IndiaWilds Newsletter Vol. 7 Issue II

IndiaWilds Newsletter Vol. 7 Issue II

Newsletter-Feb-2015 (4.3 MB, 334 downloads)

Climate Change &Sceptics

Stop talking about scientifically done Environment Impact Assessment studies everytime we talk of an infrastructure project. Mining in a few forests wont finish off all tigers or bring in climate change. Tiger numbers have gone up by some thirty percent even though scientists were saying how vulnerable tigers are. By the way Conservation is not rocket science. Declare an area No Go. Protect it. Wildlife will breed and thrive. After all, more than half of Indias human population are below the poverty line and that hasnt stopped them from producing more kids reasoned my Industry friend when we were discussing over lunch the Governments push to implement the TSR Committee report. The 1.2 billion population didnt happen in a day, he added to emphasise his point. This gentleman is an industry leader who was championing exploitation of Indias coal mines for power and thoroughly supports the TSR Subramanian High Level Committee report.

The general masses are not the only ones to doubt the scientific community, as even the current Prime Minister of the country had tried to pooh-pooh climate change in his September 5th 2014 speech. To trivialise climate change he had said that actually the chill is not more. Due to their age, their tolerance has become less. That is why they feel more cold.

Prime Minister Mr. Modi is not the only climate change sceptic in India. There were couple of scientists too who dont believe that climate change can be also due to man. One such scientist, Dhruv Sen Singh of Centre of Advanced Study in Geology, University of Lucknow joined the climate change doubters by voicing his doubts in a session of Indian Science Congress in January this year. “While I agree that glaciers are melting because of global warming, if this is because of man, then what was the reason for the melting of the glaciers in the Gondwana period long before man arrived on the planet? he asked. He further added Climate change is a natural phenomenon while pollution is caused by man. We are definitely accelerating process of climate change, but we cannot predict the rate or extent of climate change that can be attributed to man. He termed climate change as mere propaganda. While this may be music to Mr. Modis ears, as his Central Government is pushing hard to demolish all environmental barriers to setting up and running industries, one needs a deeper dive into science to understand the reasons for natural climate change in the past.

Climate Change Feedback Loops:

Climate change is not just a simple cause and effect but a complicated and elaborate process where the effect slowly amplifies.

We all understand that when the sun shines the water absorbs the heat as its reflectivity is less, gets heated up and then it evaporates from the various water bodies. This water vapour in our atmosphere has a capacity to trap heat. The heat trapped causes it to vibrate and some of it again goes down to the earth in the process amplifying the warmth of the earth. This slight increase in warming further causes some more evaporation of water adding to the water vapour in our atmosphere. This new water vapour again absorbs heat energy, vibrate and again re-emit some of that heat. So the warming effect is amplified.

Abode of the Gods

Ice capped peaks

Some of our earths surface, both land and water is covered with ice. Anyone of you who has seen natural ice can vouch for the fact that they reflect a lot of sunlight. That is one of the reasons apart from harmful UV radiation why mountaineers need to wear special goggles while high up in the snow clad mountains. When the temperature increases, more of ice melts and converts into water whose reflectivity is less than ice, which then absorbs more heat and contributes to the overall warming effect.

However on our earth ice and water are not the only two elements that impact our climate. The atmospheric gasses, primarily CO2 traps the heat and increases the temperature. The temperature increase over the years could have just continued and the earth should have been so hot that life on earth would have been impossible. It is not so, because of again complex chain of reactions between various elements, which some erroneously describe as self-regulating mechanism, as it cant always self-regulate.

Sun burning brighter:

Initially the amount of CO2 gases in our atmosphere was very high. However, at that time, it is estimated that the Sun was giving off energy at about a quarter to 30% less than today some four and half billion years ago. Yes the Sun, like all stars burn brighter and brighter till one day it burns off its hydrogen. It is estimated that the Sun will be 10% brighter than it is today after about 1.1 billion years and 40% brighter after 3.5 billion years.

