Declaration of Rebellion

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Click here to visit their website

Extracted from the declaration  of https://risingup.org.uk/XR/ – with a minor modification marked in red below.

We hold the following to be true:

This is our darkest hour.

Humanity finds itself embroiled in an event unprecedented in its history. One which, unless immediately addresses, will catapult us further into the destruction of all we hold dear: this nation, its peoples, our ecosystems and the future generation to come.

The science is clear – we are the one sixth mass extinction event and we will face catastrophe if we do not act swiftly and robustly.

Biodiversity is being annihilated around the world. Our seas are poisoned, acidic and rising. Flooding and desertification will render vast tracts of land uninhabitable and lead to mass migration.

Our air is so toxic that the countries* themselves are breaking the law. It harms the unborn whilst chasing tens of thousands to die. The breakdown of our climate has begun. There will be more wildfires, unpredictable super storms, increasing famine and untold drought as food supplies and fresh water disappear. (*United Kingdom in the original replaced with countries without permission from the creators)

The ecological crises that are impacting upon this nation, and indeed this planet and its wildlife can no longer be ignored, denied or go unanswered by any beings of sound rational thought, ethical conscience, moral concern, or spiritual belief.

In accordance with these values, the virtues of truth and the weight of scientific evidence, we declare it our duty to act on behalf of the security and well-being of our children, our communities and the future of the planet itself.

We, in alignment with our consciences and our reasoning, declare ourselves in rebellion against our government and the corrupted, inept institutions that threaten our future.

The wilful complicity displayed by our government has shattered meaningful democracy and case aside the common interest in favour of short-term gain and private profits.

When government and the law fail to provide any assurance of adequate protection, as well as security for its people’s well-being and the nation’s future, it becomes the right of its citizens to see redress in order to restore dutiful democracy and to secure the solutions needed to avert catastrophe and protect the future. It becomes not only our right, it becomes our sacred duty to rebel.

We hereby declare the bonds of the social contract to be null and void, which the government has rendered invalid by its continuing failure to act appropriately.

We demand to be heard, to apply informed solutions to these ecological crises and to create a national assembly by which to initiate those solutions needed to change our present cataclysmic course.

We refuse to bequeath a dying planet to future generations by failing to act now.

We act in peace with ferocious love of these lands in our hearts.

We act on behalf of live.

declaration of rebellion

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#LetAvniLive – more than just the #

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#LetAvniLive is not just a demand, not a mere slogan or a fancy # to kill time on social media. #LetAvniLive is a revolution – it’s the coming together of people for an important task, to assume and fulfil a non-negotiable responsibility to the planet. Avni is not just a tigress, she’s the manifestation of the planet, the biodiversity, the eco system, our ozone layer – she’s the personification of the air we breathe, the earth we walk upon, the music in the wind and dance in the sway of the trees. Avni is symbolic of every animal living in perpetual threat, struggling to retain their rightful place on a planet that’s theirs, every life that is exploited for human gain and treated like objects to further inhuman greed.

And when we ask the government to let Avni live, what is that we are intending to demand?

The forest is the rightful place for a tiger, how much of a difficult demand is it to let our forests remain their home? It’s time we stopped seeing all of earth as ours! Give animals their rightful place, and let’s see why it must be so difficult to let Avni live!

The tiger is a national animal, a protected and endangered species, and a magnificent animal when let alone. If our monuments can be protected, if our ministers can get security cover, if our nuclear plants can be secured, if our airports and army cantonments can have strict access controls, why can’t forest access be controlled? Do this, and let’s see why it should be so difficult to let Avni live!

What and who decides a man eater tag for an animal? The same man who decides which animals to eat and how he will eat them? In this one-sided ugly way of life, how can there be harmony in society and the philosophy of Vasudeva Kutambakam? Set out fair parameters uncoloured by the greedy eyes of man let us really see why we can’t let Avni live!

Isn’t there a difference between a predator and hunter? A predator preys upon another animal lower in the food chain for food or to thwart a threat. A hunter goes in search of a victim for sport or self adulation, it’s mental disease, a fetish. Kick the hunter out of the forest, restore peace and sanity in the temples called forests, and then the presiding deities there will show how they will let Avni live!

12 days, like the proverbial needle in a haystack, Avni has evaded the most ferocious predators of all, the most obsessed hunter, sophisticated technology and a team determined to suck her blood. A mother with 2 babies, encumbered in movement and stress of the heart, brain and body showing that in spite of shrinking spaces, there’s rooms for all! Recognise, respect and admire that tenacity and display of wisdom, to realise that we can easily let Avni live!

