Global emissions for 2019 are predicted to hit 36.8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO₂), setting yet another all-time record. This disturbing result means emissions have grown by 62% since international climate negotiations began in 1990 to address the problem.
Trees and thorny cacti that served as fences protecting crops from cattle, as wind breakers conserving soil moisture, besides providing fertiliser and fodder, are making a comeback in Tamil Nadu.
Using recorded audio calls downloaded from the internet or “call playbacks” for birdwatching has increasingly become a problem in India. The overuse of such artificial methods can affect breeding habits and social behaviours. Parks and guides are now considering ways to limit misuse so as to prevent harassment of birds, though some disagree with a complete ban.
Studies find that 97% of published climate scientists agree that climate change is driven by human activity. If the scientific predictions are correct, much of human society is in grave danger though our own actions. So, why isn’t climate change the biggest news story in the world?
From hilly states like Uttarakhand or Himachal Pradesh, to the plains in Madhya Pradesh or a coastal state like Kerala, floods and extreme rainfalls events have made an appearance across landscapes the country this year. Environmentalists explain that unregulated development and willful ignorance of floodplains and catchment areas of rivers increase the impact of such events.
Rainforest species didn’t co-evolve with fire – and even a low intensity wildfire can kill half the trees. That is why the Amazonian forest fires are so damaging.
Climate change isn’t just a technical challenge – it also involves ethics, social justice and cultural values. Insights from literature, philosophy and other humanities can produce better solutions.
Since the 90s, a town in the Philippines has based its economy around tourists viewing whale sharks. And while the sharks showed up in reliable numbers during the first decade of Donsol’s venture into tourism, their numbers have become highly unpredictable in the past decade for reasons still unknown.
Coral reefs are home to so many species that they often are called “the rainforests of the seas.” Today they face a daunting range of threats, including ocean warming and acidification, overfishing and pollution. Worldwide, more than one-third of all coral species are at risk of extinction.
Northeastern India is home to two ape species: eastern and western hoolock gibbons. Populations of the gibbons are both protected and harmed by practices and beliefs specific to the human communities with whom they share their habitats. The fortunes of different gibbon populations shows that there is no one-size-fits-all conservation strategy for apes.
Thousands of years ago, carbon gases trapped on the seafloor escaped, causing drastic warming that helped end the last ice age. A scientist says climate change could cause this process to repeat.
Travelling has become a new-age religion. Its believers continue to grow, its tenets propagated as gospel truth, and its rituals performed with an enthusiasm that surpasses logic. However, travellers and those reaping the economic benefits of this unparalleled rise have a critical role in making tourist hotspots resilient – thereby aiding their own survival.
When thinking about water management, gender is probably the last thing on many people’s minds. But in fact, the whole process of water management – technology choices, decision making, implementation, benefits and risks are all gendered.
Viewers inspired by Netflix’s “Our Planet” to explore the stunning landscapes it captures may find one destination shockingly different from its lustrous on-screen depiction. Between shooting for the series in 2016 and its launch this month, there has been such rapid deforestation in Madagascar’s Kirindy Forest that large patches of the forest showcased in the series have disappeared forever.
Following in Kerala’s footsteps, Madhya Pradesh, India’s second largest state will roll out its action plan on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) containment with emphasis on treatment of hospital effluents and restricting the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry.
Human-dominated mangroves are far from what is considered an ideal environment for otters. And yet this estuarine island on India’s western coast is home to a thriving population of the threatened smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata). Recent studies of this elusive species living in the brackish waters of Chorao island—far from the freshwater sources that otters are typically believed to rely on—offer new insights into otter behaviour that could inform future conservation efforts.
They may peck greedily at feeding tables – and have it easier than country birds do in the warmer urban winters – but city birds, it turns out, are in turmoil on the inside. By Aisling Irwin Researchers have found that many internal defence mechanisms that are quiet in rural birds are much more active in those in cities. These biological pathways are pumping out extra antioxidants, immune system cells and detoxifiers – a sign that urban life is challenging their health. Globally, bird numbers are dropping. According to figures published by conservation organisation BirdLife International last year, 40% of bird species have
In a global economy, passing laws to conserve forests, fisheries or other natural resources can simply shift demand for those goods to other countries or regions where they aren’t as well protected.
