Sabyasachi Patra

IndiaWilds Newsletter Vol.1 Issue XII

IndiaWilds Newsletter Vol. 1 Issue XII

Greetings!
It is my pleasure to bring you the IndiaWilds Newsletter Vol. 1 Issue XII, an issue that marks the Completion of our First year. In this anniversary issue we bring you the round up of the previous year and on popular demand, a piece to demystify the complex subject of climate change.

The Year Gone By:

Simplistic dream. Enormous goal:
IndiaWilds was conceived when I felt that the present model of conservation is not succeeding as Conservationists are branded as elitists without their feet on the ground. The need of the hour is to take conservation to the masses.

On the other hand the boom in wildlife tourism is resulting in more people invading our wilderness areas. Advent of digital cameras and lowering of duty structures have led to easier availability of cameras compared to a decade back. Increase in disposable incomes has also helped in more and more people being able to afford digital SLRs.

I wanted to merge these two and create a Conservation and Wildlife Photography Forum so that conservation can be taken to the masses and at the same time induce wildlife photographers and tourists to get involved in conservation, thereby further strengthening the cause of conservation.
Let’s look at what we have achieved during the last one year.

2400 unique threads, 11500 posts and more than 670 members.

Is this enough? Some say it is great. However, the challenges faced by our wilderness and wildlife are enormous. I think it’s a start in the right direction and there are miles to go.

The tangible benefits from this initiative have been the increase in members writing protest letters and emails to the ministry on various issues. We need more such members, as in a democracy like ours, lot of people raising their voice in the appropriate places does make a difference. In the past we have undertaken campaigns on different issues, to save a landscape from “development”, against practices detrimental to a protected area or wildlife etc with various degrees of success. However, we should remember that for every place saved, may be a hundred others are dying unnoticed. I am scared to talk about success, as there is a truth in the saying:

All our victories are temporary; only the defeats are permanent.

The critiquing of wildlife photographs has also helped our members noticeably improve their skills. The Natural History section is demystifying rare behavior and increasing the knowledge about wildlife among layman, wildlife photographers as well as experts.
So where do we go from here?
It is said that change is the only constant. We want to continue changing for the better. We want to continue to evolve and help in saving the last tract of wilderness and wildlife left in this country. So what should be our goals?

A few audacious goals to set the ball rolling:
” There are about 6 lakh villages in India. We ought to have warriors in each of these villages to champion the cause and lead the fight towards saving our wilderness areas, wetlands, flora and fauna.
” The single biggest cause of virtual extermination of some of our species is due to wanton destruction of our habitat. I hope we can not only protect our remaining 4% wilderness areas, but also nurse them back to pink of health, and create suitable corridors to maintain contiguity.

I would love to hear from you as to what ought to be our vision, which can serve as a guiding beacon for IndiaWilds in the days and years to come. Also, I would like to hear how in your opinion, we can strengthen the existing offering in the IndiaWilds forums.
Members are requested to provide feedback on this questionnaire:
http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dGdpQjczSHFNWW90X05hUnMyRGlWbHc6MA

Members can share their views in this thread:
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2572

Some of the highlights of the Past year:
Notable Images of the Year:

Mammals:
Friends by Praveen P Mohandas
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2377

Leopard by AB Apana
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=926

The Sambhar and the Tamarind by Vikram Gupchup
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=576

Birds:
Brahminy Kite by AB Apana
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1059

Thirsty Stork by Praveen P Mohandas:
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2358

Crimson Sunbird Split the Prey by Kiran Ghadge
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1386

Landscapes:
Late in the evening by Dr. Jitendra Katre
http://indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2453

Floor of Jog Vertical by Dr. Hari Venkatesh K R

http://indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2117

Ettinabhuja revisited by Subramanya Shankar
http://indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2423

Others:

Rat Snakes by Mrudul Godbole
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1238

Lantern Fly by Vikram Gupchup
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1341

Hairy Caterpillar Portrait by Sagar Patil
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1675

Most Popular discussions of the Year:

Conservation:

African Cheetah introduction in India:
African Cheetah was never part of this landscape, and it should not be introduced in India. For further details, please look at the following link http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1888

Rhino Reintroduction:
Rhinos reintroduced about 27 years back in Dudhwa but still behind bars. It is a case of shifting them from wild to a cramped enclosure. Is this what reintroduction is meant to be? Further details can be found here:
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1939

Harmful effects of plastics:
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=108
Renaming National Parks as National Wildlife Preserves:
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1536
Abolish Zoos:
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=109

Save Telineelapuram:
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=249

Wild animal treatment and role of Research and Vets in India:
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23

What ails Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve: -http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=697
Thoughts of an Ex- Poacher: –
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=574

Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1182

We have a long way to go. We will consider ourselves successful if we can protect our fast vanishing wilderness and our wildlife. May God give us the strength and the ideas to succeed.

