Climate change and biodiversity

In the atmosphere, gases such as water vapour, carbon dioxide, ozone, and methane act like the glass roof of a greenhouse by trapping heat and warming the planet. These gases are called greenhouse gases. The natural levels of these gases are being supplemented by emissions resulting from human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, farming activities and land-use changes. As a result, the Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere are warming, and this rise in temperature is accompanied by many other changes.Rising levels of greenhouse gases are already changing the climate.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I (WGI) Fourth Assessment Report, from 1850 to 2005, the average global temperature increased by about 0.76ºC and global mean sea level rose by 12 to 22 cm during the last century. These changes are affecting the entire world, from low-lying islands in the tropics to the vast polar regions.Climate change predictions are not encouraging; according to the IPCC WGI Fourth Assessment Report, a further increase in temperatures of 1.4°C to 5.8°C by 2100 is projected. Predicted impacts associated with such temperature increase include: a further rise in global mean sea level, changes in precipitation patterns, and more people at risk from dangerous “vector-borne diseases” such as malaria.

Vulnerability of biodiversity to the impacts of climate change

The present global biota has been affected by fluctuating Pleistocene (last 1.8 million years) concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide, temperature, precipitation, and has coped through evolutionary changes, and the adoption of natural adaptive strategies. Such climate changes, however, occurred over an extended period of time in a landscape that was not as fragmented as it is today and with little or no additional pressure from human activities. Habitat fragmentation has confined many species to relatively small areas within their previous ranges, resulting in reduced genetic variability. Warming beyond the ceiling of temperatures reached during the Pleistocene will stress ecosystems and their biodiversity far beyond the levels imposed by the global climatic change that occurred in the recent evolutionary past.Current rates and magnitude of species extinction far exceed normal background rates. Human activities have already resulted in the loss of biodiversity and thus may have affected goods and services crucial for human well-being. The rate and magnitude of climate change induced by increased greenhouse gases emissions has and will continue to affect biodiversity either directly or in combination with other drivers of change.

Links between biodiversity and climate change

There is ample evidence that climate change affects biodiversity. According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, climate change is likely to become one of the most significant drivers of biodiversity loss by the end of the century. Climate change is already forcing biodiversity to adapt either through shifting habitat, changing life cycles, or the development of new physical traits.Conserving natural terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems and restoring degraded ecosystems (including their genetic and species diversity) is essential for the overall goals of both the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change because ecosystems play a key role in the global carbon cycle and in adapting to climate change, while also providing a wide range of ecosystem services that are essential for human well-being and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.Biodiversity can support efforts to reduce the negative effects of climate change. Conserved or restored habitats can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thus helping to address climate change by storing carbon (for example, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation). Moreover, conserving in-tact ecosystems, such as mangroves, for example, can help reduce the disastrous impacts of climate change such as flooding and storm surges.

Ecosystem-based Adaptation

Ecosystem-based adaptation, which integrates the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services into an overall adaptation strategy, can be cost-effective and generate social, economic and cultural co-benefits and contribute to the conservation of biodiversity.Conservation and management strategies that maintain and restore biodiversity can be expected to reduce some of the negative impacts from climate change; however, there are rates and magnitude of climate change for which natural adaptation will become increasingly difficult. Options to increase the adaptive capacity of species and ecosystems in the face of accelerating climate change include:

  • Reducing non-climatic stresses, such as pollution, over-exploitation, habitat loss and fragmentation and invasive alien species.
  • Wider adoption of conservation and sustainable use practices including through the strengthening of protected area networks.
  • Facilitating adaptive management through strengthening monitoring and evaluation systems.

Ecosystem-based adaptation uses biodiversity and ecosystem services in an overall adaptation strategy. It includes the sustainable management, conservation and restoration of ecosystems to provide services that help people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. Examples of ecosystem-based adaptation activities include:

  • Coastal defence through the maintenance and/or restoration of mangroves and other coastal wetlands to reduce coastal flooding and coastal erosion.
  • Sustainable management of upland wetlands and floodplains for maintenance of water flow and quality.
  • Conservation and restoration of forests to stabilize land slopes and regulate water flows.
  • Establishment of diverse agroforestry systems to cope with increased risk from changed climatic conditions.
  • Conservation of agrobiodiversity to provide specific gene pools for crop and livestock adaptation to climate change
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Climate Change

Climate change refers to the changing global environment. Climate change has become a global concern in the last few decades. Besides, these climate changes are affecting life on earth in a variety of ways. These climate changes have various impacts on the ecosystem and the environment. As a result of this change, many species of plants and animals have become extinct.

