The Bengal tiger, popularly known as the Royal Bengal Tiger, is a majestic predator. Its scientific name is Panthera tigris ( Tiger). It lives in high altitudes, subtropical and tropical rainforests, mangroves, grasslands in the nations of Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Myanmar.
The Bengal Tiger is one of the most endangered species of Earth at present. Although there are wildlife laws that intend to protect this gorgeous creature, its numbers continue to decrease. India’s national animal is at great risk of becoming extinct. It is found mainly in India with the rare presence in some countries of East Asia like Nepal and China.
Basic information about the Bengal Tiger
Bengal tigers are huge, beautiful cats. They can become as long as 130 inches and they weight in between 250 and 700 pounds, that is, 115 and 320 kg. The Royal Bengal Tigers are solitary predators who are known for marking their territory by using their scent. A rare variation is that some of the Bengal tigers are white in color.
How did Bengal Tigers become endangered species?
Not just Bengal tigers but all tigers are at risk in the present situation. The biggest threat to the survival of these beasts is illegal poaching. Though the number of tigers present in sanctuaries, tiger reserves, and National Parks has been stabilized, poaching still continues in Asia.
Poachers hunt Bengal tigers illegally for their skin and other body parts which are of great use in traditional medicine in Asia. Some of the other threats faced by Bengal tigers are fragmentation of population, loss of habitat and unavailability of their preferred prey.
- Lack of preferred prey
These carnivorous animals like to hunt and eat wild boars, water buffaloes, rhino calves, gaur, deer goats, badgers and young ones of elephants. Due to human encroachment, the numbers of these herbivores are decreasing every day. So, the Tigers are facing scarcity of preferred food.
- Change in climate
Change in climatic conditions like global warming threatens the natural habitat of the Bengal tiger. They are unable to adjust with such changes with the environment. In Sundarbans, for example, the natural habitat of these tigers is shrinking because of coastal erosion and they are forced to move northward.
How are the humans harming the Bengal tigers?
Several human activities are responsible for the decrease in the number of Bengal tigers:
The massive growth of population in India has lessened the natural habitat of the Bengal tiger. Crop cultivation, road construction etc. has also lessened the abundance of prey for tigers. The habitat range of the Bengal tiger is 20 times shorter than what was there at the beginning of the 20th century.
Hunters and poachers kill the Bengal tiger for earning money by selling their pelts. Several items made of the body parts of the Bengal tiger are sold in the black market at high prices.
Several measures are adopted for saving the tigers. July 29 is celebrated as International Tiger Day worldwide. Laws should be stricter in order to save the Bengal Tiger from becoming extinct.
Greenpeace: An Organization Devoted To Saving The Environment
Greenpeace is one of the leading non-government organizations promoting and practicing environmentalism. Dorothy Stowe and Irving Stowe founded it in the year 1971 in Vancouver. Through its global coordinating body is in the city of Amsterdam, currently, Greenpeace has offices in more than 55 countries like India, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Japan, Greece, Spain, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, etc.
Goal of Greenpeace
Greenpeace defines its goal in the following words: “To ensure the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity.” It organizes campaigns on environmental issues of worldwide concern such as overfishing, climate change, genetic engineering, deforestation, anti-nuclear matters, and commercial whaling. It takes the help of ecotage, research, lobbying, and direct action for achieving its short-term and long-term goals.
Greenpeace explains its mission on its official website in the following words:
- Preserve biodiversity of the planet in all its diverse forms
- Take measures for stopping global warming to prevent the severe aftermaths of climate breakdown
- Promote and support the usage of renewable sources of energy
- Nurture non-violence and peace
History of origin of Greenpeace
The U.S. planned to conduct an underground test on nuclear weapons in the 1960s in Amchitka Island. Concerns arose that this experiment might result in earthquakes or even a tsunami. 7000 people protested, but the U.S. did not retreat. But, the next time the opposition grew firmer as the U.S. wanted to test a bomb at least five times more dangerous than the former one. Jim Bohlen, a war veteran, Dorothy Stowe, and Irving Stowe were among major opponents.
Irving Stowe arranged a benefit concert in Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum on the 1970’s October 16th. The concert raised the funds for the pioneering Greenpeace campaign.
Early battle of Greenpeace against environmental pollution:
Greenpeace deserves credit for being one of the first initiators behind the formulation of sustainable development in 1993. As rightly stated by sociologists Christine Dasnoy and Marc Mormount, Greenpeace raised public awareness regarding issues like global warming. It was also among the major participants discussing ozone depletion in the Montreal Protocol.
Greenpeace has also protested on several occasions against coal mining operations and shipment of coal in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Svalbard. It also criticizes petroleum extraction and has successfully blocked projects at Canada’s Athabasca oil sands.
