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Global Warming: The Coronavirus and the Reduction of Global Carbon Emissions

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Have you wondered whether any good can come from the global coronavirus, COVID-19? Will there be a long-term decline in global warming statistics caused by the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions?

The disastrous consequences of COVID-19

At a glance, there are many more disadvantages than advantages. The global economy is battling to hold up under the strain of the rapid spread of the virus. Mainland China has closed off her airports and harbors, and as most of the world’s manufactured products come from China, these closures are causing havoc in the rest of the world.

Eric Morath of the Wall Street Journal notes that “financial markets and economic forecasters are warning of rising risks for the U.S and global economy, which we’re improving before the novel coronavirus spread from China around the world.”

Current infection rates stand at 102 469 cases across the globe, with more than sixty-four countries reporting at least one case. And, most of the infections, 80 651 cases, are in mainland China. As Alan Whiteside notes, in his seminal piece titled, “Covid-19 (the SARS-CoV-2) and you,” there are “puzzling blank spots on the map, notably most of Africa and Latin America and China outside Hubei.”

Consequently, the question that scientists and researchers are asking is: Why are the COVID-19 infection numbers extremely low or non-existent in these areas? There are currently no answers to this question. Researchers simply do not know.

The trajectory in global infection rates is difficult to predict because there are too many unknowns in how the virus spreads, mutates, and whether it is seasonal or not. Thus, the researchers who use mathematical algorithms to develop predictive models determining how bad the outbreak will be, are reporting vastly different outcomes based on the various mathematical equations used as a basis for a particular model. In this case, the number of predicted cases range from at least 500 000 cases to a maximum of 4.4 million cases. 

As an aside, researchers know that the virus spreads through touch. This typically occurs when a person touches a surface that has been contaminated by an infected person and touches their face, especially their mouth, eyes, or nose. It is also transferred via infected droplets that are sprayed everywhere by an infected person coughing or sneezing.

Finally, the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) needs to be considered to put the disease into perspective. The seasonal flu CFR rates in the USA is usually less than 0.1%. In other words, there is one fatality for every 1000 infections. The original CFR rate in China was originally thought to be 2.3%.

However, it has also been reported by the Worldometers.info website that a number of COVID-19 cases double every 7.4 days. Thus, the global CFR rate has dropped from 2.3% to 2.2%. And, more than 50% of those infected have recovered.

The possible benefit of COVID-19

As an aside, it must be noted that the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak is devastating for many people across the globe, especially for those stranded in geolocations cordoned off by the authorities to prevent the spread of the virus.

And, even though the global health and economic negatives far outweigh any possible benefit to the pandemic, there is one potential advantage to the worldwide reduction of the manufacturing and transport sectors.

The CarbonBrief.org website reported on 19 February 2020, with updated information on 4 March 2020, that China’s CO2 emissions had reduced by 25%. This is because electricity demand and industrial output are still far below their usual levels. Statistically speaking, the effects of the attempt to contain the coronavirus have resulted in a 15% to 40% reduction in production across China.

Final thoughts

Preneshni R. Naicker, in her journal article titled, “The impact of climate change and other factors on zoonotic diseases,” notes that “geoclimatic change most markedly affects zoonotic diseases transmitted by arthropod vectors.”

She also highlights the fact that circa 60% of all new human pathogens are zoonoses. In other words, almost two-thirds of all new viruses contracted by humans are transferred from animals. And, there is a complicated relationship between the human-animal interface, which is continuously influenced by the effects of climate change.

Therefore, based on this scientific research, it is possible to conclude that the earth, or environment, allows, even encourages, the development of zoonoses like the latest coronavirus to protect itself from the ongoing destruction as a consequence of climate change and global warming.

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It’s Heartbreaking! A Pregnant Elephant Dies in Kerala after a Pineapple Filled with Crackers Exploded in its Mouth

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Pregnant Elephant Died
Image Credit : Timesnownews

News room. Written by : Anne Kamwila, Staff Member, Nature Talkies.

A young, pregnant elephant in Silent Valley Forest (Kerala) fell victim to heinous human cruelty after being fed a pineapple stuffed with crackers. The stuff exploded in her mouth as she munched the fruit. According to a senior forest officer, the elephant’s jaw broke, and she was unable to eat. The officer firmly believed that someone fed the elephant crackers with intend to eliminate her.

The pineapple of death

According to Mr. Surendrakumar, the young elephant died at Malappuram district’s Velliyar River on May 27th, 2020. The post-mortem proved beyond any reasonable doubt, that, indeed, the pachyderm was pregnant. The wild elephant had meandered into the village in search of greener pastures.

