Arrogant or hopeful?


How does it make you feel and what goes in your mind when I say: Cleaning up air pollution may strengthen global warming. Bacteria are evolving to eat the plastic we dump in the oceans. Some corals are flourishing in a time of global warming. Coal and gas are far more harmful than nuclear.

First of all, all of it is true, it is supported by scientists. Scientists are fallible humans who are just trying to figure things out in the constant tug of war of deficit and surplus of information. It’s a learning process. Second of all, I for one felt lost, what do I do with this information? I was polarized just like Mulder and Scully from the X-files, chasing after the truth, sometimes ending up lost along the way, wanting to believe. Good news is, at least we know more. With the pace at which we are working, I will be arrogant enough to say that we will figure things out within my lifetime. I’d rather be hopeful than scared.

I like how Zat Rana puts it, “Uncertainty isn’t a condition to be avoided, but a tool for better decisions. ”

Are you arrogant or hopeful?

I’d also read: Keeping an open mindDo you take climate science with a grain of saltIs the earth adapting to climate change?

Who is phasing out what

Volunteer Image Author TheDigitalArtist

The world is phasing out fossil-fuels, old polluting vehicles, plastic products, toxic substances, nuclear power, biofuel, incandescent light bulbs, ozone depleting substances, waste imports, second hand clothes, food waste, and ivory trade. These are either gradual phase outs or immediate bans. So, who exactly is phasing out what? Read ahead to find out.

Who is phasing out fossil-fuels?

Who is phasing out old polluting vehicles?

Who is phasing out plastic products?

Who is phasing out toxic substances?

Who is phasing out nuclear power?

Who is phasing out biofuel?

Who is phasing out incandescent light bulbs?

Who is phasing out ozone depleting substances?

Who is phasing out waste imports?

Who is phasing out second hand clothes?

Who is phasing out ivory trade?

 Who is banning food waste?

Who is banning deforestation?

Last Edited: April 4 2018

Do you believe in preparing for an apocalypse?

Image result for sea level riseWhat apocalypse? Denial. What denial? Apocalypse is the most tongue twisting word for me. Makes me spastic. Makes my brain spastic. It basically means the complete final destruction of the world. As I grew up I found how in so many ways our world could get destroyed. What world? For a mother, it could be her children. For an elephant tied to a chain, it could be where he is chained. World could mean so many things. “To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world,” said Bill Wilson. Who is Bill Wilson? Well, I don’t have an answer for everything but everyone has an some answer, warped by their perspectives.

Apocalypse to me meant different at different points of my life. Volcanoes going off at the same time. Meteor hitting us like it hit the dinosaurs. Sun stops to work. Vayu Dev takes away all the air on the Earth. Aliens. Polluted atmosphere. Robots invade. Cartoons, movies, and science have given my mind enough fodder. Right now, I’m all into sea level rise. As a newly married woman, I don’t want my husband and I to buy a house in coastal areas. However looming this newfound fear may be for me, I am mostly trying to making this world sustainable one day at a time to avoid this sea level rise in the first place.

What’s your apocalypse and how are you preparing for it?

Which water would you prefer? Sparkling, tap, pure, arctic ice, reclaimed water, desalinated?

I'll have the limited edition Arctic sea ice water (1)

What do you say when a server in a restaurant asks you the kind of water you’d like to have – sparkling, still, or tap (also known as regular)? Do you respond with one of the options given, or do you ask for bottled water? How about you are given an opportunity to have customised water? Customised can mean unleaded (I just made this up), pure, or mineral.

If pure, would you like to have treated through deionisation, reverse osmosis, carbon filtering, microfiltration, ultrafiltration, ultraviolet filtration, or electrodeionization? If mineral, what kind of minerals do you want in it? If spring, which spring do you want it from? If bottled, what brand do you prefer? Last, but not the least, at what temperature do you want it to be? Chilled, slightly chilled, slightly warm, warm, 35 deg Celsius?

Wait, the list hasn’t finished yet. Would you like spring water dug from underground or surface water? Or do you prefer we fetch it from a well? We also have a limited edition Arctic ice water that has been melting away from the ice sheet for quite some time now. Would you like water from a desalination plant or reclaimed water such as NEWater? We also have well-preserved rainwater for your disposal.

Perhaps in the future, there will be a way to mimic the exact water composition from a particular spring so that we no more deplete groundwater? Who knows maybe it has been condensed from the fog? Perhaps someday you’ll have your own portable fog collector. Because how do you know the restaurants are telling the truth? We will then need third-party certifications such as Pure Random Estimations (P.U.R.E.)?

Spare me some water: who has the right to water?

