Save The Planet Organizations

Save The Planet Organizations

Of late, there has been a lot of noise about saving the planet, doing something about the climate change. Scientists and Environmentalists across the globe are trying to figure various ways of reducing factors that cause global warming. Apart from them, there are so many save the planet organizations that are devoted to the cause. At this juncture, it is ridiculous to ask if the clock ticking. Of course, it is. The history of possible shift in the climate i.e. increase or decrease, in the temperature of the Earth, goes back to late 1890’s. Back in 1896, Swedish Scientist, Svante Arrhenius calculated that cutting CO2 in half would suffice to produce an ice age. He further calculated that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would give a total warming of 5–6 degrees Celsius.

By mid-20th century, the concern grew stronger and the scientists across the world began to acknowledge that the human emissions could be disruptive to the climate by the next century. By early 80s, gradually a common understanding and consensus started to build. And then in 1988, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established. Gradually, several other non-governmental projects and organizations came up to save the planet from the climate change and its effects, primarily caused by human way of life and other causes by and large.

While the governments of different countries were creating policies and laws for environment conservation,mid-20th century onwards, several save the planet organizations were formed by various groups of people, companies, institutions and individual across the world by late 70s and early 80s. “The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, was a milestone event for the planet. An estimated 20 million people took to the streets across the U.S. to raise awareness about the impacts of human activities on the environment.” (March 20, 2019, National Geographic)

One of the pioneers among save the planet organizations is Earth First!.It was founded in 1980 in South-West America by 5 environmentalists and activists, focusing Environment Protection by taking direct action in terms of research, publishing journals and spreading awareness campaigns, advocacy conferences and workshops and other activities. It is operational today in 19 countries including India. In 1980 itself there were 12 other organizations that got established in different parts of the world, taking up different streams of save the planet causes like wild life conservation, forest conservation, saving the whales, animal welfare etc.

India was still a young country to realize its contribution in environment degradation and the need to save the planet and create organizations for the same. In 1972, India did participate in United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in June and the decisions were taken to provide for the protection and improvement of environment. Sadly, it took Bhopal Gas Tragedy to open the eyes and Environment Protection Act, 1986 was passed finally. However, on forest protection and conservation, Indian history goes back to Indian Forest Act, 1927 under British Empire, then Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 was passed and further amended in 1988.

Apart from the government’s initiatives and provisions, the real history goes back to 1700s when the Bishnoi movement happened. The Chipko Movement in 1973 by Mr. Bahuguna, Save the silent valley in 1978 by KSSB and Sugathakumari, the Jungle Bachao in 1982 to save Saal Forest, Appiko, Narmada Bachao, Tehari Dam Conflict were some very important milestones to name a few. One of the oldest save the planet organizations that are working for nature conservation, research and awareness in India is Bombay Natural History Society which was established in 1883. There are several popular name like WWF-India, Greenpeace India, Center for Science and Environment, Wildlife Trust of India that have been working in India to save and restore the nature. But let us also understand the these save the planet organizations are not all NGOs or nonprofits. The latest concept of a socially sustainable enterprise with profits can also be key game changers like Afforest, SayTrees, HelpUsGreen, The Ugly Indian, The Living Greens etc. Time is to think out of the box and bringsimple ideas to saving the planet to fruition by creating organizations and make them sustainable and impactful. Keeping things simple and going in the direction restoring the environment and nature must be the core if we realize that the clock is ticking.










Afforestation & Reforestation Projects in India

Afforestation & Reforestation Projects in India

It is a well-known fact that forests are being eradicated at a speed which is unimaginable to a common eye. And ever since it has been identified and acknowledged globally by different organizations and institutions, lots of large and small scale forest conservation projects started across the world. The most common commotion is to plant more trees. The situation grew graver over the period of time and only tree plantation wasn’t enough. So, it was figured that we do need to plant trees but the plantations should be strategic, specific and should result in fully grown trees to regenerate the bionetwork around us. And gradually planting trees took shape of afforestation and reforestation and several projects were started all over the world including India.

