We live in a very diverse ecosystem, and we go way beyond the past. We have stories from the ancient past of ecological harmony. Some anecdotes dating back to the 9th century, when lord Vishnu was reincarnated as the Matsya in Hindu mythology. It dictates the story where a boat was built that carried a set of all the living organisms and plants. Other narratives are those of the Ark of Noah, Safina-e-Nooh (Nooh ki Kashti), Sumerian flood myths, the Epic of Gilgamesh all reciting the same incident, harmony between the species, and the importance of the ecosystem.
But somewhere down the line, we changed. We changed drastically. The world we see now is not the world we used to know. We, humans, have failed, as a civilization. Change of lifestyle, the introduction of new technologies have done more bad than good. Constantly advancing and evolving the human race has somehow failed to evolve environmental consciousness. We lack the spirit and humanity to co-exist with organisms of different species. We might have skipped the fact that each individual, each species and plant are supposed to exist simultaneously and that we support each other. Life of one without the other is impossible. The ecosystem is the very fabric of life and we are crumbling it down with our own hands. Humans have deteriorated nature in such a way that today, we put 1 million species at risk of extinction and still seem to ignore this fact.
Over the last 50 years, we have choked nature to such an extent that our Earth’s carrying capacity is falling harder each moment. We have exhausted natural resources, so much so that we ran out of some of them. We are changing nature and expanding our needs and usage unequally. Earth’s population has almost doubled and the consumption rate has increased by 45% in the last 50 years. We have directly or indirectly altered the land, plants, trees, forests, animal kingdom, biodiversity, river, seas and other water bodies. The advancements and industrial revolutions that we are proud of have played a huge antagonist role in our downfall. We have expertise in exploiting nature.
The rate at which the extinction of the species is accelerating is quite alarming which holds grave impacts for our future. The earth will never be the same again as we know it now.
- 75% of terrestrial environment “severely altered” to date by human actions (marine environments 66%).
- 60 billion tons of renewable and non-renewable resources extracted globally each year, up nearly 100% since 1980.
- More than 85% of wetlands present in 1700 had been lost by 2000 – loss of wetlands is currently three times faster, in percentage terms than forest loss.
- 8 million: total estimated number of animal and plant species on Earth. (including 5.5 million insect species).
- Tens to hundreds of times: the extent to which the current rate of global species extinction is higher compared to the average over the last 10 million years, and the rate is accelerating.
- More than 40% of amphibian species threatened with extinction.
- Up to 1 million species threatened with extinction, many within decades.
- 33% of marine fish stocks in 2015 being harvested at unsustainable levels.
- 45% increase in raw timber production since 1970.
- 100% increase since 1980 in greenhouse gas emissions, rising average global temperature by at least 0.7 degrees.
- 1 degree Celsius average global temperature difference in 2017 compared to pre-industrial levels.
- 40% rise in the carbon footprint of tourism (to 4.5Gt of carbon dioxide) from 2009 to 2013.
And the list goes on to above 100 points. You can check it out here.
To understand the severity of this situation let’s take a look at what Biodiversity means. Biological Diversity is the link between all the organisms on earth, binding each of them into a thread of interdependent ecosystems, where all of them have their specific role. In simple words, It is the web of life.
Together we are all even parts of the planet’s great ecosystem, so if there is a biodiversity crisis, everyone is at stake including humans. We are currently using 25% more natural resources than the planet can sustain. As a result, all the species are under pressure or direct threats.
Biodiversity underpins the health of the planet and has a direct impact on all our lives. -WWF
For humans, that’s a very worrying fact.
Despite the constant meetings and conferences nationwide on climate change, we still have not produced the desired outcome. Some countries and governments realised the heat of the future and started working towards the betterment of society. But for what it’s worth, we still have a long way to go. Being environmentally conscious is a big game and no matter where the dart is thrown, as long as it hits the board, we score. The tiniest of the changes bring about a vast impact and as a mere humans, the least we should do is to aim for the tiniest.
