Sathya Sai Baba – The lover of humanity

Sathya Sai Baba is no more now! But, he is still alive in the hearts of his devotees. Hardly anyone on the earth in the modern time could occupy as much space in the hearts of humanity as Sai Baba did. He found in all human beings his own reflection. And, so did his devotees reciprocate. This love between him and the devotees remained unparalled, which was amply demonstrated both during his life and the ‘life’ after his death.

During his funeral at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh of India on April 27, 2011, representatives of all major religions of the world conducted prayers at the funeral site of Prashantinilayam, Puttaparthi. The head of state, government and the common mass of the population from many parts of the world were also present.

Hundreds of thousands of devotees had started thronging at Puttaparthi even before Baba’s death, at the age of 86 on April 24. Most of them were emotional during the funeral ceremony. They felt that someone nearest to them had passed away. Amidst this gloomy scene, and perhaps in all the places on the earth where Baba was worshipped, there was one ray of hope, as well. Most devotees had a feeling that Baba left them temporarily, and he would return again. His new incarnation would be in the form of Perm Sai to be born a year after, in India.

Baba loved all who had an opportunity to visit him – be it poor or the rich, women or men, nationals or foreigners, head of the state or the commoner, children or the old, or so to say people belonging to any faith of the world. Therefore, Satya Sai Centre has been working in 167 countries of the world. As many as 30 million people of the world are Baba’s practicing devotees.

Besides being a spiritual Guru, Baba was also a philanthropist. He performed many social activities for the welfare of humanity. He helped people in his area to solve their drinking water problem. He set up medical colleges for free treatment of the poor. For providing education to the needy children, he established many schools in India and abroad. In the field of higher education, he established Satya Sai University. All the institutions and services provided by Baba were of world class standard. The Satya Sai Trust that is responsible for running such social activities is perhaps the world’s largest trust run on an individual basis, which is worth Indian rupees 40,000 crores.Through Satya Sai Baba’s philanthropic activities, many people benefited directly.

Sathya Sai Baba is also widely known for his miracles. It was at the tender age of 13 that he started demonstrating his supernatural powers. At a young age, he had many followers both in India and abroad. Many of his followers believe that the miracles were possible because he possessed supernatural power of God and, therefore, he was called ‘Bhagwan’ (God in the Hindi language)

Through his magical power, Satya Sai Baba could create Vibhuti. He could keep on pouring Vibhuti from a packet on the idol of God till he did not remove his hand. He could create Vibhuti at the devotees’ places far and wide in various parts of the world. It is largely believed by the followers of Sai Baba that the Vibhuti healed many diseases. Baba’s followers believe that he used his power of miracles as a tool to spiritualize the society. and make the world peaceful almost in the same way as Rama used his bow and arrow, and Krishna used his flute to attract the world.

However, Sathya Sai Baba’s life was not without controversies. Certain sections of the people believed that Baba was more a magician than a Godly person.

The controversies created about Baba, however, did not deter people’s faith in him. In fact, the way he was able to engage himself in spiritual and social service was exemplary. He wanted all those who believed in castes, creeds and religious dogmas to remain away from him, as such feelings divided the society and created negative energy.

It was back during the early 1970s that I had an occasion to go through a book written about Sathya Sai Baba in English. However, I did not have an opportunity to meet him in person. Nor did I have an occasion to become his devotee. Yet, I am one who owes Baba so much for his selfless service for humanity. In fact, he was able to translate the thoughts of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, the philosopher, who accorded highest priority to spiritualizing the society. True to Radhakrishnan’s expectations, Baba revolutionized the society through spiritual awakening.

The more a society is spiritualized, the more it becomes non-violent and peaceful. It was out of compassion that Sathya Sai Baba sowed the seed of spiritualism in the society. The negative forces based on violence will be subdued once the positive energy through spiritualism grows. As per the ethos of the Gita “dharm sansthapayanarthaya, shambhami yuge yuge,” Baba appeared in this world as light for the re-establishment of dharma i.e. the positive energy. It is likely that Baba would further help spiritualize the world and he would emerge stronger in future as he lives in the hearts of millions of human force all over the world.