The need of today is to increase carbon capture and carbon sequestration, decrease soil degradation, have better and regular rain cycles and improve biodiversity anthropogenically, in order to normalize our planet’s environmental disbalance. Afforestation and reforestation are looked upon as the most viable and effective solution to this. Afforestation is creation of forest cover in a land where there are no trees. Reforestation is a solution to increase the density of existing forest covered land, especially to recover the patches where trees got cut down. Both processes help to mitigate the climate change situations, reduce air pollutants, and reestablish the ecosystems and natural habitats.

India is a country with extreme geographies and weather conditions and hence the biodiversity of the country also varies. We have Himalayas to oceans and deserts to dense rain forests and world’s second largest population to feed as well. And it is implied that our contribution to ecological disbalance is also significant. Indian government has been working on this through various schemes since 1951. Centrally several schemes and projects were running but in 2000-2001 all the afforestation and reforestation projects in India were integrated to form National Afforestation Program Scheme at the same time to keep the focus on decentralizing the implementation plan. NAP is being implemented through the 2-tier structure of the forest department at the division and village levels. The programs has core components like forest planning in terms of places, variety of plants as per geography, key focus areas like increasing forest density and plantations in barren lands and awareness and training programs for the villagers or locals so they live in coordination with the nature around them.

The history of Forest protection and conservation in India goes back to organized revolutions like Vishnois in Rajasthan, The tribal communities in MP, Chhattisgarh, North-eastern states and islands like Andman’s and LakshDweep. Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act was passed in 2016 to wisely release the money collected as a fee from the companies that remove the forests to construct buildings, to be utilized for reforestation by forest department. Green India Mission by 2020 was also established in 2010. So there are several afforestation and reforestation projects in India that are initiated and are being implemented by government of India. But then there are so many other not for profit and for profit organizations, which are dedicated to restoring the biodiversity in the country. Organizations like Chirag, and Alaap are working specifically on the cause alongside the government in the state of Uttarakhand.

Then there are individual environmentalists like Sundar Lal Bahuguna, Vandana Shiva, Anadish Pal, Chandi Lal Bhatt, Sugatha Kumari, Maneka Gandhi who have initiated and executed several drives across the country and then there are some new age change leaders like Vijay Dashmana and Shubhendu Sharma. Dashmana consults the local authorities on developing biodiversity in and around urban areas in Haryana and Rajasthan. And Shubhendu started Afforestt that created so many forests in the country. The major challenge that we face in our country is the unavailability of authentic primary data about the real time impact and results of all the projects that are being implemented through out India for afforestation and deforestation.

For afforestationand reforestation projects, a lot of resources like funds, work and efforts of governmental and non-governmental bodies, individuals and companies working for the cause, are being invested in the mission of Green India but a lot of good work gets missed out because either it is not reported properly, or its implementation fails. We miss either on the planning part or on the implementation aspect. But what we majorly miss upon is taking up the responsibility that we are losing forests in because of forest fire and in the name of development. “Forest cover in the country has increased by about 1 per cent, according to the biennial State of Forests Report 2017 released this year, but Niti Aayog says 21.23 per cent of the land is under forest cover.” DTE Reports. It also reports that in December 2018, “The Supreme Court on December 11 expressed its displeasure on being informed that no proposal even after 12 years has been received for 21 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries for declaring areas around them as eco-sensitive zones and directed MoEF to declare an area of 10 kms around these national parks and sanctuaries as Eco Sensitive Zones.”

While there are numerous afforestation and reforestation projects are being implemented in India and some real good work on the ground is happening, let’s not miss out on the larger picture. The mechanism is in place to check the progress and numbers in this regard but ratio of increase in forest canopies and the increase on the different factors like dense forest canopies and very dense forest canopies is a matter of concern. We should look at the results by and large while we celebrate small achievements and growth. We also need to understand our roles in in helping various organizations and government to implement these projects. It’s our collective responsibility to create clean and green country to live in. Not just us but our future generations too need the to breath and live healthy life.