When Did It Start?
The climate began to change long ago due to human activities but we finally learned about it a century ago. During the last century, we began to see climate change and its effect on human life. We started researching climate change and finally realized that global temperatures are rising due to the so-called greenhouse effect. Global warming is causing more ozone depletion, affecting agriculture, water supply, transportation, and a host of other problems.

The Reason for Climate Change
Although there are hundreds of reasons for climate change we will discuss natural and man-made (human) causes.

Natural Causes
These include volcanic eruptions, sunlight, tectonic plate movements, orbital diversity. As a result of these activities, the environment becomes very dangerous to life for survival. Also, these activities increase global warming to a great extent causing inequality in the environment.

Personal Reasons
Man because of his need and selfishness has done many works that harm not only the environment but also himself. Many species of plants and animals are disappearing as a result of human activity. Harmful human activities include deforestation, the use of fuel, industrial waste, various forms of pollution, and more. All of these factors adversely affect the climate and the environment. And many species of animals and birds became extinct or almost extinct as a result of hunting.

The Effects of Climate Change
These climate changes are having a devastating effect on the environment. Sea level rises, glaciers melt, CO2 emissions increase, forest and wildlife declines, and water quality is also disrupted by climate change. Besides, it is calculated that if these changes continue, many species of plants and animals will die out. And there will be significant environmental losses.

What will the future hold?
If we do nothing and things continue to go on right now then the day will come when people will be wiped off the face of the earth. But instead of ignoring these problems we start working so we can save the world and our future.

Although human error has caused much damage to the climate and the environment. However, it is not too late to start over and try to fix what we have done so far to harm the environment. And if everyone begins to contribute to the environment then we can be confident of our future existence.

Conclusion

Climate change poses a major and growing challenge in the Arctic and around the world. While these emerging concerns are important now, their effects are particularly significant for future generations who will inherit current actions or inefficiencies. Strong immediate action is needed to reduce pollution in order to change the future of human temperature. Action is needed to begin to adapt to the already warming and ongoing warmth. The findings of this preliminary study of the impact of climate on the Arctic provide a scientific basis on which decision makers can look at, make, and apply appropriate measures to respond to this important and broader challenge.

7 important tips to manage aggression in children

Manage child aggression: To develop a sound value system, tell them stories. For very small children, stories should be pleasant, free of fighting and violence, about animals and nature, sharing and caring. When they are five or six, it is okay to introduce stories with good people and ‘bad’ people.

child, who wanted to be perceived as the strongest of all, would speak loudly, look angry and hit everyone to prove his strength. When his grandfather came to visit, he behaved in the same way with him. However, his grandpa was never agitated and just smiled at his actions. The child was bewildered as he was only used to getting yelled at for what he did. The more he was yelled at, the stronger he would become, is what he thought!

Grandpa shares the Buddha story

The grandfather asked him if he would like to hear a story and the boy agreed. “Once upon a time, there was an enlightened master called Buddha. He travelled across the country teaching people how to be peaceful. Once while he was going through a forest, a tribesman called Angulimala came to him. He was a frightening man. He wore a garland of fingers of people whom he had sacrificed so he would be the strongest and feared the most. He wanted to have Buddha’s finger as the hundredth and complete his sacrificing ritual. Buddha smiled at him and said, “I am happy to be of use to you”. There was no trace of fear in him. Nobody had ever smiled at Angulimala. No one had ever spoken to him so kindly. The very presence of Buddha did something to him. Angulimala felt very weak for the first time in his life. He felt like a feather in front of a mountain. He realised that real strength is in having unshakable calmness, peace, and in compassion. He fell at Buddha’s feet. He was changed completely.” The child listened to every word from his grandpa with rapt attention.