Jha is an economist and writer

Not appreciated

The first 100 days of any government is taken up as a litmus test of its work-orientation and efficiency. Not all formatted plans and programmes can be implemented within the short duration, but it shows the inclination, tendency and sincerity in people-oriented works. The people at the moment are bewildered that a politician, who harped consensus all throughout and even helped the 16 rounds of prime ministerial election turn futile, is the Prime Minister who has not been able even to give full shape to his cabinet. Apart from this, nothing is working on any front for him. Going ad hoc is not the way to preen out the anomalies in politics or the economy. But, that is exactly what is happening to the dismay of every citizen. The country has 
not seen any direction despite having elected the chief executive almost three months back. The groundwork should have been prepared to set the country right on course, mostly to do with the peace process and drafting the constitution. But, no headway has been made in any area, whether it be to get all the political parties to sort out the contentious issues of the statute-draft to meet the May 28 deadline, a mere 29 days away. 

If the lackadaisical ways continue, the people’s frustrations will know no bound. PM Jhala Nath Khanal must be aware of the responsibility that he has to discharge, but he seems to be lost in making pledges only to miss them in action. He is found only to be squandering his time at the helm of affairs. In recent days, DPM and Finance Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikary has also been in the limelight for doing things his own way,

and in that he is alleged to be bypassing the bureaucrats concerned. The resignation of Rameshwore Khanal heated up the environment, and the event obviously pointed to FM Adhikary. In fact, the bureaucrats are there to help the ministers in making decisions or charting action plans. What is happening at present is that the bureaucrats are being kept in the dark, and important decisions are being taken by the FM himself. There have been allegations that he had prepared the budget draft without consulting

the bureaucrats in the ministry. This may be just the tip of the iceberg, more may be unearthed on scrutiny. But, not taking the bureaucrats into confidence is a breach of trust which the minister concerned

cannot escape the blame for. It is the bureaucrats who have the duty to offer their advices to the ministers and also prepare the field for the implementation of the decisions.

Another facet is the abrupt decision to transfer or promote officials, which runs at the whim of the minister in charge. The all round inept handling of the state affairs is taking its toll, particularly on the economy and law and order. If the ministers resort to side-stepping the rules of the game, and act out of personal interest, they cannot be serving the people who matter the most. It is high time that a sense of accountability and transparency was injected in the administrators, as it is their adherence to the rules and regulations that will create trust and confidence in the people. This obviously calls for the ministers not to hatch behind-the-curtain plots.

Here to stay

The protracted power outages that the people have to cope with could have been avoided had the political leaders and development planners exercised foresight. It was clear from the onset that the demand for electricity would grow phenomenally over a period of time. Now, we have to pay the price for this negligence. The leaders were concerned mostly in ameliorating their lot and least concerned about the plight of the people. Clearly, what the country needed was the exploitation of the hydro-potential which the country happens to have in abundance. Government after government have been saying that they would do something to ultimately do way with the annoying load shedding, but they were merely paying lip service. Foreign and domestic investors should have been encouraged to make investments in the hydro-power sector.

Now, the Minister of State for Energy claims that power outages would end in four years. This is difficult to fathom because as of yet nothing concrete is being done to solve the ordeal of power outages that the consumers have to put up with.

Right-match trait

What do women look for in their quest to find the perfect match? One theory talks of how each woman has a set for messages programmed in her brain that describe her likes and dislikes. This programme includes her preferences in searching for a suitable mate. Details like body structure, complexion, voice, personality, financial security and family background are pre-programmed in her mind, and she falls for anybody who comes closest to her wish list.

