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Greta Thunberg – A 2003 Born Swedish Environmental Activist

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Image refer Greta Thunberg
Image credit : Wikipedia

“No one is too small to make a difference”, a book by Swedish Environmental activist, Greta Thunberg is a push that the world needs to take environmental crisis as a serious business. At a tender age of 17, Greta is pouring her heart out about how she feels, and in fact, how everybody else should feel about protecting our deteriorating nature. This article is about this young lady who is fearless in expressing herself when it comes to the topic of saving the world’s environment for the future generation. And has gone beyond her capabilities for the same.

Born on 3 January 2003 in Stockholm, Sweden to opera singer Malena Ernman and actor Svante Thunberg, Greta started wondering about climate change and its impact when she was eight years old. Since then, she has not stopped and is taking the world by storm by going vocal about the existential crisis arising from climate change in public and to political leaders at the world stage. Who is this girl and why the world is bound to listen to her?

Greta’s life & personality

Greta was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and selective mutism. The issues are characterized by difficulty in social interaction and non-verbal communication, restricted and repetitive behavioral patterns and inability to speak in certain social conditions. Despite all these issues, Greta built the courage and stood up to put questions before the world about why so little has been done to heal the environment.

Before she could point the correct ways to the people, she began by adopting several lifestyle choices to reduce her own and her family’s carbon footprint. She induced upcycling, vegan habits, and gave up flying. Though her family was in favor of environment preservation, the decision of not flying was detrimental to the international opera career of her mother. But since this cause was a source of hope and happiness for Thunberg, the family did its best to extend their support.

Her activism mission & journey– Stop stealing our future

The intentions of this Swedish environmental activist outreached the masses in the year 2018. Thunberg won a climate change essay competition held by Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. In part, she wrote “I want to feel safe. How can I feel safe when I know we are in the greatest crisis in human history?”. The publishing of this article led Bo Thorén from Fossil Free Dalsland, a group working in context to climate change, to approach Greta and suggested a school children strike for climate change. Greta started this campaign alone in absence of any support from her fellow students.

She was so determined for the cause that she decided not to attend her school until the 2018 Swedish general election to be held on 9 September. That year, Sweden had the hottest summer in at least 262 years, causing heatwaves and wildfires. This upset Great and she began her protest on 20 August 2018 demanding the Swedish government to reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. She protested outside the Riksdag, the national legislature, and the supreme decision-making body of Sweden. She sat every day for three weeks during school hours with the sign Skolstrejk för klimatet which translates to “school strike for climate”.

Her candid speeches gave her international recognition as a Swedish environmental activist. Many students and people around the world got encouragement from such revolutionizing thoughts and actions. The High-profile activists on social media promoted her and gave her coverage in little more than a week.

The world has opened more stages for Greta where she took part in demonstrations throughout Europe. She made moving speeches and in the month of December 2018, more than 20,000 students at around 270 cities around the globe participated in student strikes. By September 2019, this number rose to over four million people.

She continued to represent at world stages. She spoke during the plenary session of the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24). She was made part of sessions at World Economic Forum in January 2019 and addressed British, European, and French parliaments. In March 2019, she took a sabbatical area to travel around America to promote the idea of environmental conservation.

Greta submitted an eight sentence statement with IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C as evidence at the US House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis on September 18. In the same month, she attended the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City.

Greta was appointed as a guest editor BBC Radio’s flagship current affairs program, The Today Programme. She featured interviews on climate change with Sir David Attenborough, Bank of England chief Mark Carney, Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja, and Shell Oil executive Maarten Wetselaar

This year January, Thunberg delivered two speeches at the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland. She participated in panel discussions hosted by The New York Times and the World Economic Forum.

Greta’s take on climate change

Anti-flying also called flygskam or flight shame is what Greta support, along with other environment-friendly activities. There is a substantial increase in the amount of greenhouse gas emissions by the aircraft. Hence, Thunberg refused to fly on environmental grounds. This was a part of her 2019 “awareness tour” in Europe and consequentially, Sweden has reported a 4% drop in domestic air travel for 2019 and an increase in rail use.

She accuses business and political leaders upfront of their failure in taking appropriate actions to deal with the existential crisis because of global warming. She says, “Our house is on fire” and holds the current generation of adults responsible for all the chaos.

She supports thinking of the young activists from developing countries who are worst hit by the damaging aspect of climate change. At international forums she strongly asserted the “lowering” the emissions is not enough, rather the efforts are needed to “stop” the emission to keep global warming to less than 1.5C. And also, the EU must reduce its CO2 emissions by 80%, rather than the proposed goal of 40%.

Some of her popular statements

Our young Swedish environmental activist, Greta, is famous for her outspoken statements that send revolutionary waves around the globe. Here are some of her famous tweets and speech excerpt.

“Indigenous people are literally being murdered for trying to protect the forest from illegal deforestation. Over and over again. It is shameful that the world remains silent about this”.

Twitter, December 2019

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”           

At 2019 UN Climate Action Summit

Glass half full or half empty

There are people who have appreciated Greta since her very action as a promising Swedish environmental activist. But she has invited some strong criticism as well for the ways she put her thoughts into words & targeting influential people. Bad or good, a vast majority is now under the “Greta effect”.

Speaking at an event in New Zealand in May 2019, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres came in support of the strikes initiated by Thunberg and admitted that “My generation has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change. This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry.” 

Pope Francis also thanked Greta and encouraged her to continue. Presidential candidates of United States Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, and Bernie Sanders came forward in her support and German Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated that young activists like Thunberg had propelled the government to act faster on the issues of climate change.