Every department has a role, and it must do exactly that. Why is a forest minister worried about people welfare? Then why have an HR ministry? Why is forest land, albeit rich in minerals, being given for industrialisation? When such a situation arises, is the minister for environment supposed to stand up for the forest and kick the proposal or kill the tiger and endorse the project? Then what is the role of the industries minister? Let’s demand that people honour their respectful responsibilities and once they are made accountable we will see why it is no longer a problem to let Avni live!

Humans are more than predators, they are perpetrators of all atrocities on everything including themselves. It is time we realised we must pay a price for our irresponsible ways. If we didn’t learn to stop breeding, we must suffer with the spaces we have and resources we share. If we didn’t learn to stay away, we must suffer from predatory attacks and acts of self defense. If we can stop animals from paying a price for human fallacies, we will realise how easy it is to let Avni live.

Forests are for wild animals, not domestic cattle. Just as I can’t take my dogs for a walk into a forest, a man can’t take his cattle in for grazing. It’s the government that is encouraging reckless cattle farming, promoting diary, driving people to own large herds of cattle. Forest lands are being encroached and misused by grazing cattle, beautifully enticing predatory animals. A tiger in a forest when sighting prey will act like a tiger. Stop illegal grazing, provide and comply with grazing guidelines and we will see it is child’s play to let Avni live!

A PCCF is the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, not ‘Preferred Contractor for Closure of Forests’ He must know that without a tiger there can be no forest, and without a forest there can be no tiger. If he, and others like him, recognised their role in the organisational hierarchy and stood up for what is right and what ought to be done to conserve, there can be no question if we should let Avni live!

Let Avni live. It’s not a campaign that ends with her right to remain where she belongs. It’s an awakening of our consciousness, the harbinger of our need to rise from our sleep and in stature. It’s a revolution of our senses to put people, priorities, principles and laws in their place and show that if we don’t change our ways, our ways will change the way and speed at which we will perish. And when we do, all other lives will rise again, learning from man’s misdeeds and make this planet what it really is.

That’s Avni!

To understand more about Avni the tigress who inspired the philosophy we now know as #LetAvniLive click here

For a quick coverage of the struggle and effort to let Avni live, click here

To send an automated mail to the government authorities via Big Cat Rescue, click here

To sign an online petition, click here

Avni – more than just a tigress!

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Its surprising how people around me, educated, well heeled and intelligent people, don’t understand the enormity of the will chase of #Avni – and the apathy of people around is so stunning!! Its then I realised why we are even fighting this battle. In more ways than one, we are all intellectually dead – without an exception, all of us are.
 
Corporate India does not care unless it will hit their sales, their bottomline or their share prices. It doesn’t matter to them that a few thousand trees give way to a massive highway – they see faster movement of goods, shorter routes saving time and fuel costs, and better distribution to increase topline. What wildlife? What ecosystem? What biodiversity? Fuck all that, sell more and let my consumers dump more plastics and fill up what remains too!
 
None of the big names in media care unless it will be ‘breaking news’ that will get 6 people screaming on live debate, arguments, chaos and has the potential for ‘their’ expose to shake up something sensational – they see improved viewership, leading to improved ratings which gives better advertising revenues, all this after they have clearly shown which party and people they have chosen to back up. What wildlife? What ecosystem? What biodiversity? Fuck all that, make more noise, and then some more, dont hear sides of the story, find their own cause and effect and move on!
 
None of the celebrities care unless it will mean increasing fan base, potential to promote their next event and surely not if it comes to going against the government. Of course, never say all this, just keep quite, pretend they don’t read tweets tagged to them and simply wait for it to wither away. What wildlife? What ecosystem? What biodiversity? Fuck all that, keep signing up more brands, more shows and more brands in a circle of immense wealth hoarding so they can buy land from the forests levelled for their next designed villa.
 
None of the politicians care unless it can mean upsetting the incumbent office holder, shake up the government or ensure a share of the benefits. They know the laws, they know issues, they will know the case much as the man and party in power, showing a cute understanding behind the ugly snarls in public. What wildlife? What ecosystem? What biodiversity? Fuck all that, keep digging, cutting, building and rebuilding as corporate India rushes to take advantage of a spineless political system!
 
Most NGOs – animals / environment – dont care unless their name will appear on it, stays clear of taking one someone, and will help them stay clear of upsetting their donors and well wishers or the party their special friends are affiliated to. Animal NGOs of course don’t care unless since this is not a dog or a cat, in any case why both about one tigress when there are thousands of dogs that they must attend to. What wildlife? What ecosystem? What biodiversity? Fuck all that, keep looking at the short term need, and show bow busy they are that they cant attend rallies, share a post but can sit back and talk about how someone else is fucking it up!
 