The other theory talks of attraction of opposites. Gopika, a banker says “I got many proposals from prospective grooms, mostly professionals. But I was not interested because I needed someone who was different. When I met Mr. A, I knew that he was the guy for me. I fell headlong in love but deep down in my heart I worried that this relationship would not last. So, in spite of the fact I was truly in love with him, I gave up my relationship. My parents too would never have agreed to it. I am still looking.” 

The myth that generation next has broken is that love happens only once in a lifetime. Today’s generation harbours not guilt about getting involved with a string of persons before getting married to the right one. The point girls make is that this is not the age when they have to marry the first person they get involved with. Most importantly they want to be very sure of their partner before making their relationship legal or permanent.

From an evolutionary standpoint, women and men exist to procreate. For woman, an important reproductive strategy is being able to choose the right mate. According to this theory, women need a strong, dominating male to mate with and ensure strong offsprings. “Men do not attract women by chance. Rather, women act on cues to certain desirable characteristics. This is not because of what society tells the women, but because of what evolution tells them.”

Women find certain traits more desirable than others, because these traits enhance their survival. They are, therefore, attracted to certain behaviors that satisfy their genetically programmed mating instincts. This has a lot to do with estrogen, as opposed to testosterone. In the end, girls go for men who make them feel excited and loved. There’s no ifs and buts, the instincts are powerful.

The Municipal Solid Waste Dilemma

Everyone buys things and sooner or later, we will throw it away. Or suppose we eat at Mc Donald’s. After we are finished, we throw away our trash and never see or think of it ever again. In our fast passed world that we live in today, there are many people living in it and produce a lot of garbage and waste. The United States alone produces over 200 million tons of Municipal Solid Waste every year. That is equates to about 4.5 pounds of waste per person, per day. According to data from the EPA, about 35% of that is paper, 30% include yard trimmings and food scraps. Over 11% is plastic, 8% is metal, and the remainder contains wood, rubber, glass, and textiles. The main problem that we have is overflow of landfills. On top of this problem, there is a factor of contamination and pollution that carries on with garbage disposal. Because of this dilemma, we need solutions to these problems. Some solutions include recycling, source reduction, and other methods of waste disposal. In this proposal, I will talk briefly about waste management and how landfills are made and developed. I will further discuss governmental regulations that are taking place to make disposal safe and friendly to the environment.
About 27 percent of the trash is recycled, 16 percent is burned, and 57 percent is buried in landfills. A landfill by definition is a carefully designed structure built into or on top of the ground in which trash is isolated from the surrounding environment. This isolation is made possible with a bottom liner and covering of soil. Most landfills use a synthetic plastic liner to isolate the trash from the environment. In a landfill, not all of the land is used for dumping trash. Some areas are used for runoff collection ponds, leachate collection ponds, and drop-off stations. Other safety precautions are used such as studying the composition of underground. For a good landfill site, the ground should be watertight to prevent any leakage from reaching groundwater. Many landfills sink wells at various areas around the site to monitor the groundwater or to capture any escaping wastes. It is also important for a landfill not to be close to rivers, streams or other bodies of water so that any leachate from the landfill will not enter the groundwater.

