India’s Most Beautiful Botanical Garden You Must Visit

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata on Pexels.com

A botanical garden is an educational and research facility that grows plants such as ferns, conifers, and flowering plants. The purpose of these gardens is not to provide flowers for entertainment, which is what parks and pleasure gardens provide. But more often than not, plantations are designed for the purpose of generating shade and services for public parks, as well. A botanic garden that specializes in trees is sometimes referred to as an arboretum. Sometimes, you can find them in zoos. A unique laser show is featured in Nashik’s botanical garden, the only one in Southeast Asia of its kind. The botanical gardens in India are typically maintained by research institutes, universities, or other organizations. 

We’ve put together a list of some mesmerizing botanical gardens that offer something for everyone

  1. Government Botanical Gardens, Ooty

Government Botanical Garden was first constructed in 1848 near Coimbatore (Ooty), Tamil Nadu, India, by architect William Graham McIvor. The garden has a terraced layout and is located 2,200 m above sea level in the Nilgiri hills. The garden is maintained by the Tamil Nadu Horticulture Department. There are around 1,000 species of plants, shrubs, ferns laid out in an Italian style, trees, herbs, several lawns with flowering plants, ponds with lilies, and bonsai plants in the Gardens, including exotic and native species. Located in the Garden’s middle is a fossilized tree trunk that is estimated to be 20 million years old. The Gardens also consist of a variety of medicinal plants.

  • The Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, Kolkata

A wonderful garden that stretches across 150 hectares was constructed in 1787. It is situated in Shibpur, Howrah near Kolkata. This garden has the unique privilege of having famous botanists, scientists, and taxonomists as its superintendents. On June 25, 2009, the Garden was named the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden in honor of Jagadish Chandra Bose, the Bengali polymath, and natural scientist. It is under the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. There are more than 2,500 species of trees and shrubs in the open areas of the garden. Plants of the screw pine genus are also often found here, as well as orchids, bamboo, and palms. Jackals, Indian mongooses, and Indian foxes are among the animals that live in the Botanic Garden. One of the main attractions at the park is the 250-year-old Banyan tree, which occupies about 4 acres of the park.

  • Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bangalore

Located in Bengaluru, Lalbagh Botanical Garden is an ancient botanical garden. Originally laid out in the 1760s, the garden was designed by Hyder Ali. Plants of both ornamental and economic value are introduced and propagated in this garden. One of the most appealing features of the garden is the glasshouse.  In addition to providing a social function as a park and recreation area, the glasshouse was also a place where flower shows were held. There are two flower shows celebrated during Republic Day week (26 January) and Independence Day week (15 August). Lalbagh has good bird watching opportunities, both on the ground and in the lake. Additionally, a “Garden centre” is available here for citizens to purchase ornamental plants.

  • Lloyd’s Botanical Garden, Darjeeling

It is located at an altitude of about 2,100 meters in the middle of the Himalayas and is a garden of 24 acres that was established in 1878. It is one of India’s most picturesque botanical gardens. Over 1,800 exotic botanical species are located in the garden, including a living fossil tree and the Ginkgo biloba, plants that date back thousands of years.

Places to visit in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand

Almora district is a district in the Kumaon division of Uttarakhand state, India. The town of Almora is surrounded by Pithoragarh district to the east, Garhwal region to the west, Bageshwar district to the north, and Nainital district to the south. The landscape of Almora attracts tourists each year for its views of the Himalayas, cultural heritage, handicrafts, and cuisine, and is a business hub for the Kumaon region. 

Almora has attracted several eminent people through the ages, including Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore, Uday Shankar, and his troupe, and Ravi Shankar, who contributed to the cultural enrichment of the town. Govind Ballabh Pant noted freedom fighter was born in Almora. Former Indian Captain and ace cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni has ancestral roots in Lwali village in Almora. The town also serves as the starting point for many treks like Jageshwar, Pindari, Mornaula, Mukteshwar, Binsar, and Ranikhet among others.

The place owes its name to “Kilmore” a tiny plant found in the nearby regions, used for washing utensils of Katarmal sun temple. The people who used to bring the plant were referred to as Kilmore or Almora. Hence, the town came to be known as Almora or Almoda. 

Almora

Places to visit –

  1. Chitai Golu Devta Temple

Presided by the deity of Golu Ji, an incarnation of Lord Shiva in the form of Gaur Bhairav, the Chitai Temple is recognized by the number of copper bells hung in its premises. Although there are many temples of Golu Devta in Almora the Chitai Golu Devta Temple is the most sacred one.

Chitai Golu Devta Temple

  • Kasar Devi

Kasar Devi is a village near Almora, Uttarakhand. It is known for the Kasar Devi temple, a Devi temple, dedicated to Kasar Devi, after whom the place is also named. The Kasar Devi temple offers a pleasant view of the Almora city and Hawabagh Valley. In the 1890s Swami Vivekanand came to this temple for meditation.