- Greenpeace and the anti-nuclear campaign:
Greenpeace also published a newspaper advertisement in 1994 claiming that nuclear power Sellafield will take the life of 2000 humans in 10 years, affecting mostly children. It stated nuclear power as expensive, polluting, non-renewable, and dangerous. The advantages of nuclear power are far less when compared to health hazards. In fact, the test of nuclear weapons in Kazakhstan has made nearly 10,000 people suffer for three generations.
- A summary of forest campaign by Greenpeace
Greenpeace intends to protect primary forests from their greatest enemy, deforestation. It has accused leading corporations like Nike, McDonald’s, KFC, Unilever, Kit Kat, etc. for having close connection to deforestation activities in tropical rainforest regions. Several companies have been forced to revise their policies.
One instance of the success of the organization’s initiatives is its protests against Nestle company’s Kit Kat bars made with the help of palm oil. Greenpeace released a video that became viral with more than 1 million views. This compelled Nestle to promise to the public to shun the usage of palm oil in the future.
- “Save the Arctic” campaign
The “Save the Arctic” campaign started in 2012 for stopping gas and oil drilling, military operations, and industrial fishing in the Arctic region. Greenpeace demanded that steps must be taken to protect the ecosystem and vulnerable wildlife.
Greenpeace and its current environmental works:
At present, Greenpeace looks at global warming as the greatest threat to the environment of the Earth.
- It has given an ultimatum to industrialized countries for reducing their emission of greenhouse gases by 40 percent in 2020.
- It has also offered financial help to developing countries for building renewable energy capacity.
- Another strong point stressed by Greenpeace is stopping deforestation of forest lands and planting trees in large numbers.
- Greenpeace has joined hands with EREC to fulfill its vision of creating a world with 80 percent of the total energy requirement that will be produced from sustainable sources like sun, water, wind, etc.
Acid Rain: Reasons, Impacts, And Solutions
The Environmental Protection Agency defines acid rain as acid deposition that includes all types of precipitation containing acidic elements like nitric acid or sulfuric acid. Other than raindrops, the precipitation can also be in the form of hail, fog, gases, snow, or dust. Acid rain created with gases or dust is known as dry deposition.
Robert Angus Smith, a Scottish chemist coined the term in 1852. The Royal Society of Chemistry honored him as the ‘Father of Acid Rain.’ Smith, while examining the contents found in rainwater in industrial regions of Scotland and England, coined this term. He published a book about it in 1872, namely, “Air and Rain: The Beginnings of a Chemical Climatology.”
The reason behind formation of acid deposition:
When compounds such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide get mixed with air, a chemical reaction takes place. These substances rise high into the earth’s atmosphere, mix with oxygen, other chemicals, and water, giving birth to acidic pollutants. When rain, laden with such impurities fall to the land, we call it acid rain.
Which are the places mainly affected by acid rain?
Places around the globe that have suffered most because of acid rain are the south-eastern part of Canada, Scandinavia, Poland, the eastern part of the U.S. along with some parts of Taiwan and China.
The ecosystem consists of plants, humans, animals, and various other organisms that depend on each other and the environment. Everything has a direct or indirect connection to other components. So, if something causes harm to a particular part of a place’s ecosystem, species, the water, and the soil also have to face the consequences. Let us find out about acid rain’s negative impacts.
- Marine pollution- Acid rain’s ecological effects are clearly visible in the marine environment. Aquatic animals, especially fish suffer immensely. Most of the eggs of fish fail to hatch as the young eggs are extremely sensitive.
- Episodic Acidification- Heavy rain and melting snow can be the causative agents of episodic acidification. Lakes, usually not having high acidity levels, end up with greater portions of acidic deposition due to downpours or melting snow. A wide range of organisms gets killed in this type of situation.
- Harming trees and plants- In areas prone to acid rain, dying and dead trees are not a rare sight. Acid rain can lean the soil’s aluminum and also remove nutrients and minerals from the soil. This stunts the growth of trees, making them weak. Acidic clouds and fog also strip nutrients from the foliage of trees, leaving dead needles and brown leaves. The trees then face difficulty in absorbing sunlight that is essential for preparing food.
- Nitrogen pollution- Apart from being acidic in nature, nitrogen is also present in acid rain. Nitrogen pollution in coastal regions is responsible for the rapid decline in the population of fish species.
- Buffering capacity- Many streams, lakes, and forests experiencing acid rain get saved from severe effects as the soil has the capability to buffer the rain-laden with acids. As the soil neutralizes the rainwater’s acidity, the acid accumulates and remains in the soil, lakes, and streams, posing more threat in the future.