When a site for a landfill is found, construction of a landfill can be made. The ground is dug for many feet and a plastic liner system is lined on the ground. This will prevent for leachate to contaminate ground water. Within this structure, a leachate collection pipe is harnessed to draw away any contaminated water to a leachate pond. On top, a layer of soil and gravel is placed so that it is ready to be covered with trash. To extend the life of a landfill and to use space efficiently, trash is tightly packed and stored in cells. Compression of trash is accomplished with special equipment and machinery. Basically, once a cell of compacted trash is full, a new one is made on top of the old one, and so on.
Once a landfill is full, it cannot take any more waste, but the process does not end there. The owner or operator still has to consider environmental problems that can occur. These precautions have to be taken so that no environmental threats come about in the future. Landfills can contain either hazardous or non-hazardous waste and may exist on public, private, or federal lands. The current EPA regulations require that landfill designs isolate waste from incoming rainwater. They are also to collect and treat water produced by the waste mass before the release into the environment. In addition, federal regulations require monitoring and maintaining of landfills for a minimum of 30 years after it is shut down. This is so that no problems occur with water contamination or other such hazards.
Local governments and private companies use three types of waste disposal which include incineration, chemical decomposition, and landfill burying. These methods have considerable economic and environmental impacts on the world. Such impacts include toxic ash from incineration and toxic air and water from emissions. These toxic byproducts are expensive to dispose of and harmful to the environment.
The main goal of a landfill is to obviously take garbage away from communities, but more importantly, to do it in a safe and least hazardous way. Stabilization occurs when liquid produced by waste mass or is no longer a pollution hazard to the groundwater below, gas production is negligible, and the majority of waste settlement has occurred. Normal landfills have slow rates of stabilization. The time period which waste is a risk for contamination of air and water is extended to decades. After a landfill is used, the use of the land is limited. Landfill costs have almost doubled in the last 15 years. Requirements for stabilization of waste have become increasingly strict. Because of this, acquiring a permit for a new landfill site has become more costly.
When we buy a product and make use of it, that material will eventually make its way in the landfills. The fact that the only pollution it makes is of taking up trash space is not true. The energy to make the product and to use it before it goes into a landfill is also sources of pollution. Total product life cycle is basically the life of a certain product. This cycle includes all stages and steps, starting from getting the raw material to the disposal of the material. Pollutants enter the environment when a product is made from raw materials through chemical waste and by-products. Product use also may cause pollutants to go in the air. For example, when using hair spray, the toxins go into the air. Even in the final stage, the discarding of the material, other contaminants can pollute the air from decomposition and of course, take up space in landfills.
It is obvious that many communities in America are faced with a garbage disposal problem. Although many landfills are reaching full capacity, few new landfills are being created, mainly because people do not particularly want to live near one, and modern landfills are now on a large scale basis. This allows more trash to be handled, which also leads to less of the smaller landfills. A solutions before was to burn and decompose the garbage to make more room in landfills. This was not a solution to pollution decrease because the combustion of trash causes more air pollution in the long run.
The place where a landfill is located will have an impact on the surrounding environment. To minimize any problems, location standards enforce where a landfill can be. For example, landfills cannot be located in areas that are prone to flooding. In addition, the landfill owner is required to prove that the facility is able to withstand major flooding. Landfills also have to control storm water run-off and make sure that the landfill is covered at the end of each day. Most landfills are required to install monitoring systems to detect groundwater contamination and are liable to fix any problem if any problems are detected. Sites are also prohibited from being located in fault areas such as zones where earthquakes are frequent or other unstable areas. The regulations also require operation competency of management of a landfill to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to make sure a landfill is safely operated. For example, landfills are prohibited from accepting certain types of wastes which include hazardous wastes and liquids. To meet these requirements, landfills have to keep control of the waste that gets dumped in the landfills.
All municipal solid waste landfills must also comply with EPA requirements about emissions of methane and non-methane gases. EPA recently issued a rule that regulates such emissions, including volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants, and odorous compounds, from certain wastes.
To dispose of municipal solid waste, the companies and sites need environmentally friendly facilities. Besides the conventional dumping of garbage or incineration, there are other alternatives in controlling trash. A company called World Waste is commercializing a process that effectively and efficiently handles municipal solid waste. World Waste Technology is taking a step forward in environmental safety. Their process involves steam and heat using pressure to break down and sterilize the waste. This will all be done without any harmful emotions. The process entirely changes the composition of the waste and converts it into separable components of sterilized organic and inorganic materials. This new process will reduce costs economically, environmentally, and will be better off for humans in the long run. This type of process may be implemented nationwide and eventually worldwide.
New approaches to managing municipal solid waste are a solution. Such acts include source reduction and increasing incentives for recycling. Because people produce so much waste, it is the job of the landfill to keep everything in order. Therefore, EPA established a “minimum standards” to assure the safe and effective management of municipal solid waste landfills. These standards greatly reduce the possibility that landfills will become sources of pollution. There must be measures taken in enforcing these standards by the state and local governments. In the conclusion of source reduction, we are not putting the problem on how to decompose and do away with the waste, but to produce less waste as a whole. The less we use as a community, the less trash we will produce, which will lead to lessening the problems of municipal solid waste landfills.
As mentioned before, only about 27% of the total municipal solid waste is recycled. That means there are still recyclable materials that are being buried or burned at dump sites. This causes the possibly recyclable material to be dumped in landfills. The current practice of burying waste is not a good solution for today’s needs and for the future. As the amount of municipal solid waste grows year by year, our way of life is going to determine the life style of the future.
Implementation by the government or extra funding for recycling by the government can be a solution to the overflow of trash and garbage in municipal solid waste landfills. The solution is not found in making landfills larger and not necessarily forming innovative procedures to handling waste. Further incentives for recycling or source reduction can lower solid wastes that end up in landfills, which in turn will make the world and environment a better place to live.

