destroying them.

Forests feed our rivers and are essential to supplying the water for nearly 50% of our largest cities.  They create and maintain soil fertility; they help to regulate the often devastating impact of storms, floods and fires.

Forests are often referred to as the ‘lungs of the earth’. This is particularly because deforestation and forest degradation account for nearly 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which forests would absorb if carefully managed.

Forests cover 31% of total land area in the world.
Forests cover 20% of total land area in India
Forests are home to 80% of terrestrial biodiversity.
Forests provide a home to more than 300 million people worldwide.
Forest products account for an estimated $ 330 billion of total global trade.
Forest contribute to the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people.
In developing countries more than 80% of total energy consumed by people and industry is derived from forests, such as fuel, wood and charcoal.

Important natural resources such as timber, fuel, rubber, paper and medicinal plants are forest products.

The five most forest-rich countries (the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America and China) accounted for more than half of the total forest area.

Nearly half of the country’s forest cover is found in the state of Madhya Pradesh (20.7%) and the seven states of the northeast (25.7%).India set a target to cover 33 percent of its land area with forests and tree cover by 2012.

Mangrove forests are one of the key forest resources.They protect the coasts from erosion and cyclonic destructions. They also support coastal and inland fisheries, control floods and are a source of fuel wood.

Despite all these innumerable ecological, economic, social and health benefits, we are destroying the forests. Global deforestation continues at an alarming rate and every year 13 million hectares of forests (equal to the size of Portugal) are destroyed.

Many precious species face extinction and biodiversity is being eliminated. Continued and uncontrolled deforestation therefore not only has devastating consequences for the environment and the wildlife, but for economies around the world.

Mangroves are also disappearing, and about one-fifth have been lost since 1980. The greatest drivers for mangrove forest loss are direct conversion to aquaculture, agriculture and urban land uses.

Government and civil society should work in tandem to preserve forests.

Governments should protect the forest areas inhabited by endangered species and promote forest restoration where they have been depleted by enforcing strict laws and punishment.

Civil society can monitor and raise awareness about need to preserve plants and trees.

When people buy flats they look for parking space, gym, pavement for a morning jog, party hall, auditorium and so on.Hardly they look for the garden space.We need to do more than forwarding mails and SMSes.Our work does not stop by planting a sapling.We need to nurture them as well.We have reached  a situation where conserving environment need not be to Save earth but as an investment.

We are not far from the days where people would run looking for Oxygen parlours.We would be rich considering we own plants and trees.Oxygen would be valuable than gold.

                                We all have to start contributing from our end.The energy conservation by each citizen will lead to energy conservation of the whole country.

Electricity use: Besides, reducing your power bill, your usage will go a long way in cutting down the emissions that cause climate change.

Unplug electronic appliances: Even when electronic devices are turned off, they use energy. So remember to unplug these after use.Turn off lights and other electronic gadgets when not in use; don’t put them on standby mode.

Energy-efficient appliances: Go for energy-efficient electrical appliances. New refrigerators use 40 per cent less energy than models made just 10 years ago. Inefficient appliances waste energy, so buy new ones.Turn down your refrigerator setting; even a two-degree change results in significant energy savings.Use the fridge sparingly. Switch to clay pots to keep the water cool.

Shut your air-conditioner: When you go out of the house and turn it off. A tree or any plant that gives a shade to your air conditioner can improve its efficiency by up to 10 per cent. Clean or replace dirty air conditioner filters as recommended.Use fans, not the A.C. Cool your home with a terrace garden and external wall creepers, and you even enjoy fresh vegetables.

Computer: When you are not using it, you can shut off the screen. About 60 per cent of the power used from a computer is used by the display screen. Avoid printing whenever possible, read from your screen.

Lights: Use low energy consuming compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). A 15-watt CFL can supply as much light as a 100 watt incandescent bulb.

Disposing trash: Go for organic composting and recycling paper, bottles etc to cut down on gas emissions. When you recycle, less trash gets burned.  So there will be a drop in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Organic food: It is healthy and requires less energy to produce. Buy fresh food, frozen food uses 10 times more energy.Buy organic produce; remember manufacture of fertilizers spews greenhouse gases.

Cover vessels while cooking: this can help save energy. Use pressure cookers more frequently to save energy.

Go vegetarian: Being vegetarian can help save energy.

Eat local foods, rather than imported ones or un-seasonal ones, as their long transit and processing leave big carbon footprints.

Use the washing machine or dishwasher only when full: If you need to use it when it is half full, then use the half-load setting.Run washing machines with a full load — this saves water and electricity. Sun-dry clothes rather than spin-drying them.

Switch to green power

Choose clean energy generated by clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar wherever possible. Use human powered hcraging devices which save fuel.

Grow plants: Grow as many plants as possible. Make your environment green. Join groups that help in protecting forests and create awareness among people.

Use own reusable bags: Take a cloth/jute bag while going shopping; avoid plastic carry bags. Cut down plastic bags. Despite a ban on plastic bags, shopkeepers continue to give these bags.

Packing: Buy stuff which do not take much packaging as it can cut garbage by about 10 per cent.

Using cars Buy a fuel efficient car. Take a carpool when ever you can.

Tyres: Keep the car tyres adequately inflated. Check them monthly. Check your car’s air filter monthly. Under-inflated tyres hike fuel consumption by 5 per cent.

Switch off engine: Idling wastes money and fuel. Turn your engine off if you have wait for more than 30 seconds.

Driving speed: One of the best ways to save gas is to simply reduce your speed. As speed increases, fuel economy decreases. Fast driving in low gears can use up to 45 per cent more fuel. When traveling at highway speeds keep windows closed. Open windows reduce your mileage by 10 per cent. Sudden changes in speed wastes fuel.

Maintenance: Replace spark plugs regularly to avoid fuel wastage. Replace clogged air filters to improve gas mileage by as much as 10 per cent. A dirty air filter restricts the flow of air into the engine, which harms performance and economy.

Servicing: You must get the engine checked at regular intervals. A badly maintained engine can consume up to 50 per cent more fuel than a good engine.

Air Conditioner: Switch off the AC especially when the weather is good. Turn off the AC five minutes before you reach your destination and don’t keep it working until the last second.

Use public transport: Taking the bus, or the train, cut down on car travel.

Travel light: Don’t overload the car or keep unwanted things inside, the more heavy the car is, the more fuel it will consume.

How you can save energy at work:

Many offices leave air conditioners, computers and lights on all night. Wherever possible it should be kept off.

Buy energy-saving office appliances and equipment, like LCD monitors, printers and photocopiers. This will help save energy and money.

While commuting in the trains, switch off the lights and fans when not required.

For office meetings, try to avoid travel if you can talk on the phone or use videoconference. Air travel produces large amounts of emissions.

Don’t fly; airplanes leave massive carbon footprints.