Monthly Archives: May 2014

Floods – Humans Paying Back for Their Deeds

NHT- Blog- VI- 06 JanFloods, one of the greatest environmental disasters, are devastating most of the times. In floods, water inundates the ground causing soil to loosen, which leads to mud slides hazardous for living beings nearby.

The economy is greatly affected after the flood as billions of dollars are spent to rebuild and payback what is lost. Houses, roads, residential, buildings, schools, etc. – the complete infrastructure is left scarred. Thousands are left jobless and homeless.

The primary causes of floods are events like extensive rainfall over a long period and thunderstorms. Heavy rainfall in catchment area leads to flood through the complete course of the river.

Flooding is not just caused by swollen rivers but sea as well. Because of global warming, the temperature rises causing ice caps to melt resulting in increase in water the level of sea. In coastal areas, floods also occur due to high tides and storms, causing destruction of life in the lowlands.

Other than the natural events, there are certain human causes of floods as well:

Deforestation: Due to large scale cutting of trees near the rivers, soil is lost to rivers raising the river bed. This causes overflowing of the rivers.

Poor Farming: Some farming practices cause the soil to be washed into the river easily. People graze too many animals on the land for more money. Less vegetation cover leads to soil wash into the rivers. Over-cultivation is another cause of flooding that causes the soil to become infertile which is easily washed away into the rivers.

Poor Water Management: Poor construction and maintenance of dams is another major human cause of flooding. Their collapse can lead to sudden flooding. Of course there is nothing we can do to control the natural events but there is a lot that we can do on our part to prevent floods and the conditions leading to flooding. Controlling deforestation and following better farming practices will surely help. We can also make efforts to handle the after-flood situations to help the victims return to their normal life.

Lessons Learned from the Natural Disasters

For every cause there is an effect. Nature treats us the same way we treat her.

The natural disasters teach us to resist nothing and to just allow things to happen as they are meant to happen. Natural disasters like the Sandy super-storm remind us of the amazing power of Mother Nature.

The lack of preparation and the increased coastal population exacerbated the devastation caused by natural disasters. This is because of the reason that most people don’t think these disasters will happen to them and so are not prepared for them.

A question might come to your mind – Why keep looking back at past events? The answer is that we learn how to move forward by assessing our past actions, especially when it comes to disaster preparedness and recovery.

The way of handling disasters has changed a lot in the recent years. This can easily be evaluated by comparing the handling of Hurricane Katrina to Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Katrina led to the Post-Katrina Emergency Reform Act of 2006 (PKEMRA). On the approach of Hurricane Sandy on October 2012, the Federal support successfully pre-positioned and mobilized supplies and equipment in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. However, Hurricane Sandy has helped to point out a few areas that could still use some work.

There are a few preventive measures which can help in reducing the effects of natural disasters.

  • According to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), floods are the most common natural disaster. One way to reduce the effect of flooding is to restore and maintain river flood plains and wetlands.
  • Climate monitoring can help prevent human losses by notification of severe weather patterns. Storm warnings help in preparation and evacuation in case of a pending weather event.
  • Individuals can take training from the American Red Cross to prepare for natural disasters. It is also wise to have an emergency preparedness kit in your home since some natural disasters can come without warning.

It is obvious that we can’t resist or fight against the forces of nature. But we can learn from the past events and have a better future.

Earth Girl – You Cut the Trees Only to Become Lifeless

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe drizzling rain woke me up early in the morning today. I went down the lane of the parachute trees that welcomed me with the cold rain water droplets with their arms lowered. The calm and cold breeze refreshed my breath as well along with my mind. Refreshment reached the utmost level.

I could see the insects busy in gathering food, birds feeding their children and animals playing with their kids. Everything was so enchanting that I felt like walking down the lane perpetually.

However, that was not to be. I had hardly walked for a few minutes when I heard the sound of someone striking wood with metal. It was filled with pain and sorrow. The trees were raspingly cut down from the roots. I tried to talk to them, trying to dissuade them from what they were doing, but to no avail. They said they had the mandate to cut the trees. The reason – a road was to be laid down!