The Importance of Freshwater and Why We Should Protect It

Water is one of nature’s most important gifts to mankind. it is essential to life and a person’s survival depends on drinking freshwater. Water is vital to good health since it helps digest and absorb food and also helps maintain proper muscle tone, supplies sufficient oxygen and nutrients to the cells, get rid of body wastes, and serves as a natural air conditioning system. An average person should drink at least eight glasses of clean water every singe day to be in good health. If a person drank saltwater, they would eventually die because the cells in their body will dehydrate when they try to get rid of the excess salt from the water. Freshwater contains less than 0.2% of dissolved salts.
Although water is highly essential, there isn’t adequate amounts of it. Despite the fact that 70% of the world is covered with water, more than 97% of it is unsafe water leaving about 3% of it to be fresh, clean water. Out of this amount, 70% of the freshwater is frozen in polar icecaps or glaciers. Therefore, all human and other life depend on less than 1% of the total amount of water on this planet! This water can be found on the surface of lakes, rivers, and even underground.

Even though there is an extremely low amount of freshwater, it is thought to be enough to meet human needs, if it is distributed evenly around the world. Unfortunately, freshwater isn’t distributed evenly around the globe with regard to either location or time of need. Some areas in the world have enormous quantities of freshwater while some other places have limited supplies of it. Furthermore, in some areas, nature supplies them with a lot of freshwater at times when people have enough already. If there is no mechanism to store this freshwater, large amounts of it is being wasted or causes serious flooding. That is why it is important to use water wisely and not waste it.
Unfortunately, a lot of waterborne diseases and aquatic vectors continue to be the largest single cause of human illness and death around the world. One of the main reasons is because humans find it convenient to throw away unwanted wastes and byproducts in watercourses. Even though the amount of freshwater is very little, our society continues to contaminate this precious resource.
In conclusion, we should ALL use water wisely and protect freshwater due to many important reasons mentioned above. Mainly, we should protect freshwater because there isn’t enough amounts of it left and if chemicals or other substances get in contact with the freshwater and someone drinks it, it can cause severe and serious health problems. So everyone, PROTECT FRESHWATER!

The Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study

The Hubbard Brook Study in New Hampshire takes place in a deciduous northern hardwood forest and is involved in important environmental research to improve the planet’s ecosystem. There are inputs (light, precipitation, chemicals) and outputs (water and nutrients) used to discover how a fully integrated ecosystem functions. (Bormann and Likens 1979).There are long-term studies carried out, as short-term observations give false trends of data that is not realised at the time of study.
The Hubbard Brook Research Foundation (HBRF) generally aims to present an integrated view of ecosystem development in order to promote the understanding and caring for of forest and aquatic ecosystems. (Bormann and Likens 1979)

Objectives are specific statements of intention, which show either general or specific outcomes. These were to evaluate the effects of decreases in water overflow on several factors:
1. Light
*The effect of photosynthesis on an ecosystem
  1. Precipitation
  2. Chemicals

*Study the effects of nitrogen leaching into streams.