Kasar Devi Temple

  • Dunagiri

Dunagiri temple is located 14 km far from Dwarahat. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Durga. It is believed that when Hanuman Ji was carrying the mountain with ‘Sanjiwani buti’ for Laxman, a piece of it fell here and since that day this place is known as ‘Doonagiri’ (‘giri’ meaning fell).

Dunagiri Temple

  • Jageshwar

One of the finest examples of architecture in Uttarakhand, Jageshwar Dham is a group of temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Jageshwar temple site attracts many pilgrims and visitors every day. Many complete a part of the post-cremation last rites after the death of a loved one at the Jageshwar temple site. 

Jageshwar Temple

  • Binsar

Binsar is a small town adorned on the hills of Kumaon. Binsar is known for offering spell-binding views of the majestic Himalayan peaks such as Chaukhamba, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot, Panchauali, and Kedarnath. This compact hill town is encircled by the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary which serves as a habitat for the rare animals, birds, and flower species. It is the best place for experiencing adventurous hiking and camping.

Binsar

  • Katarmal Sun Temple

Katarmal Sun Temple is considered the second most important sun temple in India after Konark Sun Temple (Orissa). It is believed to be the only sun temple located in the hills. The Katarmal Sun temple is a unique cluster of temples that is the tallest temple in the Kumaon region. Inside the main temple along with the statue of Vraddhaditya, other deities are also present. The locals believe that this shrine is significant for two reasons. One, this is the only Sun temple in the hills, and second, in February and November, the sun rays fall directly on the deity making it an extraordinary sight.

Katarmal Sun Temple

Places to visit in Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand, a state in northern India crossed by Himalayas , is known for its Hindu pilgrimage sites. The state is popularly known as the “Devbhumi” known as “Land of Gods”. It is divided into two regions—Garhwal in the north, and Kumaon in the south. Each of these offers plenty of opportunities for adventure, sightseeing, wildlife and tourism.

Rishikesh, a major centre for yoga study, was made famous by the Beatles’ 1968 visit. The city hosts the evening Ganga Aarti, a spiritual gathering on the sacred Ganges River. The state’s forested Jim Corbett National Park shelters Bengal tigers and other native wildlife.

For those who seek adventure tourism, Uttarakhand offers some incredible trekking and mountain climbing opportunities. Here are six places to visit in Uttarakhand if by any chance you are in mood of taking your mind off and just want to enjoy the nature.

  • Haridwar

It is situated on the right bank of the holy Ganga and is regarded among the seven sacred cities of India. Haridwar is also, the gateway to the four major pilgrimages – the Char Dham – Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. It’s particularly popular with Hindu pilgrims who come to take a dip in the holy waters of the Ganga River and wash away their sins.

  • Rishikesh

Rishikesh, not located far from Haridwar, is also known as the “Yoga Capital of the World” because of the large number of ashrams teaching meditation and yoga. For the adventurous, Rishikesh is the place for starting their trekking expeditions and excursions towards the Himalayan peaks.

  • Nainital

Nainital is one of the most popular hill stations in India, located in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas. It is surrounded by seven hills and snow-capped peaks. Nainital is an all-year destination but the weather is best between March and June.

  • Dehradun

Dehradun also spelled Dera Doon, is the capital of Uttarakhand and a lively city surrounded by charming views of the mountains of Mussoorie. It is primarily known for the number of elite boarding schools it has like Doon School and the Indian Military Academy. March to June is the best time to visit and to beat the summer heat as the weather is pleasant.

  • Mussoorie

Mussoorie, known as the Queen of the Hills, and famous for its scenic beauty, is located 34 km from Dehradun. Mussoorie gets its name from the Mussoorie plant that grows in abundance here. It is famous for its scenic beauty and superb view of the Himalayas. If you want to see snowfall, you can visit during the winter months.

  • Jim Corbett National Park

One of India’s most popular national parks, Jim Corbett National Parks is named after hunter-turned-conservationist Jim Corbett. Located at the Himalayas foothills, near the popular hill station of Nainital, is famous for being home to a large number of tigers. The park is explored by jeep safaris. It offers the best chance of animal sightings. And if you are lucky, you might spot a tiger.

There are many other places to visit such as Almora, Auli, Chopta, Munsiyari, Kausani etc.

Watching Clouds : A Mindful Activity

Clouds are beautiful, aren’t they? A clear blue sky with cotton white clouds is one of the prettiest views you can see from your balcony. Maybe it sounds silly but staring at a sky with clouds is indeed a great mindful activity. Watching the clouds go by with winds makes you think about those unsaid thoughts and at some level helps you to self-introspect. It somewhat like meditation.

In a life full of tasks and duties, take some time off and try cloud watching and you will realize how a simple activity like this relaxes your mind.

As Italians say, dolce far niente is equally important in our everyday lives. Dolce far niente means the sweetness of doing nothing. (This does not mean being lazy) The real meaning behind this is finding pleasure in doing nothing or relaxing.