- Damage of wildlife- Many animals can be naturally more sensitive to acid than others. Frogs, salamanders, and birds have died due to exposure to acidic rain in big cities. Insects depending on phytoplankton for sustenance also die. Mammals who eat fish and vegetables affected by acid rain indirectly endure the outcomes.
How is acid rain damaging the Indian historical monuments?
Acid rain is corrosive to marble and limestone materials. The majestic ancient monuments that are cultural assets to India have suffered immensely due to acid rain. The Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar, Victoria Memorial, Red Fort, Ellora Caves, Jama Masjid are some of those monuments.
Solutions to acid rain:
There are various measures that we can take for stopping human-made acid deposition:
- Regulating vehicular and industrial emissions can make a huge difference.
- People should increase dependence on renewable sources of energy like wind and solar power, thus lessening the burning of fossil fuels.
- Also, every individual can play his part in decreasing the environmental pollution. You can switch to public transportation, riding, and walking whenever possible instead of relying on your private vehicle.
Independent Travel & Ecology: What You Need To know
For most people, independent travel is more than just a fun activity or a holiday. It is a life-changing activity or experience. Whether you are taking off around the world after retirement, taking a gap year, or simply heading off on your mid-20s career break, independent travel offers you the opportunity to take a break from your ‘normal’ work life, travel around the world, and get unforgettable experiences. Also, traveling independently teaches you a lot about different parts of the world and yourself.
What’s independent travel?
It is any trip that you organize by yourself. That means you must book a hotel (accommodation), plan your itinerary, transport, and other aspects of your trip. The concept revolves around traveling on a shoe-string, spending nights in hostels, and choosing experiences over luxury. Independent travel requires you to be more of a traveler and less of a tourist.
Tourist vs. traveler
Most people use these words interchangeably. It might sound like a negligible distinction, but these two words signify a unique approach. The term ‘tourist’ often refers to a person visiting a specific area or region only for a short period before going back to their everyday life. It also relates to people who visit some destinations just to see exciting things without getting emotionally involved.
On the other hand, travelers spend a lot of time on the road and have less of a fixed objective in terms of timing and destinations. They can travel for an extended period, spend time gaining new experiences, and don’t rush to return to their everyday life. That means traveling is all about am exciting journey while tourism is all about seeing new things.
Travelers are more likely to stay in a single destination for a long time, perhaps working there. Some travelers end up settling in some of the regions they visit. Generally, the definition of a traveler emphasizes the journey rather than the excitement and pleasure associated with visiting new destinations.
The best places for independent travel
The world is your oyster, and in numerous ways, it is. Your choice of destination is influenced by many factors. Therefore, it’s important that you consider the following factors to ensure that you get the most out of your independent travel.
What do you plan to do? This might sound like an obvious question. But it’s the right one, to begin with. What experiences are you seeking? Do you desire to connect with like-minded travelers? Are you ready to spend quite some time away traveling and working?
Do you have enough time to travel? Well, there is little point in heading to Fiji if you have a 5-day holiday. This is because you will spend a lot of time to get to your destination and have little time to explore it.
Therefore, it’s worth working out the travel periods between your desired destination early enough. This will ensure you have enough time to see around and gain memorable experiences when you get to your destination.
How much money have you saved for your travel activities? Once you have decided on the specific experiences you seek and created a travel plan, it’s time you consider the financial aspect of your travel activities. Money is the single most significant constraint on most plans. It is worth working out a budget before you start booking flights.
How safe is your preferred travel destination? Well, it might sound like most questions asked by mums. However, nothing can ruin your trip more than getting robbed, beaten up, or being kidnapped. Therefore, you should make sure that you are traveling to a safe region.
Independent travel is more than just a fun activity
Traveling independently opens your mind to new and exciting possibilities. Indeed, it helps you learn more about how the planet, get lifetime memories and have a lot of fun. Just think about planning a long trip to Africa to learn more about social change through experiencing the journey and discovering what we have all lost touch with.
Kenzie Kersen, a 24-year-old American model looking to promote a positive message about eco-tourism, wildlife conservation, and other aspects of the environment. In partnership with Justin Cleaver, a reputable wildlife and fashion photographer from South African to produce an eBook in SA that will be a mix of cool fashion photography (all on film) and wildlife photography (also on film). The reason for incorporating fashion photography and a social media campaign into this story is again to pull the interest of the young generation.
These are some of the important initiatives that send a positive message about eco-tourism, independent travel, and the importance of environmental conservation to the world. Times are changing and planet earth needs our care. It’s time we start sending a positive message to the world like Kenzie and Justin are doing.
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