4. Water
*Measure the water stream level
5. Nutrient uptake by soil
Methods (Watershed approach)
Bormann and Likens (1979) carried out an experiment in the HBEF to calculate the response and recovery of a forested ecosystem to a disturbance. Disturbance includes conditions that lead to partial or total destruction of plant biomass, including the activities of chemical toxicity and physical destruction. Watershed 2 was subjected to clear cutting. All trees were felled in place, causing the minimal amount of disturbance. Herbicide was sprayed on this watershed for three years to inhibit any regrowth of the vegetation. An adjacent Watershed 4 was strip-cut three times, over a period of ten years. No herbicides were added “to discern differences in behaviour…and to study recovery mechanisms.” This was related to stream chemistry, to measure the concentrations of different nutrients over time. In addition Watershed 5 was subjected to a whole-tree harvest but no herbicides were added. This was to test nutrient levels in the soil between watersheds 4 and 5. The two experiments were compared with an untouched watershed for forest managers to assess the long-term impact of differencing harvesting methods.
Water output was measured using weir gauging stations. Water was channelled at a precise angle over a v- shaped exit channel. As stream flow increases, the water height rises. The exact level was measured by a float inside an adjacent well. A pen on a chart provides a permanent record of the float position as it moves up and down to water flowing over the weir notch. The weir had to be securely cemented into bedrock, as all stream flow had to be measured. (Bormann and Likens 1979)
To assess carbon and nitrogen cycles in forested streams, Dissolved Organic Carbon was constantly added to a stream for six weeks during summer. For two months prior to and throughout the addition, nitrogen and potassium concentrations were monitored. (Groffman 2002)
The importance of photosynthesis in certain plants in regulating ecosystem functions may be underestimated. The plants “may significantly reduce potassium and nitrogen loss from the ecosystem” during water runoff, as certain studies have shown. The variation in stream nutrient concentrations possibly will be caused by differences in terrestrial plant demand for those nutrients. These plants may act as a temporary “sink” to nutrients in spring, releasing them during decomposition in summer. This would lessen nutrient losses in stream flow, helping to maintain nutrients in the ecosystem. (Bormann and Likens 1979) Stream nutrient levels indicate the significance of stream processes in reducing nutrient concentration.
A flow of events, commenced by precipitation, modifies ecosystem function. Climate patterns, such as heavy rainfall, increase precipitation, which is consequently converted to runoff. Marc Russell (2005) has shown surface runoff, containing nutrients and organic matter, is channeled through a hydrologic system until finally discharging into a stream. Modification of watershed characteristics will ultimately affect the delivery of nutrient overflow to ecosystems downstream. Risser (1988) has shown when precipitation is at or above its normal level, increases in yield usually occur, caused by nitrogen, “conditions are determined largely by precipitation, but are strongly modified by…soil. Temperature…influences rate of growth and hence the ultimate water consumption. Nitrogen is effective in causing primary production, however additional nitrogen may reduce soil water content because of increased transpiration by the more rapidly growing plants.
Leaching is not the only pathway for losses of elements from natural ecosystems. Losses by erosion, and harvesting can also be substantial. Leaching losses from forest ecosystems have been measured using the watershed approach (discussed below). When the basic requirements of the method are satisfied, “measurement of both water fluctuation and element concentration provide a clear, unambiguous way to determine the amount instead of the concentrations of elements lost.” (Vitousek, cited by Mooney 1983). There is also a measurement of the output of minerals from the forest ecosystem.
Agreoecosystem influence may be significant, as “hardwood forests on the whole have more nitrification…human disturbance such as forest harvests, temporary agriculture and other forms of soil cultivation are likely to lead to losses of nitrogen and other nutrients.” The clearing of forests release substantial amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, which accounts for nearly 90% of global release of carbon dioxide from forests into the atmosphere. (Tamm 1991). Industry factories give out excessively high levels of nitrogen and sulphur. The gases are dispersed by the wind, leading to dangerously high concentrations within the atmosphere.
Sulphur can enter forest ecosystems as ions in precipitation, entering the soil and becoming rapidly oxidized to sulphate. This can then leach through the soil to streams underneath, as studies by
(Vitousek 1983) on the effect of nutrients on ecosystems has shown. Nitrogen can also enter a site by nitrogen fixation or through heavy rainfall. Nitrogen will leave either by leaching or denitrification.
Dissolved organic carbon, DOC, is an important source of carbon for stream heterotrophy. In many systems, bacteria and fungi are carbon limited. Thus, carbon availability may control both the availability and the dynamics of other nutrients (N or P) in heterotrophic systems.
Final Findings
Ecosystems are surrounded by physical features and so are distinct. However, they are also open systems. An edge of a lake may have a clearly recognizable boundary, yet there are important changes of materials across it, as stated by (Pomeroy et al. 1988)
Most of the nitrogen in soil is obtained from precipitation; however some is lost in drainage water. According to (Bormann and Likens 1979), important aspects of the nitrogen cycle are shown in a study at Hubbard Brooks:
  • 70% of nitrogen is added by nitrogen fixation and 30% by precipitation.
  • There is 119kg of nitrogen estimated in growth processes, 33%is withdrawn from storage locations and used in growth and the same amount is withdrawn from leaves and stored in more permanent tissues.