- Changing our lifestyle to be more eco-friendly.
- Farming more forests and trees, even a small plant in our homes would do.
- Following the three R’s, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
- Changing dietary plans and food habits.
- Using renewable and cleaner energy.
The list goes on and on. Combating the current situation is going to be complex but we need to see through all the approaches and take definite actions on the same.
“We are in the endgame now”, as MCU fans would call it. It is still not too late yet to take measures against it. Hard-hitting facts must be put out in society. Strong policies should be devised with regulations and constraints for the industries and other sectors affecting our ecology. Imparting knowledge, holding workshops and sessions, and educating people about the climatic risks are some of the societal steps we need to take. Our leaders, our government, and our citizens should work round the clock to help sustain the planet. Every individual should opt for a sustainable living lifestyle and products that do not harm our mother nature. We might have embarked on the journey to various planets and stars, but the need of the hour should be to save the only planet we know for sure can sustain us. We should save our very Earth, after all, “A Bird In Hand Is Better Than Two In The Bush.”
15 billion trees are being cut down every year. Quite a large number, isn’t it? It is estimated that besides the current afforestation, there would be no trees in the next 200 years if we continued at the same pace. No trees mean no delicious fruits, less rainfall, no shade for hot summer days and the most important, no fresh air supply.
Almost 50% of the Oxygen that we breathe is produced by the trees and also reduces the atmospheric pollution (Carbon Dioxide) levels. Trees are the storehouse of everything that we need but fall short when it comes to human greed. The forest fires burn down millions of acres of forests each year. Nowadays, forest fires are manually being set up to increase agricultural land to boost up the economy.
Recent examples of man-made forest fires are Amazon rainforest, Northern California forest, Australian bush fires, etc. An average tree provides Oxygen to 10 people to breathe every year. A constant degradation of air quality increases the risk of various health problems. Trillions of trees on the earth are responsible for sustaining such a big population including humans and animals. With continued lowering in the number of trees, we will be losing our source of fresh air. Therefore, relying on the other major source of oxygen on earth i.e. the oceans. But how long do you think this source will last? About 35% of the global extent of critical marine habitats such as seagrasses, mangroves and coral reefs are estimated to have been destroyed.
With fewer trees, our other source wouldn’t stand long enough to sustain a continuously growing population. According to the Nature Conservancy, over 50% of the total animals live in Rainforests. The speed of current deforestation has already killed millions of animals every year and many of them have even gone extinct.
Not only humans and animals face the challenges of deforestation but insects too. Insects mostly depend upon tree leaves, vegetation, tree juices, etc. for the living. With lesser trees, there will be a decrease in the number of insects. 2.5% of the insects will go dead each year and eventually most of them will become extinct. Trees not only provide Oxygen in exchange for Carbon dioxide, but they also absorb harmful chemicals from the soil. Therefore rendering the soil healthy and free of a variety of harmful chemicals. Lesser trees would mean more accumulated chemicals into the soil.
There were 65 million deaths reported in 2015 that were linked to Air Pollution. The quality has been degraded constantly ever since. One acre of trees roughly absorbs 2.5 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide every year but the release of Carbon footprints has increased unimaginably fast with continuous and unplanned deforestation. With fewer trees and more carbon release in the environment, climate change has dramatically paced up. The significance of trees isn’t restricted to these only.
The trees are also responsible for bringing up the rainfall in the region. During the photosynthesis, the trees release water vapour into the environment and therefore, bring about rainfall. With trees constantly being cut, there won’t be any regulated rainfall and temperature extremities would occur. The trees maintain the water cycle and without them, the lands would become sand islands.
If the Amazon rainforest were to lose all of its trees, rainfall there would decrease by 20% as estimated by the researchers from the Humboldt University of Berlin and would bring chronic drought across different parts of the globe. Does it sound horrifying? If it doesn’t, it won’t be too long for you to witness it with bare eyes. No plants mean no forests, insects, food, medicines, animals and eventually no humans!
