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Showing posts from May 6, 2017

Green roofs can help cities adapt to climate chan (downtoearth, )

What is the idea behind green roofs?

The concept is very simple. If there is a park, garden or vegetation on a rooftop, it is called a green roof. The aim is to keep buildings cool and curb carbon footprint. Buildings absorb a lot of heat, and growing vegetation on the roof can keep it cool. This, in turn, will reduce the use of air-conditioners. In London, the energy saved from green roofs is about 4.15 kilowatt hours per square metre, which is quite significant. This value could be much higher in a country like India, where temperatures across the year are probably more than in northern climes. Thus, there is greater cooling potential over the year. Green roofs are catching on in Indian cities like Delhi and Bengaluru. While many might adopt a green roof for beautification, it serves a larger purpose: sustainability. Another advantage of green roofs is surface water management, particularly during monsoon.

How did the concept evolve?

Green roofs became popular in Germany after Worl…

'India can learn from other regions on the need to adopt proactive drought management policies' ' (downtoearth,)

Do you consider drought a direct manifestation of climate change or is it entirely man-made?

The correct answer is that it’s neither this nor that. Drought is a normal phenomenon of climate. It’s a natural hazard inherent to the normal vagaries of every type of climate. However, the drought associated with different types of climate differs in terms of severity, duration, frequency of occurrence and spatial extent.

Climate change is expected to make drought worse. As for human actions per se, they do not cause drought, however, they can either increase or decrease the vulnerability to drought
Credit: Vikas Choudhary
Climate change is expected to make drought worse. As for human actions per se, they do not cause drought, however, they can either increase or decrease the vulnerability to drought Credit: Vikas Choudhary

Climate change is expected to make drought worse. As for human actions per se, they do not cause drought, however, they can either increase or decrease the vulnerability…

Illegal and ignominious world of wildlife trafficking (downtoearth,)

One of biggest wildlife seizures, which unfolded during raids in Delhi and Meerut in the last two days, has rekindled the often-discussed issue of wildlife trafficking.

At least 117kg of nilgai (blue bull) meat and over 100 illegally imported firearms have been seized by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), which conducted the raid in the house of a retired army colonel Devendra Kumar Bishnoi at Civil Lines in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.

Leopard skin, ivory, horns of swamp deer and sambar deer, antlers of antelopes and blackbucks, deer skulls and 50,000 live cartridges were also seized from the house. Police suspect Devendra's son Prashant Bishnoi, who is a national-level shooter, is involved in arms smuggling and wildlife crimes. Interestingly, Prashant was part of a team deployed by the Bihar government in 2016 to cull 500 nilgai.

Uttar Pradesh was recently in news when Mirzapur forest department caught three suspected poachers transporting rare wild cats. In Assam’s Kazir…

Swachh Survekshan 2017 encouraging unsustainable approaches for waste management: CSE (downtoearth, )

An analysis done by CSE on the results of the Swachh Survekshan, 2017 shows that the top 3 cities in the survey – Indore, Bhopal and Vishakhapatnam – have adopted environmentally unsustainable practices for waste management. The cities are focussing on collection of unsegregated waste and transporting it to landfills, with a very minimal quantum of waste being processed. All three cities are dumping unsegregated waste. These cities are, therefore, not meeting the statutory requirements of the Municipal Solid Waste Rules (MSW Rules), 2016.

The MSW Rules, 2016 clearly state that waste needs to be segregated into three categories at the household level – wet, dry and domestic hazardous waste. Further the Rules stipulate that waste to energy plants shall not burn mixed waste. The Rules also put disposal at landfills as the least preferred option.

What becomes clear is that the states that have pushed for a centralised approach towards waste management – Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra…

That illusion of retirement (.hindu )

Why the very idea of superannuation is not only outdated but also dangerous

Have you ever seen what happens to your elbow after it has been in a plaster cast for a while? The muscle becomes so weak it atrophies after not being in use for two weeks.

It’s the same with your brain. If you don’t use it, it will deteriorate quickly. Any many of those who retire at 60 or 65 are in the comfortable position that they don’t face a real challenge in life anymore like struggling how to earn a living or having to prove themselves in the workplace. But this comfort comes with a side effect, because research clearly shows that those who stop working at 65 and fully retire in the sense of not extensively engaging in alternative activities report a sharp decline in cognitive skills over the next years, whereas those in the same age group who continue to work or pursue other challenging tasks do not show these symptoms. And this affects a large part of life because nowadays we are not talking about a…

A non-state view of Kerala (.hindu)

Why very few of the first EMS government’s initiatives have had a lasting impact

The Government of Kerala has just concluded an official celebration of the 60th anniversary of the State’s Legislative Assembly. In the capital there were photo exhibitions, speeches and a closing ceremony with the Governor presiding. It could not have escaped the citizen’s attention that at least some part of the present government’s enthusiasm was fuelled by the fact that the State’s first ministry was formed by their own united Communist Party of India which was to split into pro-Soviet and pro-Mao factions only later. The focus of the celebration was on that moment in history.

The EMS ministry

Partisanship aside, it is difficult for the citizen to not be inspired by the early days in Kerala. Much is made of the arguable assertion that it was the first instance of a communist government being voted to power. For Indian democracy, what is of far greater significance though is the sheer capability of it…