Most locals use pineapples with country-made crackers to protect their farms against wild boars. Unfortunately, the young elephant ate one of these deadly fruits. It exploded in her mouth, resulting in the inevitable tragedy.

The powerful cracker explosion caused severe injuries in the elephant’s mouth – a damaged tongue, broken jaw, and other severe injuries. The poor animal walked around in the village for several days in excruciating pain and searing hunger. She couldn’t eat anything and eventually walked back to the wild.

Her injuries were discovered on May 25th, two days before the sad news emerged – her death. The last photos of the poor animal place her along the banks of Velliyar River. There are also photos that show her standing in the river with her trunk and mouth in the water. This probably gave some kind of relief from the searing pain caused by the cracker explosion.

The forest official used two captive elephants – Neelakanthan and Surendran, to help lead the injured elephant out of the water. Various attempts by the officials to rescue the pregnant elephant failed, and at 4 pm on May 27th, the young elephant succumbed to her injuries while standing in water.

More information: Save Animals that are on the Threshold of Becoming Extinct

So far, no arrests made

No one has been arrested a week after the unfortunate death of the young elephant. Her death and the trauma she endured has caused outrage, with hundreds of thousands calling for legal action against the perpetrators.

One of the senior officers issued an arrest order and assured the world that the culprit would be nabbed and punished for ‘hunting’ the young elephant. The forest officials and police have launched a probe to arrest the man believed to have offered the elephant that ‘pineapple of death.’

The entire issue came to light after one of the forest officials narrated the cruelty and the horrific death of the pregnant elephant on social media.

Pinarayi Vijayan, the chief minister, said that strict action would be taken against the people responsible for the heinous acts that led to the death of the young, pregnant elephant. “The forest officials are probing the case, and the culprits will be definitely be brought to book.” He concluded.

According to the post mortem, it’s possible that the elephant ate the cracker-stuffed pineapple at the end of April or the early days of May.  “We don’t know the exact day when the incident occurred. But given the severe starvation and shrinking of the elephant, it’s estimated that the incident occurred 20 days ago,” one of the officers told NDTV.

This is not the first time an elephant has died in Kerala. A report of another elephant that died in the same state, under similar circumstances has surfaced. The young elephant is said to have died in April in the same region. It’s evident that the authorities should take the right measures to protect these wild animals from merciless hunters.

News formation source: The Hindu : NDTV , Times Now News

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Celebrate Biodiversity: Top Reasons to Commemorate the World Environment Day

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Celebrate Biodiversity
Image credit : Pixabay (Siala)

What is biodiversity? And what does World Environment Day have to do with the need to celebrate biodiversity?

Biodiversity is the “foundation of ecosystem services to which human wellbeing is intimately linked.”

Humankind is part of the dynamic, complex, and varied multi-layered ecosystem. Each layer in the bio network has a singular role to fulfill. And all the layers work in harmony with one another. Consequently, if a layer gets removed, both sides of this layer collapse.

And, because people are at the top of the ecological model or pyramid, we have the biggest impact on all the layers underneath us. Therefore, we have the biggest responsibility to ensure that the ecosystems below us function optimally and remain in ecological balance or harmony. We maybe don’t see it, but when the natural order goes out of sync, we suffer as well as the other parts of the natural world.

A modern example is an increase in the number and intensity of tropical storms, cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes, caused by global warming. Succinctly stated, as the earth’s temperature heats up, the warmer oceans facilitate the development of severe storms with higher winds speeds that are capable of causing major damage as they reach areas where people live. As an aside, these weather systems are similar in that they are severe weather events that cause untold destruction when they move over urban settlement areas. Their fundamental difference is where they form.

For example, a hurricane forms over the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific oceans. A typhoon forms over the Northwest Pacific. And, cyclones occur in the Indian and South Pacific oceans.

According to weather.com, on 20 May 2020, ”the tropical cyclone Amphan made landfall with major storm surges, high winds, and flooding rainfall in India and Bangladesh.” Its original peak intensity was a category 5 storm, but it weakened to a category 2 as it moved over West Bengal, India, and Bangladesh.

Reasons to Celebrate Biodiversity

We have established the quintessential nature of the natural order and the need for biodiversity within the natural world, let’s now move onto reasons why we should celebrate our biodiversity.

We must remember

The most straightforward reason to commemorate the world’s biodiversity is that if we remind ourselves of the importance to take care of the environment. This sounds like a trite statement. However, as described above, it is imperative to secure a living environment for future generations.