Look out for the media children are exposed to

When you feel helpless or weak, the need to assert your strength comes out as violence. Where do children get the idea of violence? They see their parents, neighbours, friends, so many programmes on TV or videos on the mobile phone — all this exposure leaves impressions and has a strong impact on the minds of children, more than we know. They are sensitive even to suppressed violence. If you are angry inside but still act as if everything is okay, children will know it.

Handling aggression

Children get angry or show aggression for seemingly very silly reasons. But the real reason is something else, a sense of insecurity that has crept in somehow. That is why in olden days, parents would never show anger in front of a child. They would not even argue or use harsh words. Public display of anger was considered a weakness. Today, anger and aggression comes up at the drop of a hat. Any minor difference of opinion is enough to prompt the arrows to fly. We don’t know how to draw a line between expressing a difference of opinion and displaying aggression. If your child is aggressive, look into your own lifestyle. What are you doing? Are you yelling at your housekeeper or at your pet? Are you yelling at your own spouse? Or any one for that matter in front of the child? Are you sad? What is your reaction? And it does not matter that out of the 365 days, you have acted in aggression may be only a couple of times. Those few days are equally important for the child. This is why we need to meditate and practice pranayama or deep breathing techniques. Heyum Dukham Anagatam — stopping the misery before it comes — that is the benefit of yoga, because in life prevention is better than cure.

Engaging children in meaningful activities

The other important thing is to engage them in meaningful activities, and sports that allow them to channel their energy constructively. Just playing video games or watching TV with no physical activity only increases restlessness and makes them prone to aggression. You will notice that the day your child has more screen time, the more difficult he or she becomes to handle. Encourage them to go out and play, engage with real people, run and fill their lungs with some fresh air. In the olden days, movies were classified as suitable for watching only under parental guidance. Parents would control what a child can see. Today, it is a common occurrence that the elders are all engrossed in watching soaps on TV and are oblivious to the child who is also watching and taking in all the exaggerated emotions that are projected. It is very important to be sensitive about what their tender senses are exposed to. They should not be bombarded with heavy impressions.

What kind of stories are we telling our children?

To develop a sound value system, tell them stories. For very small children, perhaps around three or four, stories should be pleasant, free of fighting and violence, about animals and nature, sharing and caring. When they are five or six it is okay to introduce stories with good people and ‘bad’ people. Every culture has its stories of heroes who protected the innocent and fought villains who were up to no good. Through these stories they understand that the purpose of strength is to protect and not to hurt. They learn that the hero, the stronger one, is calm and collected.

While it is important to reprimand anger, it is equally important to recognise when they are gentle and appreciate them. When I was a child and would sometimes get angry, my grandmother would ask me to go to a certain corner of the house and leave my anger there. She would say that the angel in that corner would take the anger from me and go far, far away. I would believe her, go stand there and in a minute, come back smiling! Schools today don’t teach children how to deal with negative emotions. This is an important aspect of moulding the character of the child. Teachers should be strict about encouraging the right attitude in children. They should recognise the strength of a child who is able to walk away from a fight and not just react and hit back. They should reward and give attention to calmness in a child. Many times, an aggressive attitude in a child comes out from simply wanting attention. So, you can teach them by ignoring their sulking or shouting, and praising them and giving extra attention when they are well-mannered. And parents should give teachers the space to discipline the child if necessary. It is okay if your child has been naughty and the teacher has disciplined him or her. Parents must encourage reverence towards the teacher. If they say, “Who is he or she to tell my child what to do!” the child will not listen or respect the teacher anymore. When this happens, learning stops.

Food is important

The food that we give to our children also has a role to play. Too many sweets, fried food (like chips) and oily food increase restlessness in a child. Also, their food must be freshly cooked as far as possible and not packaged items kept in cold storage. Encourage them to enjoy fruits as much as chips; perhaps one chip-one fruit can be the deal! Where possible, it is advisable to avoid food products made from genetically modified grains and vegetables. The food has a direct impact on the mind and when consumed over a period of time, has a definite impact on the nature or attitude of the child.

Above all this, as parents, it is important to spend quality time doing ‘nothing’ with your child. Just sitting with them without looking at our mobile phones, giving complete attention to what they have to say, just being with them 100 per cent gives a great sense of security to the child. An insecure child is more likely to succumb to aggression than one who feels secure and attended to.