The Causes & Effects of Deforestation

The Causes & Effects of Deforestation

When was the last time you thought about planning a Jungle safari? Did it ever occurred to you that why you travel far from you home to enjoy the natural surroundings? Where the jungles nearby have gone? Have you ever heard about Deforestation or forest degradation? Did it ever occurred to you to read, talk or discuss about the causes and effects of Deforestation? Do you know that forests play a major role in keeping the ‘Life’ alive on our planet?

Almost one-third portion of the lands of the Earth are covered by forests of different flora and fauna. They are the prime source of life’s essentials like fresh air, clean water, and fruits & roots for food. Apart from these, we get wood for fire, fuel, furniture, buildings, paper and what not. Looking at them from value to human life perspective, forests give you almost everything food, water, shelter, even employment including adventure and entertainment. They are critical to reduce the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere. But as on date as you read this, these prime source of life on our planet are endangered. Deforestation is happening across the planet and its causes and effects are very visible in front of us if we choose to pay attention.

The danger is not only limited to forest degradation but also covers the extinction of so many species of plants and animals that survive and thrive because of these forests. Deforestation for needs like infrastructure development, agricultural land and increasing needs of large human populations, has begun to show the consequences in terms climate change and pollution of different kinds. It is time for each one of us to understand the causes and effects of deforestation.

The causes of deforestation are many. But primarily, today across the world the forests are being cut for the various uses of timber for the continuously increasing human population on the planet. It is because of human overpopulation the availability of plain lands for infrastructure development, development of highways, and for agriculture is increase. When it comes to the causes and effects of deforestation, then natural forest fires add to this problem majorly. And another major reason is the gap between the rate of deforestation and afforestation. We are unable to match the speed of tree plantations with the speed of trees being cut. It takes 10 to 15 years for an average tree to grow completely. But we overlook at their life and growth span when we cut them. If the causes of deforestation are overlooked its effects will be very devastating.

There are direct and adverse effects of deforestation and its causes. From increased greenhouse gas emissions to disrupted water cycles, to increased soil erosion to disrupted life cycles and shelters, to major effect on climate changes, pollution and degradation of natural resources. We as the common community of living beings are losing lives every single moment. The extinction of flora and fauna is beyond imagination. As per WWF data, ‘We’re losing 18.7 million acres of forests annually, equivalent to 27 soccer fields every minute.’ And this is scary. In order to understand and realize the causes and effects of deforestation in depth we must do more than just reading few articles or feeling sad about it or merely showing concerns.

We’ll have to create forums and spaces where there are open talks and discussions about climate change, pollution, scarcity and degradation of natural resources can be discussed along with the causes and effects of deforestation and forest degradation.

Environment Science has been added in the educational curriculums but that’s not enough as what our kids learn in school they see quite opposite in their respective homes and communities. Unless, we join hands to not only do something about it but first to train our minds that every action has its reaction and every cause will have a direct effect, hence we need to look at our actions as a race or species on the planet and what we really causing for our future generations. Only then we would be able to adopt and ensure green and sustainable lifestyle and eventually put a stop on becoming the cause of deforestation ourselves and save the planets and the lives on it from the effects of it.




Mother or Not

Imagine yourself as 4.543 billion years old. Can you? Yes! A life that long. Okay if not yourself, can you imagine any one around you that old? Any living being for that matter? The fact is we all know that one being who’s this old. Our very mother, Mother Earth. Does that number ring a bell? In Earth’s context, you cannot think or say, ‘Age is just a number’. For so many years Earth has been giving birth to all living beings and nurturing their generations after generations by offer life sustaining environment. And yet, today it witnesses climate change, water and air pollution.

How beautiful it is to belong to a planet that is a home for so many species of plants and animals. But have you ever thought how exhausting it is for Earth? Our planet, a home for everyone and everything we can see, or we cannot with our naked eyes, is getting exhausted because we, the most intelligent race she produced, turned out to be the takers, marking our carbon footprints across, drawing the life energy out of it and disbalancing the environment. Isn’t this true?

