Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How about saving ourselves

These days people say that Gloabal warming is a hoax. It is what the West created to stall development in the East. My friends argue with me about the accuracies of what scientists say about carbon emissions, and why we need not worry about it, cause the sun is heating up in any case, and we cannot stop it. So might as well enjoy ourselves, while it all lasts, but my question is what are we leaving behind for our future generations?

Yes, it is true that the sun is heating up, and that Rajendra Pachauri's data points were not entirely correct. His report led to a lot of debate on global warming, and a lot of so-called non-profits also cashed in on this opportunity.

It is true that such extinctions have happened before, and this may probably be one of them. The planet has its own way of repairing the damage done to it
We may not be able to save the planet, but we are not helping either. Human activity is taking away the very coping methods that the earth needs to repair itself.

Our carbon emissions may not be the cause for global warming, but then the rainforests which the earth uses to repair itself, which took millions of years to create, are being cut in a single blow

It is true that De-forestation, over-fishing, over-poaching, even killing of animals does not lead to global warming, what it does is destroys the animals and trees which depend upon each other to sustain the ecosystem

People in Africa, eat anything and everything because they need to survive. Problem arises when man goes overboard in trying to earn profits, without looking at the result of his actions.

Eating tigers in China may be justifiable according to many of us, but what this does to the forests in India is irreperable.

Closer home, it may be okay to cut down huge amounts of rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia to make way for palm plantations, but then I guess Singapore's zoo will be the only place left where we ever get to see orang utans anymore.
It may be okay to eat whales and dolphins, but over-fishing has only lead to imbalance in the oceans destroying the coral reefs, which are the rainforests of the ocean

Of course, the world will not end purely, because we go on destroying what took the earth millions of years to create. What it will do is only make survival of mankind difficult. We cannot save the planet, we need to save ourselves

Here's the latest UN report

Friday, April 23, 2010

My identity

Here's something I scribbled recently
In his book "Identity and Violence" Amartya Sen says that identity is the root cause of conflict. Human being group themselves into different groups, as per their comfort. For eg. we become a part of a certain school/college/institution or a certain society youth group or as a fan of Liverpool or Manchester United. We start associating ourselves not just with religions or professions or nationalities or food habits, but also dressing styles, behavioural styles, and maybe even zodiac signs.
These choices also constitute our identity.

Every individual wants to set himself apart from the others, wants to be unique and starts associating with groups that he identifies with.

The problem arises when people start staunchly following their beliefs. That is when they see themselves as Levi's and not as Wrangler, and then everything about Wrangler seems wrong. Sometimes Wrangler may sound so wrong, that Levi's goes all out to prove a point against him, and in extreme cases it may lead to violence.

Wrangler may not have been right or wrong, but the fact that he choses to be wrangler and separate himself from Levi's is irritating to Levi's. Levi's forgets that he is a son, a brother, a Hindu, an Indian, an IT professional, a cricket fan and in that instance choses only to be Levi's

According to Amartya Sen extremity of associations leads to violence, eg. Nazism, communism, religious fervour and racial influence.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Taman Negara - a 130 million year old rainforest

OK! Let me note down every tiny detail of this memorable trip to the second-oldest rainforest in the world.
Here's the budget way to go about it:
Taman Negara can be reached either by bus or train. A number of coaches leaving KL every morning for Jerantut / Tembeling jetty. I took the Ping Anchorage bus leaving from the lower lobby of Crowne Plaza Mutiara Hotel in KL. Landed up at the hotel 8:45 in the morning, paid 70 ringgits for a one-way ticket to Tembeling jetty, and boarded the bus left at 9:00 a.m. sharp. A three-hour drive brings you to Tembeling jetty, where you buy your national park permits and camera licences and book a seat on the boat to Taman Negara for 35 ringgits. The wooden boat leaves the jetty at 2:00 p.m. and arrives at Kuala Tahan after 3 hours around 5 p.m.
I was picked up by Travellers Home, where I had a booked a package for 3D/2N. A neat and clean chalet, comes with delicious home-made meals and excellent service by staff who leave no stone unturned in making u feel at home.
Our guide Abdullah who was booked by Travellers Home was an expert in the ways of the forest. He took us on a night walk in the jungle and pointed out to grasshoppers, spiders and scorpions that were so neatly camouflaged by the environ that we would have never spotted without him. The next morning he took us on a trek in the forest which eventually led to a canopy walkway through tree-tops. Abdullah enlightened us with eye-opening facts about the parasitic wines and epiphydes surviving on the trees in the rainforest. Walking with Abdullah in the rainforest, exploring the lives of trees goes into the list of my most amazing experiences. Later in the evening, he took us rapids shooting in the river and brought us to an orang asli native tribe settlement, where he demonstrated how the orang asli hunt with blowpipes that they carve out of rottan cane. The orang asli are nomadic tribes that live in huts made of palm leaves. They have absolutely no possessions and leave the settlement when supplies run out or when there is a death in the tribe. Entire families often live in one hut and extended families make up a tribe. The orang asli refuse to send their children to school, settle down in one settlement or become a part of the mainstream.
We left the next morning by the 9:00 a.m. boat that took us to the bus leaving for KL at 12 p.m., arriving at the Crowne Plaza, KL at 3 p.m.
A hectic journey over two days for a couple of nights stay in the rainforest did not do justice to the place, but left us wanting for more. It was amongst the most enchanting, invigorating and educative experiences. Cant wait to go back.




Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nations & Borders

Two news items on the same day.
1. Sarkozy and Merkel came together today to pay homage to World War I heroes.
France and Germany who were on opp sides in the War, now come together, and are a vital chunk of the EU.
A couple of days back Germany celebrated 20 years of the breaking of the Berlin War.

2. Indonesia accuses Malaysia of stealing its language, its culture, its food, and turning them into more successful commercial interests. The irony is that they were all one nation and part of the Khmer empire for 6 centuries.

On one hand, the world celebrates the removal of borders, while on the other another lot talks about creating new borders, where none existed.

Closer to home,Kashmir wants to be independent, Vidarbha wants to separate itself from Mahrashtra, Belgaum wants to be free of both Karnataka and Maharashtra. Karnataka and Kerala dispute over Kasargod.
Orissa has disputed bordes with all its neighbours, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Andhra.
Himachal and Uttarakhand are locked over Dehradun, Ironically these are the states I go to, to find my peace.

While Singapore to begin with never wanted to be a separate nation. It strove to be a part of a bigger nation Malaysia, which rejected its appeal. (You may say look how successful Singapore is today, but being a small country has limited defence).

I can think of very few exceptional examples where nations/races have tried to come together.

Are humans separatists by nature? In the struggle to have our own identity, do we forget the shelter that could be achieved by being under one umbrella? Are we just territorial like other animals?