Teach children that the one who smiles come-what-may is stronger.

Show them when to stand up for what is right, and when to walk away from a fight.

As much as you can, protect their innocence.

As much as you can, give them pride in non-violence.

Why do people have so much aggression?

  • We all act aggressively from time to time—say while sitting in traffic or in the midst of an argument—but some are more aggressive than others.
  • There are several reasons we engage in aggressive behavior, which also help to explain why some people display aggression more often.
  • These causes include instinct, hormonal imbalance, genetics, temperament, nurture, and stress.
  • If there are excessively aggressive people in your life, like a loved one or coworker, you can learn to cope or deal with their behavior effectively.
  • First, try keeping your cool, empathizing, and expressing your concern—these actions should help you to navigate the interaction and make it more pleasant.
  • If these strategies don’t prove effective, consider distancing yourself from the overly aggressive person; your wellbeing should be your priority.

Aggression is hostile or violent behavior. It’s a woman yelling at her son for spilling his milk on the carpet. It’s a child pushing his friend down on the playground because she was playing with his favorite toy. It’s a girl snapping at her boyfriend because he didn’t invite her out with the guys.

As you can see (and probably know from personal experience), aggression can take many forms. We all act aggressively at some point or another in our lives, whether it’s yelling at the black Sudan that cut us off or getting into it with family or friends. But some are more aggressive than others—quick to react or engage in hostile behavior. Which begs an important question: why

What Causes Aggression? 6 Origins

Sure, traffic can spur aggression, as can a disagreement with a coworker. But what’s the psychology behind this behavior? There are actually a few reasons we become aggressive, which also help to explain why some people are more aggressive than others:

1. Instinct: Aggression is one of our many survival instincts. According to Sigmund Freud, aggression continuously builds up until it releases as aggressive behavior, at some point or another. Some individuals can suppress this aggression and use other survival instincts instead, but others simply react and release.

2. Hormonal imbalance: A hormonal imbalance in an individual can certainly contribute to aggressive behavior. For example, high levels of testosterone contribute to high levels of aggression. This explains why males are characteristically more aggressive than females.

3. Genetics: Aggression can also be passed down genetically. Children are at a greater risk of adapting aggressive tendencies if they have a biological background for it. Time and time again, father and son both display aggressive behavior.

4. Physiological illness and temperament: Serious illness can have a major effect on an individual’s mood and behavior, as the stress and other mental effects may bring about greater aggression. Additionally, one’s temperament can play a role in aggression. People with bad tempers typically become aggressive more quickly than calmer individuals.

5. Social learning: Aggression can be learned. Some become more aggressive due to personal experiences or observational learning. For example, children are always looking for cues on how to act, as illustrated by the Bobo doll experiment. They learn to act aggressively when they watch someone else commit violent acts like in movies or video games.

6. Psychological frustrations: It’s human nature to become frustrated when life just doesn’t seem to be going so well. This frustration may involve work or love, for example, and can lead to an all-around feeling of negativity. This negativity then represents a threat, which can lead to aggression

How to Cope with an Aggressive Individual

Dealing with someone who constantly lashes out in hostile or violent behavior is tough—especially when it’s someone you’re close to like your boyfriend or mother, or someone you can’t get away from, like a coworker. In any case, the following can help you deal with the aggressive people in your life more effectively:

  • Keep your cool. The last thing that will alleviate this situation is another aggressive individual. Maintain your composure and use your better judgment to handle the situation. Aggressive people often seek to intimidate and upset others. You have to ensure this doesn’t happen and instead of reacting with rage like they want you to, take a moment to count to ten and think of a better way to deal with the situation at hand.
  • Put yourself in their shoes. Even if the aggression seems unwarranted, take a moment to imagine yourself in their position. Maybe they grew up in an overly aggressive household. Or, maybe they have a lot on their plate and they’re reacting to the stress with aggression. This will help calm your own negative feelings down and empathize with the individual. Then, maybe you can turn the aggressive attack into a productive conversation.
  • Express your concern. Maybe there isn’t an obvious, underlying cause of the individual’s aggression. Once you’ve taken a step away and you’re both calm, express your concern for them. They may not realize the severity of their aggression or its effect on those around them. It could take someone like you bringing it to light for them to make that realization and make a change.
  • Distance yourself. Sometimes, these aggressive individuals are just not worth it and don’t deserve a place in your life. You have to prioritize your wellbeing and if that means cutting them out of your lives, then so be it. And if cutting them completely out of your life isn’t very realistic (think, an aggressive aunt or uncle that’s at every family reunion or your coworker who doesn’t look to be going anywhere anytime soon), then just distance yourself as best you can. Avoid them.