Let’s take a moment out from the mundanelife and imagine what if would be like without this planet. Difficult to imagine isn’t it? We are one of the key reasons for Earth’s exhaustion. Our needs, desires and endless greed to dig and use her natural resources so to speak is taking a toll on our mother. Look around,do you notice the trees being cut for varied uses? Do you know, “Between 1990 and 2016, the world lost 502,000 square miles (1.3 million square kilometers) of forest, according to the World Bank—an area larger than South Africa. Since humans started cutting down forests, 46 percent of trees have beenfelled, according to a 2015 study in the journal Nature.” (Source: Deforestation facts and information – National Geographic).

We can’t even imagine what it’s going to result in. If this fact doesn’t wake you up, then the causes and effect of deforestation will show up one day and our planet would lose the complete balance of life that exists on it. In the context of our country, just imagine our contribution to this situation, being the second largest population in the world. If it is difficult to completely stop deforestation, we need to increase our efforts and help implement afforestation and reforestation in projects India and support the cause. There are several save the planet organizations across the world that are working specifically on figuring creative and sustainable ways to save the environment.

With the current state of environment pollution and climate change and the rate at which it is shifting, chances are that we’d soon be deprived of the basic quality life. We need to work towards clean and green energy and sustainable development environment of living life. The change must ignite in our minds and hearts first and then make conscious green choices. Choices of an environmentally aware and awake mind would range from reducing the use of plastic and rubber, increasing the usage of biodegradable materials, limiting the use of energy generated from natural resources, recycle whatever can be recycled, reducing wastage of energy and resources like water, electricity, paper, reduce carbon footprints, and adopting green habits and actions towards contributing in balancing of the planet in times of global warming and cooling. We need to change the way we look at our planet. It’s just not another planet, it’s earth, our home. It’s our mother who nurtures. We must take care of our planet like how we take care of our mothers when they age, that’s how some people think. What do you think about it? Is earth a mother?

Global Warming Solutions – Transforming our Planet Green in its True Sense

Global Warming Solutions

Despite warnings by the scientific community that global warming is likely to continue into the distant future, there are undoubtedly a few things within our means to reduce its disastrous effects. Our main aim clearly should be to reduce or try avoiding the use of such items,or conditions that creates greenhouse gases. To achieve this it is essential that we minimize the use of fossil fuels by controlling our vehicular and industrial emissions.

The need clearly is to opt for those alternative sources of energy wherein the use of carbon is very limited or negligible, including,hydro-electric energy, solar energy, nuclear energy, and, wind energy. Usage of non-fossil fuel energy sources is crucial. Adoption of these alternative energy sources would result in huge reduction in greenhouse gases.

Global Warming Solutions

Felling of trees should be immediately stopped and protected. Additionally, aggressive plantation drive should be encouraged, which in itself is the most effective global warming solution.

Nations of the world realizing the dangerous consequences of global warming are joining hands in its fight against climate change.

The Paris Climate Summit in 2015 signed by 195 countries to reduce carbon emission with its goal to reduce future global warming by 2°C is indeed very encouraging – a right step in the right direction. However, it is essential that each of us citizens equally contribute towards this much aspired goal.

Effective global warming solutions would lead to reduction of atmospheric and oceanic temperature. It may be noted that over the last 1,400 years the warmest 30-year period in the Northern Hemisphere was between 1983 and 2012. 

Some simple yet effective steps, which if incorporated in our daily lives, can in a big way, make a difference to environmental protection. These includes –

Raising Awareness – The basic step for the prevention of global warming is creating awareness amongst the citizens of every country. A successful awareness would result in global warming from spreading further.

Reduce Carbon Footprint – It is of utmost importance that we keep the environment around us pollution-free. After all it is an undeniable fact that ‘human activities’ is the main culprit for degradation of our environment. The need clearly is to reduce carbon footprint to make our planet green in its true sense.

Driving Less Minimal driving would naturally result in less emission. It is important we choose healthy activities such as walking and riding a bicycle, which is a great way to cut back on atmospheric emissions. For commuting to-and-fro office, we should opt for public transportation like rails or community mass transport system. 