This is important as it suggests a good portion of spring growth is sustained by nitrogen incorporated into plant tissue during the early growth. This is supported by research at Watershed 4 as the plants internal reserve would be destroyed in clear cutting, causing the nitrogen concentration to drop rapidly. The chemistry of the stream-water changed dramatically, as nitrogen levels increased to high levels. By the second summer the concentration was well above animal drinking limits. After the herbicide was stopped, the nitrogen levels declined rapidly.

A decade after the clear-cut and strip-cut of watersheds 4 and 5, the boundaries are covered in young trees; however the v-shaped boundaries are still clearly visible. Although there was a nitrate loss at watershed 4, the loss was not as great as at watershed two. This is due to the three strip-cuts, spaced over 10 years, which minimised any loss of nutrients. This shows that nutrient losses increase with any disturbance to an ecosystem.
The principal effect of Dissolved Organic Carbon enrichment was to encourage bacterial growth, leading to increased respiration and a corresponding increase in the demand for nitrogen. (Groffman 2002, see Graphs) Results from this experiment demonstrate a tight relationship between DOC and nitrogen availability in streams.
Human influence is a major factor in the role of an ecosystem, as humans “can alter the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems if they impact on a key component of the ecosystem” (McPhee 2001). This can be shown from the runoff from farm chemicals. It can lead to minute amounts of agricultural chemicals leaching into streams. This has led to the concentrations of nitrates greatly escalating in the streams. Another problem would be transportation. New roads are built next to forests and the fumes released are taken up by plants. When they decompose, the chemicals in the soil leach into streams.
Ecosystems are made up of many different elements. There continues to be concern over important problems as loss of climate change, destruction of forests, water pollution and soil erosion. This research is ongoing and will take decades to understand a pattern of how an ecosystem functions. However, these studies will provide insights into the role of forest and aquatic ecosystems, using the input and outputs shown, in developing new concepts of ecosystem management.
Bormann, Hubert F. Likens, Gene, E. (1979), “The Northern Hardwood Forest”, in: Pattern and Processes in a Forested Ecosystem, Springer-Verlag, New York Inc: pages 22, 24 -25
Bormann, Hubert F. Likens, Gene, E. (1979), Pattern and Processes in a Forested Ecosystem, Springer-Verlag, New York Inc: Preface vii
Bormann, Hubert F. Likens, Gene, E. (1979), “The Northern Hardwood Forest”, in: Pattern and Processes in a Forested Ecosystem, Springer-Verlag, New York Inc: pages 35-36
Bormann, Hubert F. Likens, Gene, E. (1979), “The Northern Hardwood Forest”, in: Pattern and Processes in a Forested Ecosystem, Springer-Verlag, New York Inc: pages 33-34 Fig. 1.14
Groffman, Peter M. (2002), “Microbial carbon and nitrogen cycle process response to calcium addition”, Institute of Ecosystem Studies,