Ultimately, you have to decide if it’s worth dealing with the aggressive individual. If you decide that it’s not, kick them to the curb and distance yourself from them. But if you decide that this individual is worth it and could maybe use your help, do your best to sympathize with them and determine the underlying cause of the aggression. This will help you both moving forward

True friends

“Good friends care for each other…close friends understand each other, but TRUE FRIENDS stay forever…beyond words, beyond distance, beyond time…!”

Many of us have friends in our lives over the years. Some friends we make as children and then lose contact as we grow older. Other friends we make as adults and stay in touch with as long as we are in close proximity to and it is convenient to keep in touch but then over time one moves away or busy schedules slowly pull us apart and we start to lose touch.  Those friendships fall into the “good friends” or “close friends” as the opening quote cites. But then there is that last group of friends – those we call true friends – they are those we have a mutual caring about, and we understand each other’s hearts, and where bonds are formed between us that span any distance in proximity and where the bonds run so deep that no amount of time apart or lack of words will change the way we feel about that friend. These are our true friends, and when one comes into your life cherish it!

As a child our family moved often and so I was constantly making new friends each place we moved. Often the contact was lost with friends in past locations, although my memories of them were treasured. As an adult it is often harder to find the time to form those deep friendships outside your immediate family members because we are all trying to juggle a million balls in the air with work and church and service and community all while trying to give our greatest attention to our own children and spouses  where it rightfully belongs. And as a single mother for many years of my life it was even more difficult to make time for friends because playing the role of two parents by yourself while also being the sole support of your family was overwhelming to say the least.

But even during those challenging years there were individuals during that time who came into my life that I consider my truest of friends. They are individuals who saw me through tough times and who always saw the best in me despite any of my shortcomings. They picked me up at times I was down. They stood by me when I felt alone. They taught me things about life and about myself with patience and understanding. They lifted my children’s spirits and made them laugh when they were going through tough times of their own. They forgave at times when I was grumpy or obstinate. They loved me without judgment and without expectations. They gave me hugs, even at times that I may not have deserved one.  These true friends were individuals who were there for me…maybe not always in person or in word every time, but always in heart…and knowing that helped me through incredible challenges throughout the years.

True friends just do that – they help us grow and change for the better.  They support us in good times and bad. They can make us laugh when all we want to do is cry. And no matter how far apart time and distance may cause us to grow from one another, and even if death takes one of them from this world to the next, we always have the comfort of knowing that these true friends are still there for us, even if only in spirit, cheering us on and wishing us the best, because that is what true friends do for each other.

“A strong friendship doesn’t need daily conversation, doesn’t always need togetherness as long as the relationship lives in the heart, true friends will never part…”

When someone is genuinely your true friend they leave an impression on your heart that will never go away…not with time and not with distance. True friends secure a place in your heart forever.  I am forever grateful for the true friends in my life, both those who are alive and those who have passed away, thank you so much for being my true friends!

The crisis in Madagascar: Humanitarian, food and climate change

The crisis that has now been unfolded in terms of rising food crisis has been a result of years of negligence and the apathy that the area has received.

The southern Madagascar has seen severe droughts from the past three years but recently it has changes into famine amidst the pandemic situation.

According to Africanews the civilian population of the area have been feeding themselves with cactus fruit , a staple fruit of the region, wild potato and now due to three years of no rain stopped bearing fruit and in this situation of crisis the people have started to fill their bellies with white clay and tamarind.

The locals say that they have restored to this measure because the acidity of the tamarind is balanced by the white clay and that it helps fill their bellies.