Early on in my life, someone said to me that it is a good idea to keep some water out in the window for the sparrows. Mumbai has very few avenues where a sparrow can get a good amount of water to wiggle its feathers in to clean itself or to quench its thirst. There are some I know who spare some water for the little sparrows. I’ve seen some come to my window here in New Jersey too but I don’t have to spare them water here because our apartment has a great view of a river. However, why do they still come to the water on the ground flowing out of a water faucet? May be they do go to the river and I’ve not noticed. I took the following video of a sparrow in water this morning:

Did you know? The world’s oldest desert, the Namib Desert has existed for at least 55 million years, completely devoid of surface water but bisected by several dry riverbeds. These riverbeds are vegetated and are home to a few ungulates, such as Hartmann’s zebras. The south of the desert is extremely dry and even lacks dry riverbeds; gemsbok is the only large mammal to occur in this harsh environment. Thick fogs are frequent along the coast and are the life-blood of the desert, providing enough moisture for a number of interesting, highly-adapted animal species to survive. Source: WWF

Drought can be caused by:

  • Lack of rain or snow over a period of time
  • Disturbance in the water cycle
  • Changes in the wind patterns that move clouds and moisture through the atmosphere can cause a place to not receive its normal amount of rain or snow over a long period of time

Climate change induced drought affects not only birds but all of the species on the planet. It has made cold-water fishes to migrate to colder regions and created dead zones that are drained of oxygen. Where areas that have intense flooding it means less reproduction for some species such as salmon and spread of water-borne diseases.

What do we do about the drought? In India, the first “water train”—with 10 tank cars each holding 54,000 liters of water reached the drought prone Latur. In California, the mandatory water conservation rules fail to take into account that the agriculture industry consumes 80 percent of the state’s water and is was exempt from the new restrictions. Solution to which may lie in free market for water.

Water right in water law refers to the right of a user to use water from a water source, e.g., a river, stream, pond or source of groundwater. Selling water access entitlements is called water trading. Water trading in the world is mapped below:
Water trading map

Yesterday I met an old lady in a table tennis club that my husband and I go to. We ended up talking about rainwater harvesting and she told me that it is illegal in some parts of the US. I thought it is not fair that if the water falls on one’s property one should be entitled to it. To which she said that it is not so straight forward. What do you think? Should we be entitled to all or some of the the rainwater that we collect on our roofs? While this is the situation in US, India is trying to make rainwater harvesting mandatory. Hmm.


Why do people think drones are a good idea for protecting our environment?


Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs], are versatile machines that collect aerial data through aerial surveys, offering a different perspective than airplanes and satellites. They are unmanned unlike airplanes and overcome a serious problem in satellite imagery i.e. seeing underneath the clouds. Integrating them with existing technologies is empowering researchers with a lot of useful data that can serve us in protecting our environment.

Drones for delivery

Imagine how many delivery vehicles it can replace and how they can be made safer. For example, pizza can be delivered safely without the looming tension in the pizza guy’s head that he needs to deliver it within 30 minutes making his way through the city traffic. It can also do its bit in reducing pollution and fighting climate change.

Drones for climate research

Drones for climate research can be traced back to 1998. They were used to study the Arctic ice. They are an important part of the ongoing research on coral reefs and mangroves. Drones are used to identify dying colonies of these species to advance mitigation measures. The data that is collected from the atmosphere helps enhance our climate models leading to better forecasts.

Drones for wildlife conservation

Unlike handheld cameras, drones are equipped with GPS systems to geo-reference the images that are captured. It can be used to map animals’ distribution and density to perform ground-based efforts effectively. It can also be used to fight wildlife crime. Watch ecologist Lian Pin Koh make a persuasive case for using drones to protect the world’s forests and wildlife in this TED talk. But it seems someone is not taking this  too well.

Drones for hurricane hunting

In a 1996 movie Twister, you’ll see Dorothy, the device that is designed to release hundreds of sensors into the center of a tornado to study its structure from the inside, with the purpose of creating a more advanced storm warning system. But what if something as simple as a drone does it? Well, it can. These are called Global Hawk drones.

Drones for search and rescue

If you have seen S.H.I.E.L.D., you’ll know how awesome the D.W.A.R.F.s (Drones Wirelessly Automated to Retrieve Forensics) are. They are a set of quad-copter robotic drones designed by Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons to seek out, analyze and scan forensic evidence at S.H.I.E.L.D. hot-spots.

In a similar way, firefighters don’t have to go into a burning place to assess the situation, they can simply send in the drones.

Drones for inspection

Drones can go where our eyes don’t necessarily need to. They can be used to inspect tall wind turbines for defects.

If you get your hands on one of these, what will you do?