This may sound easy but it is not. In today’s world when staying away from our phones and laptops seems like a tremendous job. How can someone enjoy the art of doing nothing.

Cloud watching is one of that ‘ art of doing nothing’ activities. Just sit down outside or take a walk outside and during this time try to appreciate those white coloured clouds in the sky. It may sound like a small activity but I think it makes a real difference.

Feel free to try out this mindful activity because it is free of cost 🙂

Amazing Animal Friendships

Sea Urchins & Crabs

Crabs carry sea urchins on their backs. The sea urchins are sometimes poisonous and hence provide both protection and because the sea urchins are above the crab, the crab is perfectly secured from the predators. In return, sea urchins get free rides underwater.

Image result for sea urchina and crabs

Wolves & Hyenas

As wolves have excellent hunting skills, they help the hyenas to hunt. The hyenas in return help the wolves to find the prey by their excellent olfactory skills and ability to rip off the bones of the prey.

Oxpecker birds & Zebra

Oxpecker birds help the zebra by eating the ticks from the zebra’s body. The zebras get rid of the evil pests from their body and in return, the birds get a delicious meal to fill their appetite.

Also, when these birds sense any type of danger (predators) near, they give out a warning call to the zebra to save themselves.

Crocodiles & Egyptian plover

These Egyptian plovers help the crocodile by cleaning their gums from leeches, as the leeches cause infection to the crocodiles and in return, the Egyptian plovers get some amazing meal for them.

Image result for Crocodile Symbiotic Relationships

Warthogs & Mongooses

These Warthogs are groomed by the mongooses. The mongooses pick off the insects from the warthog’s body and feed them themselves and return the warthogs is free from the depraved insects.

Gobies & Pistol Shrimps

The gobies and the pistol shrimps are the perfect examples of best roommates ever. The Pistol shrimp digs a cave in the ground where Goby and the pistol shrimp would stay and in return, the goby alerts the shrimp from the predators so the shrimp can hide. Also, it has been noticed that the goby brings algae for shrimps to eat.

Image result for goby and pistol shrimp

Humans & Honeyguides

In South Africa, the tribal communities are guided by these honeyguide birds to the honeycomb in the forest. These honeyguides help these tribals to find the honeycomb and in return, the tribals give the birds a part of the honeycomb to feed on it.

A TREAT OF HEAVEN

ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLAND

In this blog, I am going to take you to the middle of the sea. Wondering where? The island which is very famous because of our freedom fighters where they had to spend years behind the bars. Yes, you are guessing right, I am talking about Andaman and Nicobar Island. This place is heaven on the earth if you haven’t visited yet after reading this blog about Andaman and Nicobar Island, I am sure that you all will be going to book your tickets now! So, let’s start our online trip to Andaman and Nicobar.

I am going to talk about the places where I had visited in Andaman and Nicobar.

  1. Havelock
  2. Neil island
  3. Cellular Jail
  4. Ross Island

Havelock is the spotlight of the Andaman and Nicobar tourism, it is very famous for the beaches and greenery, in short, it is the feast for the eyes. Clyster clear water, white sand will definitely soothe your eyes. In 2018 our prime minister Narendra Modi has changed the name of havelock to swaraj deep. Yes I know you all want to know how to reach there, you have to book ferries and it will take 90 min to reach there. Places to visit in havelock are:

  1. RADHA NAGAR BEACH:

Radha Nagar beach is one of the most well-known beaches in Andaman and Nicobar and  the best beach in Asian  described by the Time magazine. sky blue sea with crystal clear water and white sand where you and enjoy your day you can play in the water you can swim in the water you can also take sun-bath there. There are large numbers of huts, benches and wooden chairs where you can sit and relax there and can enjoy the beauty of nature.

They also provide you with changing rooms where you can change you wet cloths.

  1. ELEPHANT BEACH 

Don’t judge this place by its name, you might be thinking that there must be many elephants but it is not like that. Elephant beach is very famous for water sports, it gives you numerous water activities. Let’s discuss in more details about water sports.

  • SCUBA DIVING : 

In scuba diving, you are taken under-water where you can see the breath-taking view of aquatic life. You can see untouched coral reefs, vibrant fishes, under-water vegetation and under-water ecosystem.

  • SNORKELING :

Snorkelling is little bit same as scuba diving but it doesn’t allow you to go deep inside the water, you can only go to the surface of the water and can see through your goggles, and also can swim.

  • SEA WALKING: 

Yes, you heard right you can walk under the sea, sea walking is most unique and very adventurous. Diving and swimming are okay but have you ever imagined walking under the sea. Once you reached the bottom of the sea you will see that you will get surrounded by hoards of fishes you can actually feed them, isn’t it really exciting?

It is another island full of beaches, this island is for those who want to be far from noise, disturbance as you can find a smaller number of vehicles, market and less population. Here also you can find water sports activities like jet skiing and a glass bottom boat ride. Let me make you more clear about these water sports.