Unprecedented climate change is causing a rethink on the way we grow our food. More and more farmers in India are looking at resilient food forests to sustain themselves, with reduced irrigation needs and improved productivity; and to help the country through the current agrarian crisis.
The Kharai camels of Kutch are dependent on mangroves for their food, and during monsoons, swim to mangrove islands in hordes. Widespread industrialisation along the coastlines of Kutch has destroyed mangroves and the swimming routes of the camels.
With the farming season limited to just four months in Ladakh, villagers have turned to innovative, low-cost technologies to grow vegetables in winter that improves diets and boosts incomes, but smallholder farmers need post-harvest support.
At first glance, it almost sounds crazy. Can we really take carbon dioxide emissions from an industrial plant and store them underground? To find out, research is currently taking place to test if such an idea is not only viable but safe, and prove that to the public. By Jonathan O’Callaghan This approach is known as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and it’s been around for decades but has never really taken off. In its recent reports, however, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that CCS could have a key role to play if we’re going to meet our climate
Across the planet, entire populations of sharks and rays are being overfished, in some cases leading them to the brink of extinction. The situation is particularly grim in the Arabian Sea where, according to a new study, over 50 percent of the shark species found in these waters are threatened. And as one of the top shark fishing nations in the world, India is leading the charge.
A recent study assessed the vulnerability of 80 populations of Arctic marine mammals during the “open-water” period of September, when sea ice is at its minimum extent, to understand the relative risks of vessel traffic across Arctic marine mammal species, populations and regions. The study found that more than half (53 percent) of these populations – including walruses and several types of whales – would be exposed to vessels in Arctic sea routes. This could lead to collisions, noise disturbance or changes in the animals’ behaviour.
Falling agricultural income, accumulated power bills, spiraling farm loans, acute dependence on water tankers and the resultant migration to cities in search of livelihood are now referred to in the past tense in the 19 villages of Sinnar taluka in Maharashtra’s Nashik district, thanks to the unique participatory action of water management involving local farmers, an NGO, corporate donors and the state’s irrigation authorities.
A landmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, commissioned at the breakthrough 2015 summit that brokered the Paris climate agreement, outlines what’s at stake in the world’s bid to limit global temperature rise to 1.5℃.
In an interview with Manu Moudgil, Dr. Andheria (President of the Wildlife Conservation Trust) talks about various aspects of wildlife conservation, including mitigation measures along linear infrastructure, fragmentation of forests and implementation of the Forest Rights Act.
Soligas are an indigenous tribe of Karnataka, inhabiting the peripheral forest areas near Biligiri Rangana Hills (BR Hills) and Male Mahadeshwara (MM Hills) in Chamarajnagar district. Traditionally they have been dependent on the forests for their livelihood. The Soligas are also called the children of bamboo because the word is believed to mean that they originated from bamboo.
When the government declared the forests they live in a protected reserve, the Soligas created history by becoming the first tribal community living inside the core area of a tiger reserve in India to get their forest rights officially recognized by the court of law.
Nemo, alias Amphiprion ocellaris, belongs to the clownfish group, which includes about 30 species. Their colour pattern is characterised by a yellow, orange, brown or black colour with vertical white stripes composed of light-reflecting cells called iridophores.
In addition to other physical characteristics, clownfish species are distinguished by their number of vertical white stripes. Thus, some species have no stripes (Amphiprion ephippium), only one (Amphiprion frenatus) or just two (Amphiprion sebae). Amphiprion ocellaris, the famous Nemo, has three stripes. What can explain the difference in the number of bands between these species?
Land degradation can exacerbate climate change and threaten agricultural productivity, water quality, biodiversity, sustainable development, and the living conditions of humans and wildlife, among other effects. Globally, a third of our land is degraded, affecting 3 billion people, and it is expected to worsen with rising demand for food.
A recently published paper by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has focussed on the under-researched topic of how climate change impacts may affect violence in South and Southeast Asia. Titled “Climate change and violent conflict: Sparse evidence from South Asia and South East Asia”, the report highlights how little work has been done in looking at climate change and its possible impact on security in the most densely populated regions on the planet.
