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Who is Greta Thunberg and Why Should You Care about Her Contribution towards Climate Change Movement?

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Maybe you are wondering, who is Greta Thunberg, and why is she being mentioned in climate change talks? Also, you may be wondering why it is important to know about her. Isn’t she a person like any other? Yes, she is. However, the contributions she is making to change the world at a young age warrant her recognition globally.

Image by Kevin Snyman from Pixabay

Thunberg is a teenager from Sweden. She began a movement geared towards climate change in her home country. Unlike other teenagers who you will find home playing videogames or hanging out at the beach holding their phones when they are not in school, she chose a different kind of hobby. Hers began by sitting and standing around the Swedish parliament making calls for leaders to take action against global warming. She used to hold a placard with the words, “school strike for the climate.” Since August 2018 when she started making her calls, Greta’s effort has not been in vain. She has achieved much more than you can imagine.

Greta’s Achievement on Climate Change So Far

Thunberg’s calls for climate change action alone are a major achievement. It is not any day that you will find a teenager missing school to persuade leaders to take action against climate change. Even adults cannot do what she has been doing since 2018. Many would have given up on the way.
Surprisingly, Thunberg’s interest in climate change started in early 2018 even before she chose to be an activist. She won a competition that was organized by Svenska Dagbladet. Since the time she won in May 2018, she started taking action to pass her message across the world.

After marching to the Swedish parliament calling for schools to strike for the climate, students started organizing demonstrations in support of her pleas. By the end of 2018, at least 20,000 students had participated in strikes in over 270 cities in support of Greta’s appeals for action towards climate change.

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

In addition to influencing other students, Greta has won various awards within the short time of being an activist. She won the Children’s Climate Prize in 2018, and to the surprise of many, Thunberg declined the award. She refused to acknowledge the award simply because she was required to fly to Stockholm for a conference, yet this is not in her beliefs.

Thunberg already believes that humans should do away with air travel if they want to tackle climate change fast. Have you ever stood by your principles as she did despite all the good things that you give up as a result? Search your soul and you will find that not many people can do that, yet Greta, a mere teenager as some call her, managed to stand firm. Other prizes that she has won include:

  • Swedish woman of the year award
  • Special climate protection award
  • 100 most influential people of 2019 by Time magazine and
  • Geddes environmental medal among many others.

Greta’s Message to the United States and the World

In 2019, Greta addressed a crowd at a climate change conference that was held in Carolina on 9th November. Her message to the United States and the globe was simple: to unite behind science and to act on it. This message was for the whole world starting with you and me. According to her, wherever you are, you should push your leaders to participate in the climate change movement that is aimed at saving planet earth.

Her journey to Carolina was via sea, and as she went back, she sailed through the Atlantic on a Catamaran with her father and her favorite YouTube celebrity couple. Therefore, even as she spreads her message to the world, Greta and her family have already started reducing the carbon footprint by avoiding planes. Sources say that she has also influenced her family to quit eating meat to save the animals on the planet.

Image by MyriamZilles from Pixabay

What You Should Learn from Thunberg and Her Contributions towards Climate Change

So, what should you do now that you have heard Greta’s message to the world? It is very simple. Start by doing anything you can to avoid polluting the environment. You may think that your actions are insignificant but look at it this way. If you do something, your neighbor does the same, and then the whole community follows, soon, the whole world will be doing the right thing. And the planet will guarantee future generations a place to live comfortably.

Start by recycling that water bottle that you bought yesterday. Or stop disposing polythene on landfills. Even dropping a polythene bag on the subway has a significant impact on the climate. Therefore, do everything that you can to save yourself, your children, and your future generations. Otherwise, the earth is doomed and our time on it is limited.

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Acid Rain: Reasons, Impacts, And Solutions

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Acid Rain
Image Credit : Pixabay (jplenio)

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.

Etymology:

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.

Environmental effects:

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:

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Independent Travel & Ecology: What You Need To know

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independent travel
Image Credit : Justin Cleaver (Wildlife Photographer)

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?

independent travel
Justin Cleaver

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

independent travel
Mckenzie Kersen 

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.

The objective

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?

Time

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.

Financial resources

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.

Safety

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.

Justin Cleaver

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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International Law And Pollution: A Brief Discussion

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International Law and pollution
Image Credit : Pixabay (Conmongt)

With the rising level of pollution every year, the topic of international law and pollution is becoming more and more valid with time. With the advancement of technologies and the increase of civilization, the amount of pollution around the world has increased as well. It is the job of international law to ensure that the level of pollution remains under control. Pollution and the International Environmental law are extremely interconnected and the proper understanding of these two can only lead towards the concept of sustainable development.

How does pollution threaten the planet?

Pollution has become a very familiar word for several centuries now. With every year passing, various kinds of pollution are becoming more and more severe for the health of the planet earth. Pollution is the unwelcome intrusion of several contaminants in the nature around us causing the environment to change in a harmful way. Pollution can be of different types-

  • Air pollution
  • Water pollution
  • Noise pollution
  • Plastic pollution
  • Soil pollution
  • Radioactive pollution

And the list never ends.

Pollution is becoming a matter of more and more serious concern over time and we cannot ignore it anymore as it is affecting human health directly. Pollution is responsible for many deadly diseases among humans. It might result in-

  • Respiratory diseases
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Waterborne diseases like jaundice, cholera, etc.
  • Cancer

According to WHO, only air pollution is responsible for almost five lakh deaths per year. Radioactive pollution is responsible for the rising numbers of cancer patients around the world.

Pollution is the major cause of damaging the health of the planet earth. The earth and the lives on earth are getting threatened every day by the ill effects of pollution on the environment. Global warming, death of biodiversity are becoming matters of serious concern over time and making the planet inhabitable for any living being. So the discussion of International law and pollution is very relevant in the present time.

International Environmental Law- the definition:

With the rising level of pollution, it has become extremely necessary to control the rate of pollution at any cost in order to save the planet earth. Here comes the importance of International Environmental Law. The main motto of this law is to make sure so that the environment does not get affected in the name of development. It tries to control pollution and pave the way for sustainable development.

International Environmental Law is just a part of the public international law, operating individually from the mid-twentieth century. Public International Law consists of a committee with the representatives of different states in order to peacefully solve the disputes between them.

IEL deals with quite a wide area of issues- starting from the population to climate change. The goal of International Environmental Law is to keep the level of pollution in control and to ensure that earth remains a place for habitation for human beings and other species.

History of foundation:

With the growing realization that the ill effects of pollution are not limited within a particular nation, an international body became required to take control. Based on this, the international environmental law was founded depending on customary international law, treaties made between nations, and international courts.

Customary international law is founded upon several unwritten and popular customary laws of different nations. Based on this, a nation is bound to inform its neighbor about an impending environmental crisis.

The international court resolves the disputes between the nations regarding the matters of pollution.

How to achieve sustainable development?

A proper balance between the workings of international law and pollution may only lead the way of sustainable development. Sustainable development refers to a system where the needs of a generation get fulfilled without making any damage to the environment. Several treaties got signed over the years in order to reach this goal determining various laws of the sea, air, and defining the duties of individual nations for controlling the levels of pollution.

These treaties address the law of the environment as an issue related to human rights. They also distribute the cost of purifying nature based on the capitals of the nations. All these, if implemented correctly may help to achieve the goal of sustainable development.

The presence of international law cannot only control pollution. Proper implementation is what is of utmost importance.

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