Keeping Devices Switched off – It is pertinent that we make it a habit to keep our devices and applications like computers, laptops, ovens, television etc switched off when not using it. This small step would result in reducing energy expenditure by as much as 40 per cent, which is undoubtedly beneficial for the environment.

Minimize use of Plastic – One of the biggest threats to the environment is plastic. Environmentalists point to the fact that each year millions of oceanic mammals and avian are killed as a result of swallowing plastic. Reduction of global warming is inevitably linked to the minimal use of plastic.

Each one Plant one – We should all take a pledge to plant trees. How nice it would be if we can build-up a world-wide movement, ‘each one plant one.’ Abundance of trees would result in reduction of emissions caused by factories, vehicles and other human activities. In fact, according to research, one tree can absorb more than one ton of carbon-dioxide within its lifetime.

The need of the hour clearly is a firm commitment by each of us to do our bit, and of the respective governments of every country to take concrete steps towards a carbon-free world.

Global Warming

Extinction and Global Warming are actively progressing in their path and we are watching from the side lines, besides of course, contributing to it as well. Global Warming has already started showing devastating effects on livelihood and everything dear, whether it is the landslides in Uttarakhand or the tsunami in Tohoku, Global Warming lets its prevalence be known.

To get to the root of this phenomenon, lets start at the grass root level and understand what this simple yet complex word means and its implications:

Global Warming occurs when the excess heat from the sun’s rays are trapped in the earth’s thickened layer of atmosphere. This thickening of the atmosphere’s layers can be mainly attributed to the release of the greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Nitrous oxide, Chlorofluorocarbons and Hydrofluorocarbons. The gases trap and absorb atmospheric heat, leading to an increase in Earth’s surface temperature. To further explain the extent of climate change:

Firstly, Global Warming has triggered off erratic global climate change that is affecting even the most primitive organisms in the ecosystem. It’s a domino effect; burning of fossil fuels leads to increase in the release of greenhouse gases that are trapped in the atmosphere and heat up the surface. Now when we use the term ‘climate change’, we are referring to a wide range of consequences such as the predetermined functioning of animal and plant ranges are being altered with and so is harvest and crop cultivation.

Secondly, sea levels have risen significantly in the past few decades, to be specific from 1880 to 2008, is when the records showed alarming results.  Raised sea level changes are subsequent to ice caps and glaciers melting, again as a result of a domino effect of rising temperature. Along with this, the coastal areas is where the brunt of this felt the most. The presence of more salt water on the shores will disrupt the ecosystem, resulting In the vanishing of different kinds of plants, and possibly partial or complete submergence of islands.

Thirdly, forest and wildlife will not be able to thrive well, if at all. Increased temperatures makes forests prone to heat waves, forest fires and heavy downpours. Displacement of fauna is a major concern as well since the possible damage to the fauna threatens their means of shelter, food and natural habitat that has been prevalent for aeons.

And lastly, human lives and livelihood will be affected as well. Health will be severely impacted due to increased growth of pollen-producing ragweed, higher levels of air pollution, and the spread of conditions favourable to pathogens and mosquitoes. Natural disasters are largely influenced by the changing climate conditions and in this case, chances of their occurrences are doubled.

All of this put together paints a very troublesome and disconsolate picture for our future generations as well as our current society. The constant threat to various aspects essential to sustain and maintain a society such as  human health, agriculture and food security, water supply, transportation, energy, ecosystems – is looming over our heads and needs to be overcome. To put this into perspective, we can examine the on-going civil war in Syria which can be majorly attributed to the “multi-year” drought that persisted from 2006 till 2010. The turbulent climate condition forced vulnerable Syrian citizens to migrate from rural areas to urban areas as well as toppled a micro-finance network that was a source of income. The accumulation of various problems stemming from a natural disaster lead to a much bigger and devastating issue: violence and conflict among citizens of Syria.

Therefore, it is heartbreakingly evident that nature has a significant impact on the lives of every organism around it.

