The World Environment Day and Ocean day may have passed by on June 5 and June 8 respectively, but the rising environmental concerns haven’t gone away. Animals had started taking advantage of the urban cities as they entered lockdown during Covid-19. Activists are worried about these evolving natural habitats and the subsequent changing dynamics of flora and fauna globally. Are there short-term benefits from an environmental rebound in 2020 or will it last longer than the pandemic and seep in the post-corona world?
Crux of the Matter
On Land: Protests Against Projects That Can Kill Lungs Of Goa Goa-based activists are raising their voices over virtual clearances given to two projects passing through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa. A letter has been sent to the Union Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change by a group of 149 scientists and conservationists on June 4 who are against cutting down 50,000 trees and diversion of 216 hectares of forest.
In The Forest: Climate Change Leading To Younger And Shorter Trees Trouble is brewing up for the forest equilibrium as findings by PNNL (U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) suggest that climate change magnifies conditions like insect and pathogen outbreaks that compromise tree health and development. In fact, annual “carbon storage lost to insects” equals “the amount of carbon emitted by 5 million vehicles”. Additionally, when old-growth forests are shifted to non-forest lands, the trees on re-established harvested land are smaller with reduced biomass.
Additionally, a new study by Science Advances states that with vanishing forests, endangered animals like tigers are bound to vanish, with 24,000 km of new roads proposed to be built in tiger conservation landscapes in Asia by 2050. The analysis covered nearly 1.16 million sq. km range across Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
In Oceans: British Columbia’s Fading Fish Habitat According to the Forest Practices Board, sediment from logging roads is negatively impacting fish habitat after doing inspections at 5 watershed sites. Effective sediment management is needed to be enforced, else upstreamfish movement can be hampered permanently. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans verified this activity by explaining how elevated sediment in streams can decrease the abundance of plant life, which impacts the fish that feed on those very plants.
Pandemic’s Impact : Unmasking Plastic Pollution Via Clinical Debris For the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the major tool of precaution for social distancing and hospital work has been the extensive use of surgical face masks. It is practical to not consider their environmental impacts in the midst of the pandemic, but experts are worried that the ill-effects can prolong the virus.
During a recent survey trip, Hong Kong-based environmental NGO OceansAsia found heaps of discarded single-use masks washed up on a 100-metre stretch of beach. The surgical mask disposal along with empty hand sanitizer bottles and soiled tissue papers is leading to a massive trail of clinical waste in the environment.
Silver Lining – Wildlife Basking In The Urban Sun
Fauna comes from the name Fauna, a Roman goddess of earth and fertility, the Roman god Faunus, and the related forest spirits called Fauns. The term was first used by Carl Linnaeus from Sweden in the title of his 1745 work Fauna Suecica.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is an American animal rights organization based in Norfolk, Virginia, and led by Ingrid Newkirk, its international president. A nonprofit corporation with nearly 400 employees, it claims that it has 6.5 million members and supporters, in addition to claiming that it is the “largest animal rights group in the world.” Its slogan is “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.”
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1961 that works in the field of wilderness preservation and the reduction of human impact on the environment. WWF is the world’s largest conservation organization with over five million supporters worldwide and supporting around 3,000 conservation and environmental projects. WWF has received criticism for its alleged corporate ties. It has also been accused of supporting paramilitary groups tasked with stopping poaching who are responsible for numerous human rights abuses.