Race to Doomsday, Part 1…(From the eco diary)


A cloudburst in the horizon, a rainbow arcs in splendor, half hidden, half radiant, never complete. The grey smog lifts itself over the concrete to become one with the wisps above. They then scurry towards one another, they are joint in the chaos; there is disorder in movement, yet order in execution. The sky is now blanketed and we look up to the heavens for the rain to fall. Fall they do. I think of the song I had learnt in school strangely at this time. It goes like this ” I love the pit pit patter of the raindrops, I love the buzz, buzz, buzzing of the bees”. I hum this song as I watch the order of chaos merge together in unison as far as the eye can see. Where anticipation eventually decides to play truant as the first drops fall on me. The raindrops look like pure water to the naked eye, the scientific world calls it acid rain.

Acid rain describes any form of precipitation with high levels of nitric and sulfuric acids. It can also occur in the form of snow, fog, and tiny bits of dry material that settle to Earth.

Rotting vegetation and erupting volcanoes release some chemicals that can cause acid rain, but most acid rain falls because of human activities. The biggest culprit is the burning of fossil fuels by coal-burning power plants, factories, and automobiles.

When humans burn fossil fuels, sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are released into the atmosphere. These chemical gases react with water, oxygen, and other substances to form mild solutions of sulfuric and nitric acid. Winds may spread these acidic solutions across the atmosphere and over hundreds of miles. When acid rain reaches Earth, it flows across the surface in runoff water, enters water systems, and sinks into the soil.

Acid rain has many ecological effects, but none is greater than its impact on lakes, streams, wetlands, and other aquatic environments. Acid rain makes waters acidic and causes them to absorb the aluminum that makes its way from soil into lakes and streams. This combination makes waters toxic to crayfish, clams, fish, and other aquatic animals.

Some species can tolerate acidic waters better than others. However, in an interconnected ecosystem, what impacts some species eventually impacts many more throughout the food chain—including non-aquatic species such as birds.

Acid rain also damages forests, especially those at higher elevations. It robs the soil of essential nutrients and releases aluminum in the soil, which makes it hard for trees to take up water. Trees’ leaves and needles are also harmed by acids.

The effects of acid rain, combined with other environmental stressors, leave trees and plants less able to withstand cold temperatures, insects, and disease. The pollutants may also inhibit trees’ ability to reproduce. Some soils are better able to neutralize acids than others. In areas where the soil’s “buffering capacity” is low, the harmful effects of acid rain are much greater.

The only way to fight acid rain is by curbing the release of the pollutants that cause it. This means burning fewer fossil fuels. Many governments have tried to curb emissions by cleaning up industry smokestacks and promoting alternative fuel sources. These efforts have met with mixed results. But even if acid rain could be stopped today, it would still take many years for its harmful effects to disappear.

Individuals can also help prevent acid rain by conserving energy. The less electricity people use in their homes, the fewer chemicals power plants will emit. Vehicles are also major fossil fuel users, so drivers can reduce emissions by using public transportation, carpooling, biking, or simply walking wherever possible. (* Nat Geo )

We race towards Doomsday at a break neck speed. If changes are not made today, we will have nothing to bequeath.


14 Responses to “Race to Doomsday, Part 1…(From the eco diary)”

  1. Hmm. A very topical and thought provoking post, Sharmila. It would be better if we learn our lessons soon rather than wait for providence to teach us.

    • Melwyn – I think we should all act now. I walk a lot, I seldom take the car. I plant trees. I think we should not wait for providence as you rightly point out.

  2. MonaLisa Says:

    Chances are very dim. No one would like to come out of the comfort zone.
    pic. of tomorrow will be more scary it seems.

    • Monlisa – I think it is unfair to just let decay accelarate without thinking of the next generation. We must each do our bit. I agree it comes at the cost of pushing ourselves out of our respective comfort zones, but there is no two ways about it.

      • MonaLisa Says:

        I do not promote The Decay, nor do I not support The Decay as well.
        However we all can do very little about it unless we rewind our lives to primitive age.
        In USA the structure is such that in our day to day lives depend on Too many Must haves. Our public transportation system and structure is not as vast as one in India. that makes ‘A Car’ in must have list. Car pooling is not very preferred and possible either for various valid reasons.
        Bicycles would be out of Q to reach to the work place probably 15 – 20 miles away at the least. I can give you so more such examples that though we want to, we can’t make drastic changes in our life styles now.
        If you remember AB (Amitabh Bachchan) & family support ‘Go Green’movement. He has somehow a knack to be an Ambassador for such and so many things. He wrote and advised all regarding these on his blog too. So someone in media pointed out that he uses SUV- Land Rover, a gas guzzler etc etc. Being an Ambassador or promoter ppl expect certain kind of understanding and behaviour. Instead he showed his attitude arrogantly and blamed media,industrialists and God knows who else…
        In India car consumption is getting higher and higher every yr. It is a country where Car is not Must for Commute as other modes of transportation are widely and easily available and distances are shorter comparatively. still no one is ready to buy more and now Nano is there…
        Plastic and Chemicals play a big role in our day to day lives too. who is ready to use ‘mud’ to bathe instead of liquid soap or ‘ashes’ instead of dish washing soap..!? Our lives are totally dependent on technologies and that emit gases and hazmats…
        Who can stop that..!?
        Are we ready to give up flying and close down all the Airlines in the world..!? stop invading seas and mountains, stop using papers,stop atomic reactors, stop making nukes etc etc… one can go on & on….
        I am not against anyone who is trying to reduce it, i was just pointing out being realistic…
        Only God knows what will happen to the generations to come. Those who can’t keep & count their present right, future is doomed for sure…

      • MonaLisa – All valid points. But, we must begin somewhere, car pooling is a great option. Bio degradable producst must be used, from detergents to shopping bags to household cleaning liquids. I use Body shop & herbal products daily, I walk a lot,cycle a lot more. I use golf buggies ( battery operated ones instead of cars most times ) and there is public transport to access the main land. Small steps make a difference and it requires participation by all. It is extremely difficult, but I live in the hope that one day everybody realizes so before it is too late.

  3. Excellent post; Sadly we will be mankind will fight amongst us as to who would do first. Phela AaAP! syndrome…. It will be late I guess.

  4. aicd rains really bad, and i think we world begin finish, how can we save or why still sleep people about that…

  5. I wonder whether the present generation would be ready to sacrifice their lavish lifestyles for preserving nature.I think thats where the concept of sustainable development comes in.A development that does take place,but without compromising the future needs.

  6. Dr.R.C. YashRoy Says:

    Instal gobar gas plants and solar power generators in all small towns and villages. Use neem products for farm protection instead of chemicals. Make car pools compulsory in metros by legislation.Subsidize electric hybrid cars. Convert garbage into useful manure. Inculcate disciplline for a clean environment. Lage raho at it!

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