CLIMATE CHANGE:

What is it?

Everything on earth is in a state of flux. Everything changes. So why this talk of climate change? Well, my friend was right. Earth’s climate has kept on changing. However, at the moment the human induced change since the industrial revolution has taken a toll on mother earth. The emission of carbon dioxide and methane leads to heat being trapped in our atmosphere. This automatic heating up, referred as climate change or global warming is resulting in natural disasters and a myriad other effects – some subtle and others not so subtle – that threatens to pull down the existence of life on this planet.

How much have we changed since Industrial Revolution?

It is estimated that the level of Carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere before Industrial Revolution was to the tune of 280 ppm (parts per million) and it has now increased to 386 ppm. To make it worse, it is increasing by 2-3 ppm per year. When we include other gasses like methane that are responsible for this global warming, the total carbon dioxide equivalent works out to about 440ppm.

Impact: Flora and Fauna

Our flora, fauna and various micro organisms are tuned to adapt and survive changes in climatic conditions. Some will be able to adapt, or move to other places to survive. Others will move in to fill up their place. However, the pace of change is too rapid for lot of them to evolve and they are likely to perish. The impact of climate change of flora and fauna observed by the common man as well as scientists in the India can be found here:
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2514

Impact: Glaciers and Rivers

A warmer climate will result in more of glacial melt. It is estimated that the Himalayan glaciers are receding faster than glaciers in other places around the world. The Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035. In places like Ladakh, agriculture would be badly affected. Our mighty and revered rivers like Ganga are likely to shrink
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?p=11525#post11525

Impact: Food Security

It is expected that warmer climate will lead to increased desiccation, severe droughts, irregular and limited rainfalls, lower water availability, storms etc. It will have a catastrophic affect on the agriculture and the food security of our country.

Impact: Submerging of coastal cities
The rising sea levels will submerge many islands and coastal areas. Millions of people would become climate change “refugees” – an assault on the very fabric of human dignity. I hope we can avert it.

Impact: Child Mortality:

It is predicted that natural calamities like floods, cyclones, droughts etc will exacerbate the impact of malnutrition and diseases. In India, where every year about two million children die before their fifth birth days due to diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia, the impact of climate change will be severely felt. Further details can be found here:
http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2278

The issue of Climate Change is complex and there are many sub-issues that are aggravating it. Unfortunately, with multiple stakeholders pulling in different directions, the issues appear more complex than ever and the solutions impractical.

Tackling Climate Change: Cost of Technology & Cheaper solutions

The Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) has stated that the technologies required to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses are already available and countries need not cough up huge money in terms of royalties to a few companies – as is predicted – in implementing these technologies. For example, in India the transmission and distribution losses are to the tune of 30% (yes thirty percent).

Considering that India currently has about 1.8 lakh Megawatts of power generation capacity. The transmission loss of 30% amounts to 60,000 mega watts of power. This is equivalent to 15 Ultra mega power projects of 4000 MW size each. If we consider that each MW of capacity creation costs about 4 crores of rupees, the total amount saved can run upto 240,000 crores. A leaking ship requires the hole to be plugged rather than thinking of building another ship. Unfortunately, the proponent of this simple truth is likely to be branded as anti-development and thus anti-people and the opinion would be trashed with impunity. These mega power projects leave a huge environmental foot print. Each power plant requires several thousand acres of land, some of those being wetlands or forest lands.

Rather than creating huge dams on rivers and drowning massive forest lands or setting up highly polluting thermal power plants, it is better to increase the efficiency of our existing plants, plug leakages and seriously consider renewable energy solutions.

Copenhagen Talks:

The Kyoto Protocol – the only existing treaty to limit emissions- expires in 2012. It has very limited success due to countries like China, US abstaining. In a day or two, we would know whether the Copenhagen talks are going to succeed. This is perhaps the most serious problem facing mankind. I hope, politicians become more of Statesman in the approach in dealing this issue and come out with a solution soon.

Look forward to your inputs and your support in preserving the last tracts of wilderness and wildlife left in this beautiful country. Other interesting articles and photographs can be accessed at: http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/

Regards,
Sabyasachi Patra
www.indiawilds.com
Profile: http://www.indiawilds.com/profile.htm
Contact: http://www.indiawilds.com/contact%20us.htm
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(Circulated in December 2009)

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Sabyasachi Patra

Sabyasachi is an award winning Cinematographer and shoots for international broadcasters, feature films and corporates to make a living. He is a passionate wildlife filmmaker and photographer and has won awards and accolades for his documentary 'A Call in the Rainforest'. He has been striving to make his films and photographs full of life and emotion and write articles to educate and evangelise the need for conserving the last tracts of vanishing wilderness and wildlife in our country. He hopes that his wildlife films, photographs and writings force people to pause, look, ponder and ultimately take action.
Sabyasachi Patra
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