All that you need to know to begin parenting a Plant.
1. Plant Watering Guide
First, check the moisture in the soil by following below steps
a. Poke your finger or plain small stick in the soil
b. Check the moisture that you feel on a finger or on the stick
- If soil is muddy: No water required. Check moisture after 2-3 days.
- If the soil feels a little moist: No water required. Check moisture the next day.
- If soil is completely dry: Apply water thoroughly till the water comes out of drainage holes. Make sure that the water is not standing in the pot. Soil should be well drained.
- As a rule of thumb, plants need more water in the summer season and less water in winter and rainy seasons.
2. Plant Light Requirement Guide:
- Direct Sunlight: Area with as much direct sunlight as possible.
- Indirect light with some direct sunlight: Brightly lit, with some sunlight falling on the leaves during the day (Especially the morning direct sunlight)
- Indirect Bright Light: Brightly lit but not with direct sunlight falling on the leaves. It is the light near a window or door. Many foliage house plants will flourish in this light.
- Low light: Moderately lit, with no direct sunlight falling on the leaves. A person can read a book in this light.
- Very low light: Poorly lit, a person will not be able to read a book in this light.
- Lighting is not just about providing the brightness to the plant. It is the duration of light and its intensity that decides the growth of the plant.
- There should be 12-14 hours of required light that may be natural or artificial in order to maintain active plant growth whereas the light intensity varies greatly from plant to plant.
- When using artificial lights; try to use LED lights or fluorescent tubes to minimize the effect of heat on the plants. The ideal distance between an artificial light source and plant is 1 ft.
1. Choose a slightly larger pot.
- If you’re repotting your plant into a new pot, choose a pot that is 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter and 1 to 2 inches deeper than the plant’s current pot.
- If you choose a pot that has dimensions larger than this, the roots will need to grow into the pot before the plant itself can begin to grow.
2. Choose a pot with drainage holes.
- When you’re selecting a new pot, make sure it has drainage holes to allow excess water to drain. Even if you select a pot that is the correct size, you still don’t want water sitting in the bottom of it and causing root rot.
3. Soak the new pot.
- If you decide to use a terra cotta pot for repotting, make sure you soak the pot in water for a few hours before you begin the repotting process. Terra cotta is pretty porous, which means it soaks up water easily. You don’t want your pot stealing your plant’s water.
4. Cover the drainage holes.
- It’s important to have a pot with drainage holes, but you also want to make sure soil can’t escape through them. Cover the drainage holes with something that will allow water to pass through, like paper towel or small-sized stone.
5. Put a few inches of soil in the new pot.
- You’ll need a base of soil under the plant so the roots have something to grow into.
- Don’t overfill the pot before you put the new plant in – the roots need something to grow into, but you also want them to be down far enough into the pot that they don’t stick out of the top.
6. Remove the plant from its current pot.
- Place your hand over the top of the pot, and place your thumb and index finger around the plant’s stem. Then turn the pot on its side and gently work the plant back and forth until it comes out.
- If the plant won’t come out after several tries, you can use a knife to cut around the edge of the soil and try again.
7. Prune the root ball.
- To make sure your plant takes to its new pot, you’ll want to remove some of the old rootball to expose fresher roots to the new soil in the new pot.
8. Place the plant in a new pot.
- As you place the plant into its new pot, center it by looking down on it from above and making sure it’s not closer to any one side of the pot than the others.
- You also want to make sure it’s sitting upright. While looking at the plant from the side, spin the pot and make sure the plant isn’t tilted in any one direction.
9. Fill the pot with soil.
- Once you’ve placed the plant in the new pot, you’ll want to put soil into the pot around the rootball. Don’t overfill the pot – the soil line should be about 1” below the top of the pot.
10. Water the plant.
- Once your plant is in its new pot and you’ve filled the pot with soil, water the plant. It will help the plant’s roots soak up the nutrients from the soil and ensure that the plant takes to the new pot.