IF YOU HAVEN’T CONNECTED THE DOTS – aren’t seeing the massive destruction of forests, one after another after another of a scale that spell disaster to us, this living generation even as notional saplings are planted and awards doled out for promises from a mouth that doesn’t evet know what it is promising – then what are you, if not an intellectually dead zombie?
 
What wildlife? What ecosystem? What biodiversity? Fuck all that! In fact, you don’t need to – doomsday is certain thanks to our apathy, greed and selfishness. #Avni is an eyeopener to this intellectually dead populace – it is no surprise when she tells us through our amazing communicator:

“Forget me human, I can take care of myself and my babies.

Do you?”.

My guru. My lover. My mentor. My eyeopener. My life will never be the same again. Which is why she’s more than a tigress.
  • To send a one-click appeal to the powers to be, click here.
  • To know more about Avni, click here.
  • To watch an interview of mine explaining the need to #LetAvniLive, click here.
  • To understand more about why the government doesn’t care for Avni, click here.
  • To wake up and know more about destruction around you, click here.
  • What does it matter? To do nothing about all this, simply close the browser!

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Avni. Reading between the stripes

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avni & cubs rep

At the outset, it seems like a very simple story. That there is a tiger named Avni (meaning earth in Sanskrit), that she killed 13 villagers, and therefore declared to be a man eater and therefore needs to be killed. Very simple – tiger kills men, men kill tiger. If you want to know more, or have no idea about the issue, this article in The Hindu is pretty neat – click right here.

But first remember this: even as you read this, there’s a large team out there in the forest looking for Avni to bring her down. She’s in hiding, running acre to acre looking for cover and evading the bullet. Read the rest of story keeping mind the image of a young mother, with two bubbling toddlers running for life to protect herself, for she knows without her, her babies will either starve to death or spend 25 years captive in a dinghy jail eating packaged food!

Obviously, animal activists and animal lovers are outraged – one killing an animal; two killing a young animal with a long life ahead of her; three, killing a mother of two babies, infants really; four killing our national animal; five, killing one of the very few of an endangered species remaining and killing the mom of two toddlers is equal to killing three and the possible generations they’d have added; six, killing a big cat when India is celebrating Wildlife Week (ironically, the theme is Big Cats – predators under threat!). So there are enough reasons to spare Avni. But these are more sentimental and emotional reasons, which won’t stand the test of law, and will surely not impress people whose hearts don’t beat for animals. What do those facets look like? Is the government right in its decision to kill Avni?

  1. Avni has not ventured out of the forest even once – she has not gone in search of human prey, she has not attacked anyone outside the forest. So, whatever deaths have happened have happened to people trespassing into forest areas (meaning wholly restricted and controlled areas) – so instead of showing people that trespassing is illegal, punishable and comes with dire consequences, the government is providing compensation, and aiming its guns, literally, on the tiger! Are we thus encouraging trespassing or thwarting? People must be educated and warned about the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972!
  2. Nobody has seen Avni. Camera images, many of them suspect based on irregularities in dates, have been used to confirm her existence and movement. It is intriguing to see how all human killings have always happened near camera locations, warranting the question – did the cameras come first or the bodies?
  3. Forest officials claim one eye witness, and funnily enough in exact detail to match a wanted killer cat. Imagine cimes being tested on the floor on that basis – all of us must be hanged and the last man hang himself! This eye witness is the reason officials believe the killer cat is Avni!
  4. Where bodies have been found, they have been near cattle carcasses, and in the depths of the forest – clearly indicative of cattle taken for grazing into restricted areas. Cattle are of course lush prey for wild animals and no point making it look like a crime or an unmanageable situation.
  5. It takes a SCAT analysis to confirm the feeding habits and understanding of ingested food to confirm if Avni has killed humans and for food (as against killing in self defence if the men were a threat to her). No such lab tests were conducted, yet there seems to be a tearing hurry to terminate her?
  6. DNA tests can confirm tiger or tigress attack and go a long way in ascertaining the predatory nature of the cat. Of the 13 bodies found within, DNA tests were done only on 3, and of the 3 one showed tiger attack, one showed tigress attack and third was inconclusive. Which then warrants the question, why weren’t the other 10 bodies lab tested?
  7. The order says tranquilise, and in the same breath allows her to be killed – when you have an over-riding authority to take the extreme step, why would anyone even make a pretence on attempting to tranquilise? The very fact that the big name in the hunting party is a known killer who believes “big cats and man can’t co-exist”, where is there any chance of tranquilising her?
  8. RTI documents reveal that over 18 sq kms of the forest area have been encroached upon – that’s human inhabitation biting into precious forest area. What is the government doing about this – where is the political will to reclaim the land and put people in their right place?
  9. And for those pouncing on this saying what will poor villagers do but graze their cattle, records show that the cattle grazing there are not those of poor villagers who must do this for their daily bread – but cattle from rich animal farming community from far away places who choose this area for its abundance of rich fodder! Its business, using low cost of fodder!
  10. Forest Minister in the Maharashtra Government, Sudhir Mungantiwar’s constituency is Ballarpur – barely 100 kms away, and he’d surely take pride in showing great development work in his district and constituency, especially since tigers can’t vote!