The report by the World Food  Programme suggests that not only the southern states have had to face this crisis but soon the other states will be facing the crisis. The  WFP has been tackling the situation but the situation is far from good and they say that it will be now impossible to sustain life their with the limited amount of resources.

Humanitarian issue

Madagascar has been facing this issue for quite some time now but the region has been met with apathy by the world at large. The major help has been coming from the NGOs where the rich countries have neglected the area and the crisis it is facing. The WFP reports that the district of Ampanihy, around 80% of the livestock has been lost and the people have very low per capita income and most are unemployed.

This leaves with people having no choice but resorting to measures such as looting, stealing the cattle and robbing on to each other: the situation is anarchic. People have been fighting for survival and the biggest stakeholders in the process the children have lost the most.

Food and Health

Surviving on white clay and tamarind and also on non-nutritious food for several weeks, or months at stretch have stunted the growth of the children in the area. The white clay when consumed at large has resulted in “swollen bellies” in the children and have resulted in numerous deaths.

The locals have been unable to provide their children with the bare minimum requirement of food leading them to witness the deaths in front of their eyes but sometimes when they return fetching food or water they find the dead bodies of their children: this has led them into trauma and has devasted them emotionally.

Climate Change

Climate change has been one of the main reasons behind the arid climate of the region and this type of droughts is not uncommon to the area but a stretch of three years of prolonged drought is really for the first time that the region has experienced. One of the reasons behind the aridity is the effect of El Nino winds.

Much of the island was once covered with evergreen and deciduous forest, but only the Eastern parts is scantly populated with forest cover.

The Guardian.com reports that the plateau suffers seriously from erosion. The forest has been cut in order to clear rice fields, to obtain fuel and building materials, and to export valuable timber such as ebony, rosewood, and sandalwood.

Sources : Africanews and Guardian.com

What is Sustainable Development?

Our planet is currently facing grave dangers in the form of climate change and global warming. Resources are depleting at a rapid rate and mass extinctions of species are on the rise. This is one among the, if not the foremost global issue of our times. We cannot underestimate its importance since what we do now about this crisis will decide the fate of our future generations and the existence of life itself on our planet.

It is in this context that sustainable development is propounded as a measure that can greatly better the quality of all human life as well as ensures better protection for the planet. Sustainable development refers to principles for development that we can follow to ensure that our current needs are met without us compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It places great importance on healthy sustenance of the natural systems and ecological conditions that we have which ensures the prosperity of humankind as well. Without them, our societies would not be able to survive as they currently are.

low angle photo of airplane
Photo by Sam Willis on Pexels.com

This is absolutely essential because we have come dangerously close to irreversibly depleting the resources that we take from nature. With the industrial revolution and Capitalism taking a stronghold of our cultures in the last century, our focus was generally bent on mass production and profit. Materialism and consumer culture greatly encouraged and solidified this move. The need for progress, the development of cities that were built without proper planning, the rise of the use-and-throw culture, the large scale production of materials that do not naturally decompose, and poor waste management plans all led to a situation where nature was suffering from being indiscriminately exploited. Large scale mining, unprecedented deforestation that clears up entire woodlands, using up of non-renewable resources that cannot be replaced in the same quantity simultaneously at the rate of consumption are all situations where human intervention is disrupting the natural equilibrium. These states of harmony and equilibrium are vital for sustenance of all kinds of life and man cannot hope to progress as a species at the cost of using up every resource available. This will only lead to his extinction as well.

The United Nations Development Programme announced 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. This includes goals such as eradication of poverty and hunger, gender equality, good health, and gender equality, while also aiming at better protection of natural resources on land and in water, climate action, clean water, responsible consumption and production, sustainable communities, etc. This was done to create a better environment and living conditions for all of humanity by 2030, fast-tracking progress for the communities who were behind. SDGs are for all the countries in the world.

A developmental method by which man and nature can co-exist well is the need of the hour, and sustainable development moves ahead with these goals. It seeks to redeem much of what has been lost and protect what we have now so that our existence will not be threatened, but also for the sake of the flora, fauna and the resources and ecosystems surrounding us. If we are to have a future where we do not need to pay for water and buy air, where lives can be led in ways not threatening to nature, we are to work towards more sustainable modes of progress and development.