China has some 25 species of primates, of which 15 to 18 have fewer than 3,000 individuals surviving in the wild, according to a new study. Expanding suitable habitat for primates is critical, the researchers say, as is prioritising a network of protected corridors that can connect isolated primate subpopulations. By Shreya Dasgupta Most primates in China could be wiped out by the end of this century, a new study warns. China is the second-most primate-rich country in Asia, with 25 known species of non-human primates, including lorises, macaques, langurs, snub-nosed monkeys, and gibbons. Since the 1950s, though, primate populations have declined drastically,
Kodagu district in Karnataka, which was battered by the recent rains, is the starting point of Kaveri river and home to most of India’s coffee production. The native coffee-growing ecosystem has comparable tree diversity as the rainforest in which it is grown. It is also good for the climate, since it has similar carbon storage. But, there is a decline in both biodiversity and carbon storage as the coffee ecosystem moves from Coffea Arabica to C. Robusta, and as exotic silver oak trees replace the native shade trees.
In large parts of the subcontinent where floods or droughts are annual or recurring events, people in rural areas have evolved location-specific strategies to deal with the disasters and unusual weather.
The Women’s Alliance of Ladakh (WAL), while making efforts to protect Ladakh’s environment and preserving its culture, is persuading farmers of the cold desert to practise organic farming and traditional water harvesting as farmers face water scarcity because of low snowfall in recent years. “It seems water is gradually vanishing from this place. We need to be prepared for water-related challenges ahead,” said 60-year-old Tsering Chondol, President of WAL, which counts some 4,000 women in 114 villages of Ladakh as members.
Changes in remote Arctic such as glacial and sea ice melting, affect Indian monsoons as they contribute to its year-to-year variability that translates into devastating floods and droughts.
So why was the flood of 2018 as devastating as the 3,368 mm rainfall that Kerala received 94 years ago? That’s because Kerala has reduced its capacity to deal with such extreme floods by allowing illegal stone quarrying, cutting down forests and grasslands, changing drainage patterns and sand mining on river beds, said experts.
Fields of sunflowers are now a common sight all over the world – but this has only been the case relatively recently.
Recent changes in climatic conditions in the heavily forested Himalayan state of Sikkim could be fuelling human-wildlife conflict around protected areas in the province.
The upcoming 900 kilometre-long Char Dham highway project, is being seen as a strategic attempt to bolster preparation of India’s security forces at the India-China border, apart from increasing tourist volume. But while it will facilitate the smooth movement of pilgrims and defence forces, it could be at the cost of the environment in the fragile hill state. According to experts, unchecked construction of the all-weather highway may end up triggering disasters in the ecologically sensitive Uttarakhand region.
“Year by year, the quantity of rainfall is decreasing,” said Shyamrao Patil, 55, a lungi-clad, generously mustachioed wiry farmer who has learned to read the changing seasons and–most importantly–adapt to them in a country where climate change has started affecting the livelihoods of a fifth of the population, or 263 million people, that depends on farming.
Not only do large developments interfere with ecosystems, but they often affect local communities even in the absence of catastrophe. This was indeed the case for the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy project, which had already cost many villagers their land and livelihoods before disaster struck.
A bunch of passionate young men are saving big trees uprooted in the Sahyadri Mountains by transplanting them at their village’s sacred grove. And that’s just one part of their conservation work.
Malaysia’s Penang Island has undergone massive development since the 1960s, a process that continues today with plans for transit and land-reclamation megaprojects. The island is increasingly facing floods and landslides, problems environmentalists link to paving land and building on steep slopes.
Manipur’s iconic Loktak Lake and its floating islands (phumdis), the last natural refuge of the critically endangered Sangai deer or the Indian Eld’s deer (Rucervus eldii eldii), are losing ground to mushrooming agricultural practices and human settlements, reports a study.
The mahseers are an iconic group of fish found throughout the fast-flowing rivers of South and South-East Asia. Characterised by their large scales, attractive appearance and potentially vast size, the mahseers have long been afforded saintly status as “God’s fishes”. They are also known to anglers as some of the world’s hardest fighting freshwater game fish, earning them the reputation of “tigers of the water”.
In a globalised world, we routinely move enormous quantities of food around the planet in trade and for aid. Many countries, including India, would struggle to feed their populations without food imports. Most people are used to being able to buy a wide range of produce which domestic farmers would struggle – or find impossible – to grow. A typical example is the banana, once a prized exotic novelty, but now a staple in many country’s supermarkets.
Dredging, freight transport, pollution, and a lack of management plan leaves India’s only dolphin sanctuary under threat, and a drop in numbers has experts worried.