So, then arises the question why do they want the tiger killed? Let’s understand the terrain a bit. Avni rules the forests in Ralegaon area of Yavatmal district of Maharashtra. And this area has been piquing the interest of many businesses for a while now. And why? Here’s a side by side comparison of the area – showing the forest and the reason for interest in the region:

The entire region adjoining and inside the forest is rich in many minerals – mostly limestone, coal and dolomite. And limestone is a big attraction for businesses with interests in Cement, Construction and infrastructure. Which automatically draws in the big players.

  • Reliance  – known to be close to government at the highest level has been given close to 500 hectares of forest land to set up a cement factory – here is the story!
  • Reliance has since sold their land to the MP Birla Group, a conglomerate with extensive interests and ambitious growth plans in Cement, which is setting up a massive cement factory in the vicinity – here is that story!
  • Jinbhuvish Power Generation is setting up a 600 MW coal- based thermal power project in Yavatmal, at a cost of 3,450 crore, a plant spread over 800 acres – here is the story
  • ACC Cements has obtained 500 acres of land right inside the forest to mine limestone, as is evident from government records – here it is!

Now, let us find answers to critical questions. So, now, who benefits by getting rid of the big ones in the forest? And what stops more development in and near the forests? How can we bring down a forest to make the most of the wood, minerals and richness inside? What’s a few tigers when there are thousands of billions of currency out here.

Avni is not a maneater. She’s not on a human killing spree, she hasn’t ventured out of her territory – a territory supposedly marked by the government as hers. She has been evasive and in hiding, typical signs of a cat under threat, while a man eater makes her presence felt and is seen closer to inhabitation. On the contrary, she’s a victim. Her habitat is reducing rapidly and food becoming scarce – when her babies grow up, and thats hoping they do, they may struggle to find their meal – because not just the habitat but sources of food are also diminishing rapidly as more villagers kills boars and other herbivores for food. (An interesting parallel can be seen here). Villagers are treating the forest as their own and trespass at will, government rewards are an incentive for those anyway burdened with poor crops and loan debts.

Avni is a treasure, a true wild animal, a perfect big cat and a beautiful animal who needs protection. She needs every human to stand up for the right to protect an innocent animal falling victim to corporate greed. She needs every Indian to fight for the system that corners her thus. She doesn’t have to be relocated. She is not short of forest cover, that she has been evasive and invisible for a year now is evidence of that. She has enough food for a few years. What she needs is a protecting agency – read government – that recognises her as a national treasure and gives her the space that’s rightfully hers! A government that has the balls to tell people to keep away and punish them for disturbing our national animal. A government that can drop its industrial-growth-at-any-cost thinking and look at the larger biodiversity that the country needs.

She needs you to make the voices to stop her killing louder and firmer, surer and farther. Your voice can do that, ours collectively. So can our votes.

#LetAvniLive

Some links to join the battle:

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Kids. To be or not to be?

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Before I get started, some obvious statements need to be put forth, for the inevitable question that will be asked. Do I have children, yes I do and two of them, and therefore remember I am guilty of some of the points I will make here. With that aside, let me build my case. Be ready to crunch some numbers, ok?

It is an emotional, highly emotional, psychological, physiological and social topic – and like it or not concerns a larger family, society and community when it comes to having and raising children. For all the privacy and space revolving around the biological side of making babies, this is one hot topic in every part of the globe, a lot more in patriarchal societies where the primary role of a woman is considered to be producing offspring, and, male if you will! Marriages have broken, families split, lives lost, respect compromised in the pursuit of having heirs, and with science fuelling desire, properties sold, jewellery pledged, money borrowed, funds raised as couples rush to fertility factories for clinical interventions to do the magic. And in many countries, religious heads, tantriks, astrologers, touts and shrinks exploit weak-kneed couples with claims of ‘curing’ infertility, while countries like China make fortunes out of selling aphrodisiacs from various animals parts to ‘improve’ virility and consequently, fertility!

Image result for world population explosionIt just seems a ridiculous question to ask – IS IT OKAY TO HAVE CHILDREN? To understand this better in the context of the future, lets get into some understanding of the past to know how we got to where we are today, shall we?