  • JET SKIING:

Jet skiing is one of the most enjoyable water sports activity as it can be enjoyed by anyone and it is available at Bharatpur Beach in Neil. It will give you a unique feeling that you are riding a bike on water. Timing for this activity is from 9AM to 4PM. I personally advise you to book jet ski as it is always available and t is cheaper than other water sports activities.

  • GLASS BOTTOM BOAT RIDE:

this activity is appropriate for those who don’t want to get wet or doesn’t want to go into the water. By the name itself, it is clear that you will be travelling on a boat which will have a see-through glass from which you can see the underwater life, you can see fishes, corals and many more.

Cellular jail is one of the most historic monuments in Andaman and Nicobar, also known as kaala Pani, it will definitely give you goosebumps while exploring the jail. Every wall of the jail will tell you the story of our soldiers. There you will see how much sacrifice has been done by our freedom fighters. Britishers used to send the soldiers in this whenever they try to protest against them. You can visit the jail at 9AM to 12:30PM and 1:00PM to 5PM (except on Mondays and on national holiday)

Cellular jail will provide you light and sound show, in this you will get narrated the whole story of how freedom fighters lived there how they survived there and how has been treated there. It is a must-watch show. The show is in both Hindi language and in the English language. You can enjoy this show at 6PM    (Hindi) and 7:15PM (English).

The one who is a nature lover, Ross island is a perfect place to visit. There you are surrounded by nature. There you can see animals and the best part is that they are not caged they will roam here and there. You will see rabbits, deer, peacocks roaming here and there and you can experience the beauty of the nature. You can sit there for hours in cool breeze and can also enjoy the beach view. In 2018 our Prime Minister Narender Modi has changed the name of Ross Island to Netaji Shubhas Chandra Bose island.

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Next question you all will get that how one can reach there?

You can get a boat from phoenix bay jetty and it will help you to reach in 15 mins, the people over there will provide you with a life jacket also or else you can choose a helicopter tour. 

Yes, this is the short and adventurous trip of mine to Andaman and Nicobar, I am sure that after reading this you will definitely plan your future trip to Andaman and Nicobar. I personally suggest you to visit Andaman and Nicobar during summer months. 

Where does the smell of rain comes from?

Ever experienced smelling that calm and earthy fragrance coming from the dry ground when it is raining? I bet all of us are attracted to that pleasant odour.

Matter of fact there is a term used for that particular smell it is called Petrichor.

But why are we all are such a fan of petrichor and where does petrichor arises from?

Scientists detected that the earth smell or petrichor come from the organic compound called Geosmin, which is actually produced by microbes of the genus Streptomyces. Also, the interesting fact is Streptomyces produces Geosmin when they are dying.

So, the question arises what makes the produce Geosmin when it starts raining? And are we the only species who love the smell of petrichor?

An insect called Springtails like humans also loves the smell of petrichor. Springtails have antennae and they can sense the Geosmin produced by the Streptomyces and this helps Springtails to find the Streptomyces and later consuming them as their food.

 But why would any creature produce a smell so that it could get eaten by another creature?

The thing is Streptomyces wants to be eaten by the Springtail so that after they are eaten and Springtails defecates. The spores of Streptomyces can proliferate further via the faecal pellet of Springtails. So, here we can understand how the Streptomyces are reproducing asexually.

All of this is actually a part of the lifecycle of Streptomyces.

Isn’t it amazing how nature works?

Next time when you smell petrichor remember there is a whole feast happening for the Springtails in that ground below you also  the circle of rebirth for Streptomyces is also circling.

Importance of Trees

From childhood, we’ve heard that trees are our satisfactory pal however in realistic existence, we didn’t see anyone who treats trees as their pals. Even though they may be the most treasured existence supply on the earth. They benefit each life form in a direct or oblique way. And the earth is connected to them to maintain a herbal balance. In this essay on store trees, we are discussing the reason why our buddies want saving.

They nourish us and defend us in lots of approaches. Additionally, they keep our environment inexperienced and smooth. So, it becomes our duty to pay off them for the matters they do for us by way of saving them. Except, massive timber are extra useful than small ones due to the fact they capture greater carbon, seize greater water, combat the heat, clear out greenhouse gases, offers refuge from warmth and daylight, and so on. So, it may be stated that we depend on them extra in preference to they on us.

Benefits and significance of trees
As we have mentioned the advantages of trees in quick however right here we’re going to speak about them in element. Flora and bushes fight the climatic modifications which might be destroying the earth. In addition they clear out the air that we breathe and soak up all the damaging chemical gases and odors from the surroundings. Additionally, they soak up the damaging carbon dioxide and offers out oxygen.

They may be true for the diversity of flora and fauna. They give us meals, safe haven and many more things that we can’t matter. Besides, they in no way demand something from us and also save you soil erosion, water evaporation. Peculiarly, they manage and manipulate the consequences of wind, sun and, rain.

Why should we save trees?
The human has turn out to be aware and severe about this problem and started doing the nice they are able to do to store bushes. The woodland departments and authorities have banned the unlawful slicing of trees. And they are going virtual as a way to shop paper for you to reduce the range of trees reduce down for making paper.