Carbon: From Atmosphere to Ocean:

A major part of the carbon dioxide from the young earths atmosphere reacted with the rain water to form carbonic acid which dissolves silicate rocks and got gobbled up by marine organisms as they need to form hard shells. When these organisms die, their shells get deposited in the ocean, lake and river beds to form sedimentary rocks with the passage of time. These reactions accelerated with the increase in temperature. So through this process a lot of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere got transferred to the Ocean. Else, how much more the temperature of Earth would have been with the Sun becoming brighter is anybodys guess. I am sure Scientists may have an answer through complex modelling exercises.

Ice Age & Himalaya:

This process, as simple it may sound, has many more variables associated with it. The last ice age coincided with the formation of our own Himalaya.

Sunrise in Neelkantha peak in the Himalayan Mountain range shows the rock faces


Computer simulations by Dr. John E. Kutzbach and Dr. William R. Ruddiman suggested that the sudden rise of the Himalaya resulted in increased precipitation. Maurine Raymos Uplift-Weathering hypothesis says that as the Himalaya started forming into a massive mountain range with the tallest at more than 8 kilometers high and the entire range stretching over 2.5 million square kilometres, massive amounts of rocks faces were exposed and the increased precipitation led to chemical weathering action, which trapped CO2 from the atmosphere. This sudden removal of so much of carbon dioxide from the earths atmosphere resulted in cooling of the earth. Raymo believes the presence of higher amount of Strontium 87 isotope in the sea floor sediments vis–vis Strontium 86 isotope suggests that more of erosion has happened in the Himalaya as Himalaya has rocks rich with Strontium 87. However, some of his critics dont believe it to be sufficient proof.

When ice forms, it reflects more ie. less heat is absorbed and as more and more water is converted into ice, there is further less trapping of heat and ice starts occupying more and more areas. When the ice cover on earth reaches about 30 deg latitude, the tipping point is reached and the entire earth is then covered with ice like a giant snow ball.

Warming of Earth after Ice Age:

Once the entire earth is covered with ice during the various ice ages why did it warm again? The surface temperatures had gone down so further trapping of carbon dioxide stopped. However, the inner core of earth remains hot and the volcanic activities would have continued to spew carbon dioxide and other gases into the air. Over a period of time the green house gasses would have built up and amount of heat trapped by these gases would have heated the earth again leading to slow melting of ice initially from certain parts of the equator and then the process would have got amplified as more and more water is available which absorbs heat, gets converted into water vapour which in turn traps heat. So in short the process of heating again starts getting amplified resulting in the ice cover retreating to arctic and nearby regions.

These climate change processes were natural, when Man as a species was either not there for most of the time and when it arrived on earth, it became capable of irreversibly destroying the climate only in the last few hundred years.

With our modern high carbon emitting lifestyle, there is a net atmospheric increase of CO2 by about 4.5 petagrams per year. With each passing day, the demand for a high carbon lifestyle is increasingly heard in the developing countries. Places which used to act like a carbon sink due to the presence of massive numbers of trees sucking carbon due to photosynthesis, are now being converted into human habitations devoid of trees. Add to it burning of fossil fuels, industrial pollution etc which emits more CO2. If this profligate high carbon lifestyle continues unabated, one day the earth may become so hot that a lot of water turns into vapour and it completely fills the atmosphere with water vapour. The massive levels of water completely traps all the heat and the Earths ability to balance the energy is lost. So Earth will resemble a pressure cooker and all life will be lost. With the aggressive helping hand of man, Earth may reach such a situation sooner rather than later.


Book Review

Dreaming in Calcutta and Channel Islands

By Subhobroto Ghosh

The review of the book “Dreaming in Calcutta and Channel Islands” can be found in this link:

Book Review - Dreaming in Calcutta and Channel Islands by Shubhobroto Ghosh

Dreaming in Calcutta and Channel Islands by Shubhobroto Ghosh


Conservation News:

Indians lose 3.2 years of their life to pollution

There was a time when it used to be said that you cant avoid Death and Taxes. With the HSBCs of the world colluding with businessmen to siphon away unpaid taxes from the country, now there are many who can avoid taxes in this country, albeit illegally. If we have to update this popular phrase keeping in mind the changed realities of the India we live in today, the more appropriate phrase would be You cant avoid pollution and death.