YEAR> 837 1543 1737 1803 1928 1975 2000
POPULATION> (IN BILLION) O.25 0.50 .75 1.0 2.0 3.0 6.1
  Doubled in 700 years In ~700 years In ~200 years In ~65 years Doubled in ~125 years In ~50 years Doubled in ~25 years

Now, let us crunch our timelines a bit. Very little data is available for those years, drastic changes happened in the last 50 years, and the occurrences of the last few decades are defining our next few years and future!

So, what exactly has been the impact of this population explosion of humans, on the planet? Human life has always revolved around freshwater bodies, river beds the pivotal point of communities and civilisations. Our lives revolved around them, and life them was built on coexisting as a part of the biodiversity. But the last 200 years have changed all that.

  • In 1970, world livestock population – of animals kept in captivity for human consumption was at 7.3 billion (for 3.7 people). Today it is at about 30 billion, for a population of 7.6 billion – while population has increased by 5%, livestock has gone up 400% – meaning consumption has sky rocketed geometrically!
  • Animals in livestock produce close to 500 million tons of excreta a year, all of which is going into our freshwater bodies and land destroying arable land. 40 years ago this figure was at 85 millions tons! So, while our demand for freshwater is increasing, we are rapidly contaminating it, making over half the freshwater available unusable.
  • This now throws up some startling numbers – of the total land surface of earth (30% of earth’s surface), inhabitable land is 104msk [million square kilometres] and half of this is land under agriculture – 51msk. Of this 51, 77% or 40msk is land under cultivation to feed out 30 billion livestock, and only 23% or 11msk for human consumption!
  • Let me places these numbers in better perspective for you. Land used for livestock and cultivation to feed livestock takes up surface area equivalent to North, South & Central America combined, as against this fresh water area available on earth that equals all of Mangolia!!
  • In 1950, we were drawing close to 175,000 million gallons a day of water, today it tops at about 265,000 million gallons – against this, we have lost half our wet lands and a drop of 70% of fresh water (surface water and ground water) resources.
  • Over 30% of all fresh water are getting saltier – direct consequence of rising sea levels and disruption of river flows because of massive construction and diversions, that by 2050, 25% of available fresh water will not only be unfit for human consumption but also destroy fresh water life within.
  • Since 1900, more than 50% of types of wetlands have disappeared, freshwater species declined 76% between 1970 and 2010, which has rapidly destroyed the biodiversity that in turn has destroyed land fertility, water retention and precipitation – directly responsible for drop in rain water and increase in floods.
  • WWF study shows that only 64 of the 177 large rivers in the world (1,000km and longer) remain free-flowing, while only 21 of them retain a direct connection with the sea.
  • Our pace of deforestation, as forest land is levelled to make room for agriculture and dwelling has doubled in the last 200 years – in the year 1800 our deforestation was at 0.8 billion hectares – in 2010 we were at 1.82 billion hectares, and is expected to cross 2 billion in the next 4 years! Of every 1 hectare of land being reclaimed, two thirds of it is for animal farming, and one third for human use, inhabitation or cultivation.
  • Of the 7.6 billion humans today, about half, at 3 billion are urban dwellers, and 1 billion live below the poverty line. By 2030, five billion people will be in cities, and those below the poverty line will double to 2 billion, bringing pressure on every conceivable urban infrastructure like dwelling, roads, transport, water and sanitation.
  • South Asian countries are the largest growing in the world, almost 2 billion people are here. Why is this important? These are rice eating people, which consumes two times more water than wheat, oats or corn! So countries with the highest levels of population growth, with lowest means to nutrition and healthcare will also be the countries with highest increase in need for freshwater. Ironically, these are the same countries showing fastest growth in per capita consumption of meat and dairy, together accounting for over 70% of all freshwater consumption.
  • Global methane concentration – at 1625 parts per billion in 1984 is now at a staggering  1850 parts, and increasing rapidly as animal excreta pushes methane levels to dangerous proportions, leading to faster pace of global warming.
  • We produced 1.5 million tons of plastic in the year 1950. Today it is at a mind-blowing 350 million tons, and one of the fastest growing industries! The rate at which we are increasingly adding plastic debris to landfills and ocean beds is another story altogether!

Mull over these numbers and you will see what the future beholds. In 30 years from now, we will  lose more lives to lack of fresh water, territorial battles for access to water, and diseases born out of poor sanitation, and this will impact rural, urban poor and rich in equal measure. The impact of the changing eco system, the rapidity at which natural resources are getting depleted will all give rise to chaos propelled by deprival, inadequacy and a fight for the survival of the fittest, in this era marked by economic and nuclear prowess!

Let us look at this from another angle. Today, 4 babies are born every second, while 2 deaths occur the same second. We are replacing the dead with double their number – so eventually, the numbers will more than double, for there is a larger threat pulling down human existence. In 1990, the average life expectancy was about 65, and the number of unhealthy or ‘medical intervention dependant’ years was 8. Today, in just 20 years, the numbers are 72 and 12 respectively. What does that tell you? Science and medical interventions are now extending life spans, making people live longer and also, that more people are falling sick and living more unhealthy years! That leads us to another set of whacky numbers! Fasten your seat belts!