The key to preventing pandemics

The website, Activesustainability.com notes that over 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihood, while another 1.6 billion people rely on the world’s forests for their living. And, there is evidence to suggest that the “loss of biodiversity could increase the number of cases of zoonoses” like Ebola, COVID-19, and SARS and MERS. In fact, 70% of new communicable diseases have originated from viruses like zoonoses.

Since more than one animal species are often involved in the spread of infection, the loss of “biodiversity and extinction of many of those species increases the chances of the pathogens reaching human beings.”

In other words, if we protect the natural kingdom and natural order of species, the risk of infectious diseases from zoonoses will reduce substantially.

Final thoughts

In summary, it is vital to celebrate our biodiversity and commemorate world environment day on 5 June 2020 as it reminds us how critical it is to take care of the world’s ecosystems so that they remain in harmony and balance. Otherwise, the world’s flora and fauna, including humankind, will not survive.

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King Stringy And Other Tallest Trees Inhabiting The Planet Earth

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King Stringy
Image credit : Wikipedia

Are you one of those nature lovers who love to get lost in deep woods? Does the very thought of wandering in forests, the smallness of being around giant trees like King Stringy whose sheltering canopy, age-old bark, and earthly scent evoke a deep sense of fulfillment within you? If yes, then check our list of the most towering trees that you have to visit at least once in your life.

The mightiest trees of the earth to make us realize how small we are:

For centuries, mankind has witnessed a strange divinity in trees. In several cultures, people worship trees. The key reason behind this is that they are a major life source for us. But, the fact that they are also extremely beautiful adds to our fascination regarding trees. Isn’t it amazing that some of them grow as tall as a 20-story or a 30-story building? No, there is no exaggeration in the above statement. There are such giant trees in the world whose greatness will leave you mesmerized.

Here is a list of the tallest trees for tree lovers like you:

Hyperion in Redwood National Park

The world’s tallest tree is a redwood, namely Hyperion, situate in Redwood National Park of California. The height of Hyperion is 380 feet, thus appropriately named.

This tree is 600 years old and its exact location is kept as a secret to reduce threats of vandalism.

King Stringy in Tasmania

Lovingly named King Stringy, this is a stringy-bark tree standing at an awe-inspiring height of 282 feet. It is the tallest member of the Eucalyptus oblique family.

It has derived this unique name because of its stringy and flaky bark that peels off easily. Nevertheless, the bark and the wood of King Stringy are extremely sturdy and the flowers are loved haven by bees. Having survived several natural threats, the pretty kingly tree is one of the toughest trees.

Nehemiah Loggorale Meena in Tasmania

Believe us when you say that Neeminah Loggorale Meena is as tall as its long name. Standing with pride in the deep forests of Tasmania, this blue gem tree is one of a kind.

The meaning of Neeminah Loggorale Meena is ‘mother and daughter’ in the Aboriginal language. It stands completely isolated in an area and is 298 feet tall. The Tasmanian Forestry Law clearly states that any tree exceeding the height of 278 feet cannot be cut down, ensuring the safety of such huge trees.

Alpine Ash in Tasmania

The Florentine Valley of Tasmania is famous for its untouched, ancient forests. There are rows of tall Eucalyptus delegatensis trees. The tallest one in the group has reached 288 feet from the ground.

Deforestation is a serious threat to the Florentine Valley, but the conservation groups are trying their best to preserve forests.

White Knight, Evercreech Forest Reserve

Though the White Knight has not saved any damsel in distress, its height alone is heroic. Standing at an inspiring height of 299 feet, it is one of the pride of Tasmanian forests. Dendrophiles from all around the globe visit the White Knight.

So, one trip to Tasmania will give you the opportunity of looking at some of the largest trees with your own eyes.

Raven’s Tower in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

If you visit the Prairie Creek Redwood State Park, you can spot the Raven’s Tower. The height of this tree is 317 and the park was established with the intention of protecting the lofty trees of the area.

Centurion in Arve Valley

You’ll find the second tallest tree of the world on the small island of Tasmania in Australia. This giant tree, Centurion is 330 feet tall and has got its name from Roman centurions.

There was a devastating bushfire in southern Tasmania in February 2019, and Centurion has been luckily saved. 

Giant  Sequoia in Sequoia National Forest

The Giant Sequoias are the world’s biggest trees. Once you step into a sequoia forest, you’ll never feel like leaving the place. 

The name of the tallest Giant Sequoia tree is General Sherman tree. Situated in the Sequoia National Park in California’s Tulare County, it has a height of 275 feet.

Conclusion:

Other than King Stringy, Hyperion and Centurion, there are some other tallest trees such as Menara, Doerner Fir, and Yellow Meranti.

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