The air pollution in India has reached such a stage that all of us are impacted by it. A study by Greenstone et al published in the Economics and Political Weekly has made a startling revelation. Indians are losing on an average 3.2 years of their life due to fine particulate air pollution. According to this study 660 million people, over half of Indias population, live in areas that exceed the Indian National Ambient Air Quality Standard for fine particulate pollution. Reducing pollution in these areas to achieve the standard would, we estimate, increase life expectancy for these Indians by 3.2 years on average for a total of 2.1 billion life years.

However the researchers feel that this is still an underestimate of the enormous magnitude of the problem facing India Today. The loss of more than two billion life years is a substantial price to pay for air pollution. And yet this may still be an underestimate of the costs of air pollution, because we do not account for the impact of other air pollutants, the impacts of particulates on morbidity or labour productivity, as well as preventive health or avoidance costs borne by Indian households. The complete study can be found here:

The researchers have three policy prescriptions to address this problem one of which is to set up advanced continuous instrumentation systems for monitoring pollution from high-emitting industries as well as that of ambient air. They feel that increased monitoring can play a role in health advisory as well as to make the polluter pay. Unfortunately, the present Government of India wants to bring in a laissez-faire system wherein Industries will move into a kind of self-certifying mode. This is recommended by the TSR Subramanian High Level Committee appointed by the MoEF to review the various environment and forest laws. So even if a polluter in your locality is polluting, you dont have the right to question it. Even jurisdiction is taken away from the courts.

Pollution is leading to a greater divide in this country. People who have more money are now starting to set up indoor air purifiers as the indoor air is also polluted due to the overall higher levels of air pollution. The people who are less affluent and travel by public transport or walk are more exposed to pollution. If no action is taken, soon people wearing masks and walking in the roads would become a common sight.

When every man and woman is facing this problem, our politicians are supposed to take it up. Unfortunately, they perhaps feel that pollution is another way of life. Even Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of AAP and now Chief Minister of Delhi had been afflicted with bronchitis last year when he slept on the road for one night during an agitation. However, instead of recognising the need for clean air, his party decided to promise Free WiFi to the people of Delhi. The visions of people using WiFi for greater and faster service delivery is good. However, it is unfortunate that no one is talking about a basic necessity.

Clean Air is not only a basic necessity but it should also be our Fundamental Right.

Will the BJP, who had promised us Acche din, give us Right to Clean Air as our Fundamental Right?


Nandur Madhyamaheshwar Wetland: Crying for Attention

Nandur Madhyameshwar is a large lake and wetland near Nashik, Maharashtra. This large water reservoir was formed by dam(ning) of Godavari and Kodwa rivers. This large wetland attracts tens of thousands of migratory birds during the winter season. Nandur Madhyameshwar is also an Important Birding Area of Maharashtra, and of course India.

Unfortunately, this large wetland is bearing the brunt of human greed. Population explosion has resulted in people encroaching upon this wetland by filling the lake bed with mud and debris. These encroached upon lands are being used as farmland and lateron would see concretization.

Nandur Madhyameshwar : Neglected Wetlands

Nandur Madhyameshwar : Neglected Wetlands

I saw people openly filling the lake to create farmland. I saw people entering the lake after sunset for fishing, thereby disturbing the roosting birds said IndiaWilds member Paramvir Singh.

Most of the time construction debris are deposited to reclaim wetlands. And in places like this, where construction debris are not available, they illegally mine the nearby hills and fill up the lake beds. Most of the times the encroachers, get one person to set up a hut and then slowly they start building up more huts which are then converted to concrete structures. All these people are paid to stay there on behalf of land grabbers.

Nandur Madhyameshwar is also an Important Birding Area of Maharashtra and filling up the lake bed is going to destroy the food source of birds as well as create disturbance.

Members may write to the authorities and raise their voice against such blatant land grabbing:
Shri. Kuldip N. Khawarey
Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest
Off. 0253-2599632
Email –


Dry Weather in Little Rann of Kutch: Flamingoes abandon eggs

Flamingo eggs have been found abandoned in one of the six breeding colonies in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK). Every year lakhs of flamingos arrive in search of food and for breeding at Little Rann of Kutch.


