20. Dog Days

This year is proving to be the hottest summer on earth so far. In India, 2500 people died because of heat waves and dehydration.  Of course all of us know that this is the effect of global warming.  Global climate change threatens the quantity and quality of water. Water is essential for health, agriculture, energy production, navigation, recreation and manufacturing. The water cycle is a delicate balance between precipitation and evaporation. Warmer temperatures increase evaporation. Higher temperature is due to global warming, increased demand for usable water while shrinking supplies. But what can we do about it?

Research was conducted in the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai on a day when temperatures were soaring to 43 Degrees Celsius; readings were taken under a large, spreading, banyan tree. The temperature was 6 Degree less at 37 Degrees Celsius! The relationship between water and trees requires that we plant, grow and water more trees to reduce the heat. Forest rangers are being posted to grow forests in dry areas. But each of us has a duty to plant trees in protected areas. Rain water harvesting and replenishing the water that we draw for our personal use is critical today as we watch, horrified the water as our water resources dry up.

I just returned today from an annual 3 day religious ceremony in my village, Bajaal, which is just outside Mangalore. There is a place devoted to Naga, the king of snakes. The king cobra is believed to drink from a nearby small pond, so the pond is always clean. This may have been the way our ancestors kept ponds and lakes clean. This year, for the very first time, it is dried up and we could see the bottom, with water all dried up, full of green grass and plants. Even the mighty Ganges is dried up in spots.

The rule for humans as far as earth is concerned is, give back as much as you take. The Paris Accord which was recently signed by the world’s worst polluting 55 countries is a step in the right direction to reduce global warming. The world’s hottest city at 52.2 Degree Celsius is Ahwaz city which lies on the edge of a desert near Kuwait. America’s hottest temperature in Death Valley is 46.5 Degrees Celsius.

Water cools the earth and keeps it alive and growing. Water is the elixir of life, let us protect it!



This applies to air and water especially.