Feast for Thought

Not pontificating. Only trying to bat on the side of the environment. And ethics. And simple living. And slowing down. (And trying to learn and practise before preaching or teaching...)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

We live once. Why do we leave so many tell-tale signs? - Part II: 'Human Footprint' on Earth

It's tempting to say: “The less said the better”. But my blood group being what it is, I am making that extra effort at being positive. We are responsible for the garbage we generate, not the Municipality or city corporation or other civic bodies. Similar to the three R’s of literacy, there used to be three simple R's of eco-literacy – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Two more R's have been added of late, and the (extremely difficult!) mantra now reads Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair, Re-source.
New Zealand based Celsias is dedicated to the highest ideals possible in ecological awareness and real efforts at encouraging ethical approach to Nature and environment. Ever wondered about the impact of one human in one lifetime? Clesias presents UK Channel 4's documentary Human Footprint (1 hr 13 minutes) on the consumption levels of an average citizen in a modern society.
If you'd like to calculate your footprint, fortify yourself mentally first. I found out my impact - if I were an Average Western Consumer- am I glad I am not! The mind staggered. Besides telling me about the number of newspapers I have read, and the amount of chicken, potatoes, pork, mutton and apples that I tried to digest, the finger-pointer revealed to me that I have
- blinked 211,663,552 times
- shed my skin 1052 times
- had 53,162 dreams
- spent £13,571 on clothes
- burnt 61,115 liters of petrol
The list is almost never-ending. I stopped when I reached "you have created 7435 tonnes of waste", and "your carbon footprint is 373,143 kg".
What an effort, and what lessons to be learnt. Even as these statistics pop up in front of you, plenty of related green tips are offered. So learn about Top 10 eco things you can do, homebrew biodiesel, alternate transport, recycling, refurbishing PCs, how to break the obesity cycle, 'Friends of the Earth' campaign, using locally produced food, even making handmade soaps.
If you have not turned green (not the darker envy shade, but the brighter green of the environment) yet, this flash video is for you.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

We live once. Why do we leave so many tell-tale signs? - Part I: Space Junk

There are some things that boggle the mind if we think about them.
We humans reached space. Not only to discover the Universe's vastness but also to tap the cosmos for our own ends.
We ended up doing all these, and left not only Neil Armstrong's footprint on the Moon, but also tonnes of debris (jettisoned spacecraft parts, nuts and bolts, solar cells, abandoned satellites, paint chips, nuclear reactor cores, spent rocket stages, solid fuel fragments to name a few). Each of some 70,000 objects, ranging from tennis-ball-sized items to whole spent satellites and rockets, can cause immense harm to other spacecraft or on Earth, after reentry.
If you had wanted to find out the future trends in the space debris scenario, you will read typically obfuscating predictions. The verbose rhetoric sounds as though the space junk somehow happened to happen - try reading this passage quoted verbatim - "Because of the increased number of larger objects, lack of sufficient debris mitigation efforts such as collision avoidance could eventually result in collision-driven population growth. Various technical models for population growth have been developed by the international community. Most models agree that rapid population growth can occur in the absence of appropriate debris mitigation. They also agree that the population level required to trigger rapid growth in a given orbital region will be achieved before rapid growth is observed. Few models agree in predicting when such growth might become significant."

Aren't we responsible for the garbage we generate? It is disappointing that an organization created to study this issue - the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies - does not address and answer this question in its FAQ's.

It's time we started asking that question frequently. Whatever is manufactured, its ultimate logical, environment-friendly disposal ways and means will have to be specified. The alternative? Do not produce. That's the hard, harsh reality of it.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

A nice and compact theme park

Summer holidays are here. If anyone is vacationing in Coimbatore, and the kids clamour for a day out in a water theme park, head for Maharaja World on Avinashi Road, just north of the L&T Bye pass (Bangalore-Cochin route).
A day at that place had us hooked. The park's usp is compactness, range of wet and dry rides and thrills, and evident maintenance standards. On the first and last scores, the one-year-old park most likely beats another theme park Kovai Kondattam and the much bigger Black Thunder in Coimbatore precincts.
Their website is not yet ready, but their commercial will give you a nice intro.
The range of attractions include several water rides, a dozen dry rides, a well-done up toddler's area, a multi-cuisine food court, a multiplex, a party hall, a video game parlour, and a big enough parking area, all within sight of each other. Present tariff: Rs 350 for adults, Rs 300 for children, not including food.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Lakshadweep in pictures

I present another set of 1000-word essays, this time on Lakshadweep, and its glorious sights.

Lakshadweep, Agatti
To all who shared the pics - thankyou!


Ooty in pictures

Here are several 1000-word essays on Nature's bounty at Ooty, as well as other attractions in and around the hill station.