Human population that is 85 years and above is projected to increase at a whopping 351% between now and 2050, compared to a 188 increase for population aged 65 or older, and a 22% increase for the population under age 65. IVF procedures are defying nature’s birth control processes, while organ donations and replacements are making the invalid turn valid, and many of them with half the quality of life they should be having. And that to you means we will now be spreading our already depleting resources thinner, and be sharing it with a larger number of people – as our uncles, aunts and parents keep loading the top, while adding nephews and nieces and children in the bottom – stretching the planet from all sides. Increasing demand, while rapidly short circuiting the supply! We are overpopulated by about 4 times, and scientists give us less than 35 years in all to see the fall of the human species!

So, if you were born any time after 1978, and by the current span of 70-75 years, you are likely to be one of the first to see the species disintegrate. And if you are having a child any time now, after 2015, the child is likely to get past middle age. And I am using the word likely only to stay polite and not play god by being absolute – though personally I think we will.

Now that I have in absolutely believable and undeniable numbers laid the case to demonstrate why our planet is bursting at the seams, let me explain this from another angle.

Based on 2016 studies, UNICEF pegs the number of orphans worldwide to be in the range of 140 million, that’s roughly the population of Russia! There are about 170 million children below the age of 15 who are employed as child labour and this is important data – because these children remain uneducated, unaware of the problems of global warming and human breeding, and with age become parents of kids born into families below the poverty line. Over 60 million children today suffer from malnutrition and are vulnerable to deadly diseases already, and when water related problems strike, they are likely to be the start and spread of epidemics! 1 out of every 8 children born, is born into a conflict zone – and remember, we haven’t seen the worst of civil wars and territorial conflicts yet!

In developing countries like Indonesia and India, and many African countries, there’s more room for worry. Strain on resources is forcing unskilled labour to resort to other means of livelihood – which is why in spite of so many measures, we haven’t seen the end of poaching and mine mafias. This is impacting the larger biodiversity as more of the ecosystem is destroyed, more forests reclaimed and forest areas merging with rural and rural with urban!

In the urban areas the challenges are very different. For one, globally the salaried middle class of the mid 1900s has given way to an entire burst of high salaried individuals and professionals. Changing lifestyles, exposure to varied cultures and globalisation have blurred geographic boundaries, distance no longer a roadblock for people with needs. Japanese Sushi in California, Kerala parotta in Oslo and Chinese products all over the globe mean millions of tons of products and produce criss-crossing the globe. And that translates to larger land areas being flattened out for container yards, ports, airports, warehouses, logistic centres and football sized supermarkets. On one side, while economists are showing these as signs of a bubbly economy that’s generating employment and consumer spend, they are overlooking the impact its having on our resources. More people can afford more automobiles, more gadgets and appliances, more travel and more consumption – with scant regard for its consequences, we are powering a mass euphoria in consumption! And how is that dangerous?

  • Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted.
  • Food losses and waste amounts to roughly US$ 680 billion in industrialised countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries.
  • Food wastage from restaurants and fast food outlets account for a third of food wasted, take-aways for a third. More than 30%S of take away foods is wasted, and is one of the largest culprits for disposable plastics!
  • When 135 million tons of food is wasted in America every year, 25% of all fresh water and huge amounts of energy and land are also being wasted.
  • Today, we buy double the number of gadgets we need, more than half the furniture we buy don’t last their full life, and luxuries like non-stick cookware, upholstery, replaced car parts and discarded clothes account for half the landfills, and is growing at about 24% year on year.

Put them all together – not simply to portray a dismal picture of the planet, but to show in how many ways we are making life on earth difficult for ourselves – the changes to lifestyle, reversal of habits, ending of traditions and make a blue shift in our ways of living are all required at the same time and really rapidly if we must slow this down. So, in a way of living where our actions are only imposing irreversible challenges on the planet, what promises would you want to make to the child you will have or already have? Do you have the confidence to promise the child a safe full-life span? Promise that you have done enough to stop and reverse global warming, so your child can live without the dangers of rising sea levels and toxic air? Can you promise your child that he or she will never have to worry about running out of drinking water? And bequeath a planet with a healthy water table, unpolluted land and peaceful living, without having to worry about dropping missiles, tanker lorries or famine and floods?