It seemed as if they were stabbing at the heart of Mother Nature.

I remembered last year when I went to a hill station. While taking a walk outside the cottage, I slipped while taking a step because the soil slid away from its position. This was something that could be easily correlated to deforestation. The trees have the ability to hold the soil firmly. Soil erosion is the direct result of deforestation.

Flooding is one of the outcomes of soil erosion. When trees on the banks of the rivers are cut, the soil eroded is often washed away to the river bed which in turn increases the water level of the rivers causing flooding.

Deforestation leads to a tragic loss of biodiversity. Millions of plants and animal species are at the verge of extinction as a result of deforestation. The continued degradation of the forests also increases the threat of global warming as the trees are reducing that take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for photosynthesis.

Deforestation is leading to desertification as the cleared land is no longer suitable for planting trees. Due to the denuded forests on mountains, watersheds are degraded leading to reduced water supplies to the lowland communities. Due to the siltation caused by deforestation, the coral areas are degraded that affect the coral reefs.

It is hard to imagine and describe the pain that Mother Nature would be feeling with every tree falling down.

Air Pollution – A Great Risk During Pregnancy

According to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), pregnant women in the U.S. exposed to high levels of air pollution have twice the risk of giving birth to a child with autism as women living in areas with low pollution.

The brain function and the developing baby are affected on exposure to diesel particles, lead, manganese, mercury, methylene chloride and other pollutants. Most of these pollutants are associated with autism more strongly in boys than girls. Although it is not clear how heavy metals and chemicals found in air pollution may affect a developing fetus but it is clear that traffic-related pollutants such as diesel can induce inflammation of the brain.

Pregnant women living in neighborhoods with lots of air pollution are more likely to develop high blood pressure. The gestational hypertension and high blood pressure makes it more likely that the woman will give birth early and that her baby will be born small.

According to a research published in Pediatrics from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health, the risk of behavioral problems in children greatly increase when pregnant women suffer from physiological distress and high exposure to pollutants. Babies born with low birth weight are at a greater risk of dying in infancy. Low weight also leads to asthma in childhood and decreased lung function in adults.

Pregnant women highly exposed to traffic related air pollution during the whole pregnancy have an increased risk of preeclampsia.

The best way to limit exposure to traffic-related air pollution is to move out of such areas and keep off the roads, but those are not practical options. Avoiding smoking and eating a lot of fruits and vegetables help the body to fight off the toxins and other options. At the same time, environmental regulations must also change. Transport policies must be reconsidered to reduce exposure to large populations in dense metropolitan areas.

Choose Organic Baby Products and Go Green

Organic baby toy

Organic baby products

My mother has always tried to provide me the best care since my childhood. I have always been nourished and provided with natural products to keep me away from dangerous toxins and chemicals. These days, new additives and chemicals are being used to manufacture baby items such as soaps, clothing milk bottles and even food.

Babies are very sensitive to such chemicals that can really affect their health. Mother Nature provides unlimited resources and products that can be used to make organic baby products.

Chemical-based child products lead to skin rashes, allergic reactions and many other skin problems. Use of synthetic products can make the child more susceptible to serious health conditions including cancer. Organic baby products, on the other hand, are made without using any harmful chemicals, additives and other synthetic ingredients. They protect the child from getting exposed to harmful toxins. You also do your bit to save the environment by buying organic products.

Organic baby food is a smart choice as non-organic fruits and vegetables contain toxins and have been linked to certain cancers and illnesses. Organic food tastes good and is free of pesticides that might endanger the baby when ingested.

Organic toys are made from materials that do not use any chemicals or toxic substances. The substances used in these toys are grown using sustainable resources. Organic toys do not contain dangerous chemicals such as lead, cadmium and phthalates. They are made from natural materials such as wood, cotton, wool and hemp.

The organic bedding and clothing for small babies don’t contain any harmful chemicals and so are good for health. Also, they are more comfortable and long-lasting than their non-organic counterparts and are more efficient in repelling dust mites and mildew.

I recommend the new parents to provide their child with organic products so that they are safe from any harms and diseases. Doing so will not only help your child but will also be a step ahead towards saving Mother Nature.