Other than that, the wooded area area after reducing of bushes need to be replanted with new ones. Also, we must train our youngsters to plant trees and ask them to pass it on their pals and buddies.

The least that we will do is to plant a few pots in our home rooftops or lawn and ask our neighbor to do the same. Additionally, if we see the removal of a tree then we ought to inform the neighborhood authority approximately it to create consciousness. Specially, strict laws have to be made for people who illegally or without permission reduce those trees for his or her personal blessings.

The numerous existence form is able to live to tell the tale on this planet because of flora. If we dispose of plant life from the earth even for sooner or later then the survival of guy turns into difficult.

Besides, they’re the supply of water and clean oxygen on the planet. Cutting of trees will lead to destroying the human existence on the earth. So, the time has come that we to be aware of the problems we will be facing due to large deforestation and we should start taking preventive measures to stop it.

YOGA – NATURAL IMMUNE BOOSTER

A Better Body Image

Yoga develops inner awareness. It focuses your attention on your body’s abilities at the present moment. It helps develop breath and strength of mind and body. It’s not about physical appearance.

Yoga studios typically don’t have mirrors. This is so people can focus their awareness inward rather than how a pose — or the people around them — looks. Surveys have found that those who practiced yoga were more aware of their bodies than people who didn’t practice yoga. They were also more satisfied with and less critical of their bodies. For these reasons, yoga has become an integral part in the treatment of eating disorders and programs that promote positive body image and self-esteem.

Becoming a Mindful Eater

Mindfulness refers to focusing your attention on what you are experiencing in the present moment without judging yourself.

Practicing yoga has been shown to increase mindfulness not just in class, but in other areas of a person’s life.

Researchers describe mindful eating as a nonjudgmental awareness of the physical and emotional sensations associated with eating. They developed a questionnaire to measure mindful eating using these behaviors:

  • Eating even when full (disinhibition)
  • Being aware of how food looks, tastes and smells
  • Eating in response to environmental cues, such as the sight or smell of food
  • Eating when sad or stressed (emotional eating)
  • Eating when distracted by other things

The researchers found that people who practiced yoga were more mindful eaters according to their scores. Both years of yoga practice and number of minutes of practice per week were associated with better mindful eating scores. Practicing yoga helps you be more aware how your body feels. This heightened awareness can carry over to mealtime as you savor each bite or sip, and note how food smells, tastes and feels in you mouth.

A Boost to Weight Loss and Maintenance

People who practice yoga and are mindful eaters are more in tune with their bodies. They may be more sensitive to hunger cues and feelings of fullness.

Researchers found that people who practiced yoga for at least 30 minutes once a week for at least four years, gained less weight during middle adulthood. People who were overweight actually lost weight. Overall, those who practiced yoga had lower body mass indexes (BMIs) compared with those who did not practice yoga. Researchers attributed this to mindfulness. Mindful eating can lead to a more positive relationship with food and eating.

Enhancing Fitness

Yoga is known for its ability to soothe tension and anxiety in the mind and body. But it can also have an impact on a person’s exercise capacity.

Researchers studied a small group of sedentary individuals who had not practiced yoga before. After eight weeks of practicing yoga at least twice a week for a total of 180 minutes, participants had greater muscle strength and endurance, flexibility and cardio-respiratory fitness.

Plastic- Inseparable part of our lives

Imagine thousands of plastic bags floating around you forever

Inventions and discoveries lay a tremendous impact on the human race and development. Yet, few human creations can metamorphose into a curse. Nearly a hundred years ago, humanity created the most durable and cheap material -plastic. In a flash, plastic reached the deepest trenches, in the air we breathe and even in our stomachs. Barely 10% of the plastic we produce gets recycled whereas, the rest of the plastic contributes to climate change. Today these estimations may seem ordinary numbers, yet incautious measures can lead to the extinction of our race. Unbelievably we produce 3,000,000 plastic bottles in just 60 seconds; how horrifying is that? Our irrational use of plastic has affected the abundance of the entire ecosystem. The fishes are floating at the brink of extinction. We are the ones to condemn; hence it is our responsibility to wonder about potential solutions. Binish Desai-the recycle man has that solution. Amidst the Covid pandemic, the masks and PPE kits have made their way to the oceans. Binish Desai came up with an extraordinary idea to make eco-bricks out of them, recently introducing ‘Brick 2.0’. Furthermore, hundreds of women have started using menstruation cups to limit the plastic waste created by sanitary pads. Therefore, together we can beat plastic pollution. The story of our ecosystem is a tale older than ours. The majesty and abundance of the creatures out there are beyond our foresight. Each creation is unique and a mystery for us. Yet, our reckless management of plastic and other resources has affected the entire ecosystem. Our environment would collapse before we get a chance to know everything about it. Hence, together we need to think of solutions. We know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; only be transformed. Similarly, nothing is a waste in nature; scrap produced today can be transformed into something productive tomorrow. Together we can build a sustainable future if we start recycling now. A very efficient way to cease plastic pollution is brand audits and cleaning drives. They help to collect plastic and hold the brand guilty of who created the plastic waste in the first place. The most generous aid we can give to the ecosystem is minimizing plastic usage from our surroundings. We can switch to a bamboo toothbrush and go for a waterless car wash. In addition, social media gives us a platform to contribute even in this pandemic. Social media let us share and debate upon solutions in an efficient way. Furthermore, we need to consider that we are genius at planning; however, we fail to execute our solutions. Discussing the solutions will only help us when we work upon them. Hence, always try to buy products of brands that believe in sustainability. Together let us unwrap the layer of plastic we laid on our mother Earth. Remember tsunami of throwaway plastic is awaiting us tomorrow if we stop recycling. “Only when the last tree has died, the last river has flourished, we will realize that we cannot eat the money”. Your contribution matters!