Why would you want to bring forth a like into a planet in this precarious situation? Simply because your parents and people like me and of my generation did so, so very oblivious to the stupid act of producing biological offspring? Simply because we have been told only our own children will love and care for us and we need someone to carry our legacy and family name forward? What legacy do you have to be proud of that you want your child to flaunt with her or his peers? What did you do for this planet that cannot be measured by currency and size, but by a million light years? Imagine this scenario. You are looking down into a faucet, and find the drain blocked and dirty water of the night before stuck there, bad odour repelling you. Would you add more garbage to the block, simply because you believe it will clear up on its own, or its someone else’s problem? Or will you want to take steps to stop the clog and try and clear it as much as you can?

Think it over – the days of living for your own selfish needs and greed are over. The planet is not what your forefathers lived in, there is no faint resemblance to those days. And the knowledge they had wasn’t enough for those changes to be done when they had to. Like it or not, the situation is bleak and not reversible. So the best you can do is not make it bad for yourself, and make it worse for those you are directly responsible for and accountable to. Go, find your passions. Adopt a baby. Adopt a puppy. A pig. Plant a few trees. Reduce plastic. Be reasonable. Be sensible. Don’t try to be a hopeless proud parent, but a positive earth citizen.

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An open letter to Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi

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modi-move-summit-ptiThe Hon’ble Prime Minister of India,
Sri Narendra Modi,
New Delhi

Dear Mr.Prime Minister,

In the NITI Aayog organised global mobility summit ‘MOVE’ you delivered your vision of future mobility in India and how clean mobility along with electric vehicles can be an effective tool to counter climate change. “Road transport accounts for one fifth of global Carbon dioxide emissions. This threatens to choke cities and raise global temperatures. Creating a mobility eco-system that is in sync with nature is the need of the hour. Mobility is the next frontier in our fight against Climate Change”, is what you said.

Surely, your panel of speech writers, economists, environmentalists and statisticians would have done their research and gone deep into various studies before putting these details down in your speech, so no doubting its accuracy or the truth in your statements. But what they haven’t told you, is the whole truth. While they did tell you about what accounted for one fifth of total carbon dioxide emissions, they haven’t told you what contributed to the remaining four fifths, and what other gases, apart from carbon dioxide, were responsible for global warming.

Around 2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases each year, mostly methane, are produced from livestock digestion and excretion. Another 1.5 billion tonnes of nitrous oxide come from producing feed for livestock. And an additional 1.5 billion tonnes comes from land use changes, such as clearing for animal pastures to feed the livestock. Given the huge thrust your government has given to the production and export of milk, meat, poultry, pork, seafood and leather, the collective contribution of potent gases that cause global warming is over three fifths of total gases. When you consider the fact that methane is considered to be 23 to 45 times more potent than carbon dioxide, you can imagine the effect livestock is having on our environment.

Let me give you an illustration: A cow releases about 100 kilos of methane a year, but since the negative effect on the climate of Methane is 23 times higher than the effect of CO2 – 100 kg Methane per year released by a cow is equivalent to about 2,300 kg – to deliver the same quantity of emissions, a car must cover 12,500 kilometers a year. Which means, your vision of reducing vehicle and delivering technology through out vehicles will only touch a fraction of the total emissions we produce.

Let me give you more details. India is supposed to have about 250 million vehicles, of which about 190 vehicles ply every day, which means vehicles emitting carbon dioxide are about 75% of all vehicles. Compared to this, according to the latest unvalidated census, India has about 525 million animals in livestock, 750 million lives in poultry (that produce about one sixth the gases compared to livestock, which is the equivalent of 125 cows) – that takes the total number of animals in India producing deadly gases to about 650 million – which is close to three times more than the vehicles in the country. So, any reduction in the number of vehicles, even if we brought it down to a zero, would have no impact on your efforts to reverse or address global warming.

Let me now provide some more interesting statistics: (most of this data is from various papers and reports released by your government, most of them titled “4 years of Modi”)

