Preserving Forests and Water

The recent cyclone in Chennai, Vardha last December, uprooted 100 year old trees and turned green Chennai to a sad brown town. Unless each of us makes an effort to replace these portable oxygen factories, Chennai and its environment will suffer a shortage of rain and shade.

Forests cover 1/3 of the earth’s surface. They sustain 1.6 billion people as a source of livelihood. More than 80% of all creatures, animals, plants and insects live in these forests. Yet 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed every year and account for 20% of the global green house gas emissions.

The World Bank’s starting point now is to ask how can practices that have often led to significant forest degradation, tax evasion and corruption, be reformed, so that forests contribute more revenue to the State, produce more and better jobs, and result in more sustainable development?

 

Forests are critical for the planet’s supply of water through rain. Their roots protect ground water supply while preventing soil erosion. Forest watersheds and wetlands supply 75% of the world’s fresh water supplying, one third of our cities drinking water. Forests act as natural water filters.

Manoel Sobral Filho, Director of the UN Forum for Forests, speaks of massive growth of populations in Africa and Asia reaching 8.4billion people in 15 years. Some of the world’s largest cities depend on our forest water resources: Durban, Jakarta, Rio De Janeiro, Bogota, New York and Madrid. 75% of all fresh water is provided through forest catchments.  Over 42% of the world’s workforces are heavily water dependent. Forests are a natural safety net during famine providing fruits, leaves, grains, nuts, timber and wood.

After the devastating floods on the Yangtze river in China, reforestation using economically productive trees like chestnut, ginko and bamboo, helped boost average annual income by 150% between 1998 and 2014. In Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley, forest co-operatives were used to encourage natural regeneration by limiting wood, charcoal and fodder extraction. This improved water availability for 65000 people. Physical and financial security of communities can be greatly enhanced by growing more trees and regenerating forests. In Liberia, timber was once used to buy weapons and fuel. Today forest co-operatives have changed everything.

So every year, plan to plant one tree a month in a protected area in your house, in a school or a community centre. Take your own steps to preserve water and planet earth.

 

 

Dr. Rekha Shetty

Water Warrior

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Asha and Kiran are the Rotary India Literacy Mission mascots

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join those who have sent 45000 children back to school under the Asha Kiran Programme. There is no time to lose. Even as we speak children 8 years old and less are being beaten, abused, assaulted and forced to work. send them back to school.

www.rotaryteach.org

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The Blank Slate

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The year ahead is a blank slate. A white page. The events to come are offstage, waiting in the wings. You have an opportunity to reengineer, to reinvent, to restructure your life. So let’s start the makeover, the new you.

Remember your dreams, your aspirations, things you have always wanted to try, to learn. Listen carefully to yourself. Talk to a friend. Take notes. Look at the four quadrants of your life – family, work, social and personal.

Start with ‘personal’: Before you are a parent, a team member, an elder, you are a person. Usually, people give their own needs the lowest priority. Here are a few suggestions:

Personal goals

Improving health, eating healthy, exercising daily by going for a walk for atleast 45 minutes. Practicing yoga, meditation. Make friends with a young doctor. Find a new hobby or go back to an old one.

Family

Spending more time with family, doing more fun things together, having meals together at least once a day without the distraction of TV, cell phones or newspapers. When you can talk and listen to members of the family, even the small children.

Work

Expanding your sphere of influence, attending training programmes. Reading and trying to improve your wealth of knowledge, or learning by being attentive to other people.

Social

Keeping in touch with the extended family, Meeting old friends. Becoming involved in an NGO or neighbourhood organization to help others, while you spend your spare time usefully. Be decisive do not postpone taking decisions.

During the coming year, identity your new work life balance. Approach it like a menu. See what you want to add and what you want to remove

Study your life for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Pay attention to what is happening to the environment around you. Perhaps a new opportunity awaits in the wings. Be prepared to grab it as walks past!

Many may tell you money is not important. I disagree. You need to fuel your goals with the liquid stuff. What are the new skills you need to operate in the changed environment? Get the training required. Get organized. Get networked. You will need a lot of help to make things happen. Make a plan. Find a way to measure progress and readjust as you go along to reach the goals you have identified. Get set for the New Year!