Climate Change

The phenomenon of rising temperatures of the Earth resulting in change of climate, seasons, rainfall patterns etc. is called Global warming. Global warming and its effects are together referred to as Climate Change. While these changes have been seen before but the rate of change has increased rapidly from the middle of the 20th century. Findings from different recognized scientific organizations support these claims. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “human influence on climate has been the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century”. The emission of greenhouse gases as a result of human activities have been one of the largest causes for this. Fossil fuels, Chloro-fluro carbons (CFCs), deforestation, rise in different forms of pollution are all behind this.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Temperature change is also accompanied by loss of snow cover, melting permafrost, frequent natural disasters like cyclones. Land surfaces heat more quickly which have resulted in heat waves, forest fires, increase in desert area. These temperature changes are the highest in the Arctic region. Changes in environmental conditions have led to extinction of several wildlife species in forests, coral reefs etc. Rising carbon dioxide emissions lead to rising sea levels, ocean temperatures and ocean acidification. These changes bring in frequent droughts, extreme weather conditions affecting the equilibrium and natural balance.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Almost all countries have come together for climate change under the umbrella of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The convention aims to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. It has instructed policy makers that there is much greater risk to human and natural systems if the warming goes above 1.5 °C compared to pre-industrial levels. Under the Paris Agreement, nations have made climate pledges to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but even after following those, global warming would still reach about 2.8 °C by 2100. To prevent this from happening and limit the warming to 1.5 °C, methane emissions need to decrease to near-zero levels and carbon dioxide emissions should reach net-zero by the year 2050.

Governments should act immediately and policies should be constructed to reduce fossil fuel emissions, increase reforestation, forest prevention, use of low carbon energy technologies, food preservation. All societies should work together towards dealing with future global warming problems in a scientific way. Development of more resistant crops, better disaster management should also be considered.

Several international movements have taken place like Fridays For Future where school students take time off from school to aware people and demand climate change action from governments. They demand action from political leaders of the world for the fossil fuel industry to convert to renewable energy and take immediate measures for climate change. This movement was publicised after Greta Thunberg started a protest outside the Swedish parliament with a poster saying “School strike for climate”. She is an environmental activist who has spoken at several internationally recognised platforms. She started her journey as an activist from the time when she had convinced her parents to change their lifestyle for reducing their carbon footprint. She is known for her straight forward manner of speaking at public platforms and criticizing world leaders for their failure to address climate change. She has participated in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (2018) and UN Climate Action Summit (2019). She has also got several awards and made it into the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women (2019). Though her popularity at such a young age has made her a target of critics, but she continues to work and struggle towards her goal with indomitable spirit.

Earthquakes

An earthquake is caused by a sudden slip on a fault. Stresses in the earth’s outer layer push the sides of the fault together. Stress builds up and the rocks slips suddenly, releasing energy in waves that travel through the earth’s crust and cause the shaking. An Earthquake occurs when plates grind and scrape against each other. India lies at the northwestern end of the IndoAustralian Plate, which encompasses India, Australia, a major portion of the Indian Ocean and other small countries. This plate is colliding against the huge Eurasian Plate and going under the Eurasian Plate,this process of one tectonic plate getting under another is responsible for making India a earthquake prone country. A number of significant earthquakes occured in and around India over the past century. Some of these occured in populated and urbanized areas and hence caused great damage. Many went unnoticed, as they occurred deep under the Earth’s surface or in relatively un-inhabited places. The varying geology at different locations in the country implies that the likelihood of damaging earthquakes taking place at different locations is different. Thus, a seismic zone map is required to identify these regions.

Bureau of Indian Standards, based on the past seismic history, grouped the country into four seismic zones, Zone – 2,-3,-4and 5. Of these, zone 5 is the most seismically active region, while zone 2 is the least. The Modified Mercalli(MM) intensity, which measures the impact of the earthquakes on the surface of the earth, broadly associated with various zones, is as follows.