Britain’s secretary for the environment, Michael Gove, said: “When I listened to you, I felt great admiration, but also responsibility and guilt. I am of your parents’ generation, and I recognize that we haven’t done nearly enough to address climate change and the broader environmental crisis that we helped to create.” Labour politician Ed Miliband, said: “You have woken us up. Thank you. All the young people who have gone on strike have held up a mirror to our society. You have taught us all a really important lesson. You have stood out from the crowd.”

Some condemned Greta’s way of presenting facts as being childish.

Many, including Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, German chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin, OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), and the U.S.
President Donald Trump threw criticism claiming that she oversimplifies the complex issues involved. They say, she was being manipulated to serve others’ interests and is “poorly informed”.

Honours & awards

Within a span of 2 years of her work as a Swedish environmental activist, Greta is being facilitated with various honors and awards. A list of 24 honors and titles has some internationally recognized and local awards, including TIME’S 25 most influential teens of 2018, Fryshuset scholarship, 2018, for Young Role Model of the Year, Nobel Peace Prize nomination, 2019 and 2020, Fritt Ord Award, April 2019, shared with Natur og Ungdom, which “celebrates freedom of speech”, TIME 100, April 2019, by Time magazine, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world for that year, Doctor honoris causa (honorary doctorate), May 2019, conferred by the Belgian, the University of Mons for “contribution to raising awareness on sustainable development, International Children’s Peace Prize, October 2019, shared with 14-year-old Divina Maloum from Cameroon, awarded by the KidsRights Foundation.

Closing Remarks

A YouGov poll in Britain shows a record level increase in the public concern about the environment since Thunberg’s initiatives and protests. Climate change situations demand self-motivated beings like Greta. In her own way, she is fighting to save our common home.

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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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An Apple Tree: Caring For An Apple Tree And Benefits Of Eating Apples

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Apple tree
Image credit : Pixabay

An apple tree is among the most popular trees in the world because of its nutritious fruit. Spring flowers, delicious fruits, and summer shade are only a few of the wonderful advantages of planting an apple tree.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Usually consumed raw, people also use apples in several recipes, drinks, and juices. They are available in various sizes and colors.

Some basic facts about an apple tree:

  • Etymology- The word ‘apple’ has a Proto-Germanic origin.
  • Production- China is the largest producer of apple in the world. Other suppliers of delicious apples include Poland, the United States, Iran, Italy, Turkey, and India.

How to care for an apple tree?

Through proper control of diseases and insects, pruning, and fertilizing, you can enjoy the fruit and beauty of an apple tree for years. If you have an apple tree or plan to plant one, here are some facts that you need to know:

  1. Location and time- Early spring or late fall is an ideal season for planting apple trees. The preferred location is one with wind block to keep the apples from falling off before they are ripe.
  2. Size- These trees can be as tall as 40 feet, but the dwarf varieties are easy to maintain.
  3. Pruning- Pruning increases fruit production and should be done in winter.
  4. Symptoms of pest infection and diseases- Look for symptoms like stunted growth, yellowing of foliage, white layer on leaves, spots on fruits and leaves, and branch dieback.
  5. Fruits- Fruits usually appear after three or four years.

Nutritional value of apples:

  • Carbs- Apples are primarily composed of water and carbs. So, they are replete with simple sugars like sucrose, glucose, and fructose.
  • Vitamins and minerals- Apple contains multiple minerals and vitamins, Vitamin C being present in high amounts. Potassium, the main mineral present in apples is good for the heart.
  • Fiber- Apples are also high in fiber, thus boosting digestion.
  • Other plant compounds- Apples are also a source of several antioxidant compounds such as quercetin (anti-depressant), chlorogenic acid (improves muscle and brain function), and catechin (aids weight loss and lowers blood pressure).

Check out more information: Scientists Discover that Cutting Trees Can Save the Earth’s Forest From Excessive Drought and Heat.

Health benefits of eating apples:

Apples are not just juicy and tasty but also have excellent health benefits.

  1. Fights against diabetes- People who eat apples regularly have fewer chances of developing type 2 diabetes. The reason behind this is that it has an ample amount of soluble fiber.
  2. Fights Cancer– Many studies on animals and test-tube babies have revealed that apples reduce the chances of having cancer in the colon and the lungs. Other studies have proved that people who eat apples regularly are at a lower risk of getting breast and colorectal cancer.
  3. Makes the heart-healthy- Apple is also a heart-friendly fruit, one that lessens the chances of being affected with cardiovascular diseases.
  4. Helps reduce irritable bowel syndrome- Irritable bowel syndrome can be characterized by diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, and bloating. Doctors recommend a minimum intake of fatty foods and dairy products in such cases. So, apple is a good replacement for people with IBS.
  5. Controls weight- The best way of managing weight is by exercising and eating healthy foods. Apple and other fruits give the body the required nutrients and also help the person maintain healthy body weight.
  6. Prevents hemorrhoids- Swollen veins in a person’s anal canal are called hemorrhoids. Fiber can control constipation and alleviate hemorrhoids.
  7. Detoxifies liver- One of the easiest and best things that help you detoxify the liver is apples.
  8. Strengthens immune system- Quercetin, an antioxidant present in red apples boosts the immune system.
Best time to eat apples:

As apples are rich in pectin, you should eat them in the morning. Since most people these days suffer from digestive problems due to insufficient sleep and unhealthy eating habits, eating an apple in the morning is a good idea. However, do not eat it or any other fruit in an empty stomach as it might aggravate acid reflux, causing distress.

Conclusion:

If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet is a must. Apples are an excellent choice in this respect. So, keep having this healthy and tasty fruit. Planting an apple tree in your backyard is also a great idea.

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