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Excellence Through Innovation

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19. UAE Dazzles

We can do anything with water except live without it. Imagine, the cities of the UAE, meet all their drinking water needs from desalinated water! Waste water is treated and reused for greenery. There are several sea water desalination plants in the UAE. In the model green city, Masdar, four smaller pilot desalination plants will use solar power! Using an old technology, ocean desalination, a plant in UAE, at Jebel Ali can produce 564 million gallons of water a day from the sea!
Everyone pays for water by public meter, so they are more careful with its use. Water saving toilets and showerheads are mandatory. Over use of water is indicated on the bills in red. It is time we thought about the use of water more carefully, when it is still available. Treating water becomes more and more expensive as we deplete our supplies.
In spite of their water issues, UAE is generously involved in efforts to provide foreign water aid, which include basic water supplies projects, digging wells, developing rivers basins, general hygiene, large scale water supply systems, large scale general hygiene systems and conservation of water resources in more than 61 countries, at a cost exceeding AED 1 billion. Top recipient countries of water projects includes: Afghanistan, Pakistan the only two Polio affected countries where impure water is key source of infection, Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan. In addition, UAE supports water projects in West African countries, such as Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Burundi.
Water projects have contributed in improving the enrolment rates of the school students, and for girls and women joining rates to adult literacy classes. In rural areas around the world, children, especially girls and women, are engaging in a daily journey searching for water, and spending long hours that force them to miss opportunities of education and improving their livelihoods. Funded water projects helped in improving the personal hygiene, which reduced infections of hygiene related diseases. In addition, the availability of water resources saved some time for women to take care of their children and families, which led to improved maternal and child health. It also provides more time for the family to engage in income- generating activities. Also water availability helped in reducing the struggle over water. This helped in reducing conflicts, providing security and peace. For example, Merowe Dam in Sudan, which UAE has helped fund in providing energy of 1250 MW and irrigating 300,000 hectares of cultivated land.
Unless we are careful, we will soon join the 1.2 billion people who live in places where it is tough to get water. It is estimated that climate change is moving more parts of the world into desertification. The world population is expected to cross 9 billion by 2050! Unless we start working on saving water, even on an individual level, most of them will be thirsty. Start rain harvesting today! Start conserving water!
Rotary in the sub continent, under the leadership of RI Director Manoj Desai will hold their annual Institute in Dubai in December 2016. www.dubairotaryinstitute2016.org
Regards,
Dr. Rekha Shetty

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Happy Street

Dear Friends,

I am happy to inform you that my new book, “Happy Street” published by Penguin Books, is just released. Here is the cover page of my book

You can create a Happy Street!

The Happy Street’ by the bestselling author and innovation guru Dr. Rekha Shetty, is about how each one of us has a chance to adopt a street and make it a happy street.

The principles of building a happy community are woven around a simple love story of how Rohan, a conservative young man from Chennai, meets fiery Bengali girl, Ammu, and how they both work together to create a happy street. Through a series of letters from Rags, a wise hi-tech coach, with a spiritual bent of mind points the way. Happy Street shows you how to create a community full of well-being and joy. The four pillars of the Happy Street are (1) Environmental Sustainability, (2) Cultural Vitality (3) Economic Development and (4)Good Governance.

Use this book to create your own happy street!

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Strengthening Corporate India’s Innovation Eco-System



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Everyday Happiness Mantras at Cochin

Dear Innovators,
I am happy to invite you to the ‘Corporate Happiness Evening’ on Friday, 15th May 2015 at Kerala Management Association, Management House, Panampilly Nagar, Cochin at 6.30pm. My ninth book, ‘Everyday Happiness Mantras’, will be released at the program.
Please come with your family and friends. I am enclosing the invitation.

Looking forward to meeting you at the book launch!
Dr. Rekha Shetty

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Everyday Happiness Mantras -Mumbai

Dear Friends,
I am happy to invite you to the book launch of “Everyday Happiness Mantras” tomorrow(6th May 2015) at Bombay Management Association at Somaiya centre for lifelong learning, 2nd Floor, Somaiya Bhavan fort. 45-47, Kitab Khana , Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort, Flora Fountain, Mumbai – 1 at 4.30pm

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Everyday Happiness Mantras

Today’s update – 52 Happiness Mantras

52 Happiness Mantras

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