Cyclone

Cyclonic storm is caused by atmospheric disturbances around a low-pressure area and is usually accompanied by violent storms and severe weather conditions. Cyclone is derived from the greek word cyclos – coiling of snake. Tropical Cyclone is a deep low pressure area from around the center the strong winds, spirals and pick up the speeds of 62 kmph or more. In Northern hemisphere these winds rotate counter clock wise and in Southern hemisphere clockwise. The tropical cyclones that are intense are known as huricanes Over the Atlantic Ocean and typhoons over the pacific ocean. They are know by different names for example dust devils, supercell thunderstorm, tomadoes, tropical cyclones, extra tropical cyclones etc. On the basis of the speed of the wind cyclones are classified into 5 different categories.

According to the category of the cyclone the wind speed varies that is from 60 km an hour to about 220 kmph and above. When the speed of the wind around the low pressure area reach upto 60 kmph it is known as tropical cyclone and the name is assigned. When wind speed settles between 89 and 118 kmph, it turns into a severe Cyclonic storm. When wind blows at a speed of about 119 to 221 kmph then it is known as very severe Cyclonic storm and when the speed of the wind exceeds 221kmph then the cyclone is known as supercyclonic storm. The word meteorological organization (WMO) has a well defined process to select the name of each cyclone.

A cyclone named fani is a massive Cyclonic formation over the south of bay of Bengal which made landfall in odisha.

Cyclone like ookhi hit parts of kerala, tamil nadu, sri lanka, and maldives at 185kmph with total fatalities of 245 in kerala that time around 80 fisherman were killed and 140 people were reported missing. In 2018 cyclone gaja also made landfall in Nagapattinam ‘s vedaranyam block and killed around 46 people. In 2019 vayu in the Arabian Sea.

The polar vortex is a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding the Earth’s North and South poles in each Hemisphere. The term refers to the counter clockwise flow of air that helps the colder air close to the poles. Often during winter in the Northern hemisphere the polar vortex will become less stable and expand senting cold artic air southward over the East of US with the jet stream. One exist in the troposphere where we live and where the weather happens. The other exists in the second lowest, called the stratosphere, which is a shroud of thin air that gets warmer at higher altitudes. The tropospheric polar vortex is the one that affects our weather with piercing shots of cold, intense bouts of storminous and bitter wind chills reaching upto 80°Celsius.

Environment Scan

The world is a greener place today than it was 20 years ago. NASA used Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer(MODIS) to get a detailed picture of Earth’s global vegetation through time. The technique provided up to 500 meter resolution for the past two decades.

According to NASA, in contrast to the perception that China and India are over exploiting land, water and resources for economic gain, the countries are responsible for the largest greening of the planet in the past two decades. China and India implemented besides infusion of technology around agriculture. India broke world records in tree planting, with 800000 Indians planting 50 million trees in just 24 hours.

The NASA’s high resolution imagery published in the journal Nature Sustainability, allowed comparison of satellite data :mid-1990s-2019.Initially,the researchers wondered about the significant greening around the planet. Was it due to a warming planet, increased CO2 or a wetter climate that could have caused more plants to grow. Further investigation of the satellite imagery, helped find the disproportionate greening in China and India. If the greening was primarily a response from climate change and a warming planet, the increase vegetation wouldn’t be limited to country borders. Besides, higher latitude regions should also become greener faster than lower latitudes as permafrost melts and areas like Northern Russia become more habitable.

The United States stands 7th in the total change in vegetation percent by decade. It is encouraging to see swift and rapid change in governance and land use.

Electronic waste comprises waste electronics/electrical goods that are not fit for their originally intended use or have reached their end of life. This may include items such as mobile phones, computers, monitors, calculators, CDs, printers, scanners, copiers, battery cells, Radio, TVs, medical apara and electronic components besides white goods such as refrigerators and air conditioners which contain hazardous constituents, although e-waste itself is not harmful. E – waste also contains recoverable value materials like copper, silver, gold and platinum. The harmful materials contained in electronic products are heavy metals such as lead, barium and cadmium which are harmful to health if they enter the water bodies. These materials can cause damage to the human nervous and respiratory systems.

India is among the world’s largest consumers of mobile phones and produces more than 1.5 million tonnes of e-waste each year. Most consumers are still unaware of how to dispose of their e-waste. E-waste Rules, 2016,was enacted on 1 oct 2017,further strengthening the existing rules.

Animal Cruelty: Are Humans Losing Their Humanity?

Imagine you were the one being tested on, imagine your skin being torn off alive, imagine your arms and legs being ripped off while still alive, imagine being burnt alive, fellow classmates even imagine losing your life, just so you can satisfy other species. Doesn’t sound fun, does it?

Now imagine this, you are a poor soul who has been searching for food everywhere. Suddenly, your happiness sees no bound as you see pineapple lying in front of you. You thank god and people for feeding such a delicacy amidst long hunger. You gulp that in one bite and feel inside of your body hurting and burning. You soon realize it was not just a pineapple. You run for water to soothe down the internal wound and burning. You stand in water for hours in oblivion just to face one reality – that now only death can relieve this burning. If reading this makes your stomach churn, you might understand the pain that poor soul went through which for some people was a mere ‘elephant’. What makes it even more disheartening that the elephant was pregnant  and yet had to spend her last few hours standing in the water waiting for death so that to leave this cruel world in solace.