Now that we have understood the consequences as well as causes of a global issue, lets talk about some ways to combat it:

The foremost and crucial step here is recognition. Recognising the fact that a problem such as ‘climate change’ exists and is affecting millions of lives each second will be a major development in itself as there are communities and groups of people that still believe it to be a hoax and turn a blind eye towards its consequences.

After addressing this issue, there are various ways to combat global warming such as:

  • Drive fuel-efficient vehicles
  • Minimise your carbon profile through carbon offset
  • Power your houses with renewable energy
  • Plant more trees
  • Help in reduction of burning of fossils
  • Invest in energy efficient appliances, and so on.

We, as a society, will have to start at the most basic yet fundamental unit i.e., with the individual. Each person should be well informed and instilled with the incentive to make a difference, no matter how big or small it might be.

India & Global Warming

To address an issue as vast as Global Warming, we’ll have to start at a much smaller unit first i.e., state(s) whose sum is the final product and some states contribute more to this phenomena than the others. To start at a more personal level, let’s examine and study the position of India and its states with regards to climate change.

There is something called as the ‘Indian Airpocalypse’ that is currently prevailing in the country, even though it is a casual and informal term, it sums up the basic idea. The problem begins with ignorance and lack of knowledge, as always. Most Indian states are documented and recorded in terms of climate conditions but there is still lack of data in 23 states and lack of captured data in many cities. India has only 80 monitoring stations and falls pale in comparison with China’s 1500+ monitoring stations. India is a developing nation and has prospered well so far in other crucial aspects such as education, job prospects, civilian rights but it has much space to grow in this particular aspect.

Another alarming fact is that India’s carbon emissions are rising and rose to almost 5% in 2016, although it is a tiny number and since India is only going to develop further in terms of infrastructure and industries, there will be increased number of carbon emissions. But India has the benefit of the doubt as it can rude its carbon emissions by improving equipment efficiency which happens to be the main character in release of GHG emissions. Hence, India’s contribution to release of GHG gases inevitably means that it will not remain unaffected by its disastrous effects. Let’s take a look at the severity of the situation:

India has been recognised as a disaster prone country and was ranked third highest in the world in number of significant disasters in the year 2007-2008, with 18 such events taking place and taking the life of a large number of people. The increased temperature has resulted melting of glaciers and expanding of seas which will of course influence the Indian climate and lead to incidence of floods, storms and hurricanes. This poses as a major threat to food security, livelihood, economies and everything concerned with human life. Even the slightest increase in temperature even by 3 degrees could lead to submersion of major cities Mumbai and Chennai, and the air quality will just worse in states such as Haryana and Delhi.

Cities and states that prone to droughts such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh will feel the brunt of it as well as the situation will worse and water availability would decrease and various river basins are likely to experience scarcity of water.

India is developing rapidly by the help of manmade efforts and mechanisms but one cannot put nature at bay, if precautionary measures are ignored or absent, there will be severe consequences that could wash out the progress this country has achieved so far and wreak havoc on its citizens. Hence, we should look at a few measures that can curb this issue one step at a time:

Thankfully, the Indian Government has always accepted as climate change to be an exponential threat to ecosystems, economies and its citizens and has taken measures to reduce its carbon footprint. Under the Paris Agreement in December 2015, India has made a commitment to reduce its greenhouse emissions and to have 40 percent cumulative power capacity from non-fossil fuel based sources by 2030.

India also plans to shift to cleaner modes of transportation and set itself a target that by 2030, not a single petrol or diesel car should be sold in the country. Along with this, The Supreme Court has imposed a ban on the sale of heavy diesel cars.

Besides the initiatives of the Indian Government, non-governmental organisations as well as individuals are contributing to the betterment of nature as well. There has been active participation to plant trees, reduce usage of coal in rural households by replacing it with an alternative and making the switch from petrol/diesel powered vehicles to ones powered by CNG.

Even a minute step such as switching off the engine at a red light makes a difference; it is a domino effect of sorts. A person seeing another person caring and being sensitive towards nature and monitoring their own doings will feel the conscientious need to do something for nature as well. We are not trying to save just ourselves, rather a state, a nation, a world.