Flamingoes in LRK

The water in this particular breeding site located between Wasraj bate and Dhrangadhra dried up earlier and caused scarcity of food and water and forcing the flamingoes to abandon their eggs.

An estimation by wildlife enthusiasts pegged the number of abandoned eggs to be between 15,000 and 18,000. However forest officials claimed that only around 1,300 to 1,500 eggs were deserted.

“We have visited the area. There are about 1,200 to 1,300 nests with unhatched eggs. The birds are erratic breeders and breed in thousands. They have successfully bred in five other colonies in LRK. The wasted eggs are preyed upon by raptors frequenting the region,” said Surendranagar’s deputy conservator of forests, Pradeep Singh.


Mumbai to Lose its Lungs

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has created a draft development plan for 2014-2034 and it has raised the concerns of environmentalists and nature lovers. The BMC has their eyes set on the green areas of Aarey Milk Colony.

The BMC has planned to gobble up the last tracts of green areas of the metropolis as they have plans to convert the green areas of Aarey Milk colony to concrete jungle. The BMC believes that the green areas offer plenty of potential for economic exploitation. The BMC, even before the unveiling of the draft development plan, has gone ahead with a Metro III car parking project in the Aarey Milk Colony. This project will decimate an area covering grasslands, wetlands and about 2298 trees will need to be cut or transplanted. Most of the mature trees die during the transplantation process. So about 400 nature lovers recently protested against this project which will rob the city of its green areas. It should be noted that in the Aarey Milk Colony there are resident leopards and any move to reclaim the green areas for projects will result in loss of cover and food supply for them. Hence the conflict between man and leopards is likely to intensify.

Mumbai is fortunate to have the green areas which serve as lungs of the city as the trees help in absorbing carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. Trees also release moisture and help in rainfalls. When there is rainfall, the green areas help in trapping the water and the underground water table gets recharged. So it is a sad move in the part of BMC to concretise the green areas.


IndiaWilds App for Android Mobile

In India most of the internet penetration is happening through mobile phones. And the existing users who have access to desktops and laptops are becoming much more mobile then they used to be a few years ago. So to raise awareness and reach out to more people we need to adapt ourselves and make IndiaWilds easily accessed through a mobile phone using android OS.

Today, I am pleased to announce that we have created a mobile phone app so that people can access IndiaWilds anytime, anywhere without being tied to a computer. No need to type. One can access at the click of a button.

We have developed this app through Business Compass LLC a company based in Randolph, New Jersey, United States so that we create a good app.

Awareness is the first step before a person can become a champion of wildlife. I hope this will help us in reaching out to more people to raise awareness and make a real impact on the conservation landscape. If you have an android device then please download the app from this link:


Equipment Discussions

New Sigma Art 24mm f1.4 DG HSM Lens

Canon Announces 50MP DSLRs : EOS 5DS & EOS 5DS R

Canon Announces EOS 760D and EOS 750D DSLRs

Canon launches EF 11-24 f4 L USM lens


Natural History

COUNTRY NOTEBOOK: M. Krishnan: ‘Some Claims of Our Wildlife’By Saktipada Panigrahi

Image of the Month

The Honour for the Image of the Month January 2015 goes to Rajbir Oberoi’s ‘Blackbuck’


Wildlife Photography

Sunderbans Water Monitor bySaktipada Panigraphi

From Darkness to Light bySabyasachi Patra

The Ugly DucklingbyShyamala Kumar

Jungle Cat in SundarbansbyMrudul Godbole

White browed fantailbyKaustav Chatterjee

The PortraitbyPrajwal Ullal

Red-crested Pochard by Samrat Sarkar

Ganga at Kanpur byChitrita Chatterjee


I look forward to your inputs and support in preserving the last tracts of wilderness and wildlife left in our beautiful country. For other interesting articles and images check –

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If you are already a member of IndiaWilds and have forgotten your user id and/or password you can mail to

If you want to contribute original articles, or for any image enquiries please send a mail to



Sabyasachi Patra

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Newsletter-Feb-2015 (4.3 MB, 334 downloads)
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