In yet another instance of cruelty towards animals, a monkey was hanged to death from a tree in Telangana’s Khammam district.

Animals – creatures that are considered fit for human cruelty. Hitting dogs, throwing bricks at speechless animals and taming them forcefully for circuses has become common news now. It is time we re-emphasized the need for animal rights to protect and safeguard their lives from humans.

It’s blood curling that there exist some people who intentionally hurt animals because they enjoy hurting things, or because it makes them feel powerful. Some, love the control they possess over these helpless creatures. While, there are others who simply enjoy pain and violence.

It should be noted that intentional cruelty to animals is strongly correlated with other crimes, including violence against people. (HSLF). Any psychologist or police officer can ascertain you that animal cruelty is a precursor to criminally violent behavior toward humans. There are plenty of laws against cruelty to animals as well. Thus, Outright cruelty, harm to a living creature for no other purpose than the cruelty itself, is definitely prohibited and while not punishable to the extent that human cruelty is punishable, it is considered a serious indicator of a disordered mind and a dangerous person.

There are very strict guidelines laid down by the Indian government. Like, the animal should have rested before being slaughtered, an animal should not be killed in front of the other animals, no pregnant animal can be killed and all the animals should be diagnosed by the veterinarian before butchering them. The veterinarian must allow only the healthy animals to be slaughtered but all of it is on paper. All the strict laws have no strict implementation due to lack of will. There will surely be reduction in the rate of animal cruelty if these laws are implemented strictly!

We need to begin with our own selves without expecting any kind of new policies or laws to protect animals. Regularly keeping a bowl of fresh water outside your house and feeding the street animals. Such small activities would provide street animals with basic survival needs in the harsh city life.

Are we going to realize this any soon that we are a part of an ecosystem where human, plants, animals, insects, and microorganisms, all have to live together without harming each other? It’s generally only the humans that are less tolerant towards animals, plants, insets, etc. whereas, the rest simply seek for a peaceful existence.

Ghost Orchid: The rarest Orchid in the world.

We all know orchids as exotic, classy and high-maintenance blooms. But I’m sure you haven’t heard of ghost orchids which sway to the breeze in night, trance and mesmerize you with its ethereal beauty.  Well, fret not, even faint-hearted can enjoy the beauty of these blooms too!

ghost orchid flower

It is the phantom of orchid family and looks nothing like its siblings. It doesn’t have chlorophyll and leaves.  It poses like a ghost whenever you try to click it. But what do these characteristics make it? A die-hard, born-to-survive miracle that makes its way through all odds and shines like a star!

The florets don’t have chlorophyll and hence, are white in nature. When they move in night, they look like creepy ghosts floating in air and thus, the name ghost orchids. The plant is also leafless and depends on the other tree to make food.  The pond apple trees, palm trees, mild temperature, optimum shade and high humidity make South Florida the perfect habitat for them. The roots of plants do the photosynthesis and cling to the trunks trees like cypress, maples and pond apples.  The plants remain in a symbiotic relation with mycorrhizal fungus, without which they can’t survive. The fungus needs sugar from the plant and in exchange, it provides and gathers nutrients for it.  If the plants aren’t infected by the fungus in the wild, they won’t germinate and will be dead eventually.The blooming season for the plant is June to August.  One to ten flowers are bloomed, with only one flower opening at a time.  The scent of plant resembles apple’s fragrance. The lower petal gives the illusion of jumping frog and the bracts of the flowers are almost paper-like, and thin.  The roots of the orchid cling with such intensity that not only it is difficult to tell them apart but also it makes for a display of flower floating in the middle of nowhere, eventually lending the flowers a ghost illusion.

Though, the plant doesn’t have any chlorophyll, it is an abundant source of nectar.  The pollination of the flowers is done by sphinx moth in night that is lured by nectar. Sphinx has long tongue (proboscis) that lets it reach the nectar sap located deep within. The moth goes from one plant to another in the search of nectar, and transfers the pollen as a result. But due to human intervention in the natural habitat of ghost orchids, the pollination alone doesn’t remain as a reliable and viable option for this endangered flora species. Given their unique appearance, the over-collection of the flowers by flower enthusiasts are also to be blamed for the rapid decline in their population besides hydrological changes and habitat destruction by humans. In fact, its sightings became too rare that it was declared ‘lost and extinct’ in Britain in the year 2010.Scientists have found a new way to culture and process plants from seed to the lab. The plants, so far, have successfully acclimatized to the greenhouse environment.  The ghost orchids also showed high rates of survival when planted to wild as well.  Out of 80 plants, 70 orchids survived the natural habitat at Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Collier County, Florida. The biologists also found success with ghost orchids planted at the Naples Botanical Garden.