  1. During the year 2014-18 (surely you understand the relevance of these years), area under cultivation has increased by 358.33% as compared to year 2010-14. Which means we now have three times more area under cultivation in India – of which only 20% has come from land considered unfit for irrigation in severely drought hit areas. The remaining has come from use of forest land for agriculture.
  2. The Rashtriya Gokul Mission launched by you has disbursed over Rs.546 crores for development of indigenous breeds for dairy, directly contributing to a geometric increase of cows in livestock.
  3. Your government has initiated National Mission on Bovine Productivity scheme in 2016-17 for a period of 3 years with a financial allocation of Rs. 825 crore, aimed at faster genetic improvement of Bovines for Milk Production in the country by use of Advanced Breeding Techniques which means over the next three years we will see rapid breeding happen to increase cows in livestock – as per projections, increase livestock by 24%, adding another 200 million cows to the livestock, directly increasing methane emission by 25%
  4. Since your government devotes a lot of time and effort to protect cows, let me throw some light on them. Milk production India has increased to 180 million metric tonnes. And this didn’t happen naturally. Ten years ago, number of (recorded) artificial inseminations in India was about 36,205,000 – Today we are at more than double of that – which means we have double the cows in milk production, and have twice as more producing calves artificially, which then means methane emissions from dairy cows alone have doubled in the last 10 years. Compared to this, vehicles have only gone up 50% for the same period – which means while emissions from vehicles have increased by 50%, emissions from cows in dairy alone have increased by 300%
  5. Your ministries have issued an EOI for setting up 10 Semen stations to increase breeding of cows for the dairy industry, with targets of increasing cow pregnancy by 30% – directly adding 30% addition to methane gas emissions.
  6. Egg production during 2010-14 in India, was 273.96 billion which has increased to 342.98 billion in 2014-18. There is increase of 25.19% in egg production – which is then safe to assume that we are showing a 25% increase of hens in captivity, adding another 7.5% increase in methane emissions.
  7. Fish Production during 2010-14 was 355.16 lakh tonnes which increased to 447.55 lakh tonnes during 2014-18 – which is an increase of 26.01 percent. While fish do not emit deadly gases they contribute to emissions in two critical ways. The depleting oceans, with our plastic bottles rapidly replacing fish in the ocean are making sea levels rise, while hundreds of thousands of vehicles, on water and land, are responsible for vehicle emissions. If you intend reducing vehicle emissions, then you must reduce the number of vehicles deployed movement of animals, live and dead, dairy and egss – by making massive growth projections and delivering subsidies in animal husbandry, vehicles in this area will only increase. I am hoping your intentions to cut vehicles is not just the ones ordinary citizens like me use?
  8. With production of around 163.7 million MT (2016-17), India is the largest producer of milk globally, and India has the world’s largest population of livestock, producing around 7.4 million MT of Meat and around 88 bn eggs annually. India is also the largest producer of buffalo meat and 2nd largest producer of goat meat. All these translate to the undeniable fact that India is also the largest produce of methane gases from animals kept in captivity.
  9. India has the world’s largest population of livestock. India produces around 7.4 million MT of Meat and around 88 billon eggs annually. India is the largest producer of buffalo meat and 2nd largest producer of goat meat – all of these registering double figure growths, which means in simple terms, in 8 years from now we’d have doubled gas emissions only from our livestock.
  10. From 1.9% of total meat experts, India is now the single largest exporter, contributing to 20% of global meat sales – over 2 million tonnes is the purported figure for 2018. Aircrafts produce 6 times more emissions than road transport, so given the huge thrust to fisheries (water transport and ground support) and exports, we are likely to add another 150 million cows worth of emissions.
  11. On an average, an estimated 4,325 litres of water goes into the production of just one kilogramme of chicken meat. Which is about double of the water an average village in UP gets in a week! This compares to 322 litres for one kilogramme of vegetables, 962 litres for one kg of fruit and 1,644 litres for a kilogramme of cereals and grains, all of which we are consuming lesser compared to meat, dairy and eggs.
  12. India has the best vegetarian food in the world, the largest array of vegetables and grains. Pulses and soya are good alternative sources of protein, which require much less water. One gram of protein from chicken uses 34 litres of water for its production. The same gram of protein from pulses uses only 19 litres of water. Yet, no government thrust is given to increasing consumption of carrots, apples and bananas – but to chicken, eggs, dairy and meat – which is why India’s meat eating population has increased by 3 times in the last 12 years. 74% of our population above 15 years of age today eat meat, and vegetarians (once India’s pride) are now only 25% of our total population!
  13. Since my argument has been made more than adequately, I am not touching upon the other severely impacting sectors like leather, veal, dairy products and exotic meats like Shrimps, Emu and Camel, all of which are being given extraordinary subsidies, income tax holidays and all – with steep targets to improve production and exports.

All of these only go to show that just your government’s thrust and subsidies to animal-related industries will increase emissions from livestock to over 4 times in the next 5 years – as against a marginal increase of 25% from cars, and if we take into account the differences between methane and carbon dioxide, improving global warming potency by many times over. So, Sir, your vision of MOVE will be nothing but a scratch in the massive damage your other measures are causing. Given the context of this letter, I am staying away from the unimaginable cruelty happening to animals, especially cows that you and your party so dearly aim & claim to protect, in the name of husbandry, industry, development and wellbeing of the people who must vote for you!

Given these cursory data and a real picture of what is not being spoken about conveniently, I urge you to come out with a program that will show your intent to rapidly reduce emissions and gashouse effects that can hugely impact global warming.

Yours sincerely,

A concerned citizen of India, and inhabitant of this planet.

Anand Siva

Disclaimer

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