Bormann, Hubert F. Likens, Gene, E. (1979), “The Aggrading Ecosystem”, in: Pattern and Processes in a Forested Ecosystem, Springer-Verlag, New York Inc: page 45
Russell, Marc (2005), Watershed Development and Climate Change Effects on Environmental Flows and Estuarine Function, 27th District, Texas,
Available from:
Risser, P. G. cited by Pomeroy, Lawrence, R and Alberts, James, J. (1988) “Abiotic controls in North American Grasslands”, in Concepts of Ecosystem Biology, Vol. 67, page 125
Vitousek, P. M. cited by Mooney, H. A. and Godron, M. (1983), “Mechanisms of Ion Leaching in Natural and Managed Ecosystems”, in Disturbance and Ecosystems, Vol. 44, page 130
Tamm, Carl, O. (1991), “Nitrogen Leaching by removal of Biomass or Litter” in Nitrogen in Terrestrial Ecosystems, Vol. 81, page 43
Vitousek, P. M. cited by Mooney, H. A. and Godron, M. (1983), “Mechanisms of Ion Leaching in Natural and Managed Ecosystems”, in Disturbance and Ecosystems, Vol. 44, pages 134-136
Pomeroy, Lawrence, R. Hargrove, Eugene, C and Alberts, James, J. (1988) “The Ecosystem Perspective”, in Concepts of Ecosystem Biology, Vol. 67, page 2
Bormann, Hubert F. Likens, Gene, E. (1979), “The Northern Hardwood Forest: A Model for Ecosystem Development”, in: Pattern and Processes in a Forested Ecosystem, Springer-Verlag, New York Inc: pages 24-25
McPhee, Daryl (2001), A Comparison of Anthropogenic Discharge Quality and Quantity into Queensland East Coast Catchments, Australian Prawn Farmers Association.
Available at:

The Green Revolution

The Green Revolution began during the 1970s and 1980s in an attempt to increase the nutrition in food crops and to make species of food crops more uniform and robust. Scientists developed strains of hybrid plants, such as wheat, rice, and maize that quantitatively produced more food that was of better quality. This research was led by Dr Norman Borlaug in Mexico and others under the sponsorship of the Rockefeller Foundation during the 1960s.

The reason that the Green Revolution began was that the population of humans was increasing exponentially (in a J curve), while the amount of food produced per year was only increasing geometrically (in a straight line). The carrying capacity of the Earth was being strained. The Green Revolution seemed to solve everyone’s problems.

There were several techniques that scientists used to help increase yield and appearance of crops. First, genetic engineering was used, such as cross breeding plants for desirable qualities. Other methods were also used, such as expensive fertilizers, irrigation, heavy machinery, and pesticides and herbicides. These techniques were all used together to dramatically increase the yield of crops in many different third world countries, whose population was increasing at the fastest rate.
There were many remarkable achievements of the Green Revolution. Generally, it increased the crop yield in India, Pakistan, Philippines, Mexico, Sri Lanka and other underdeveloped countries. Specifically, it turned Mexico from a country that imported half of its wheat consumed (1949) to a crop exporter by 1964. The Green Revolution is credited with saving 1 billion people from starvation in India and Pakistan alone. It is an undisputed fact that without methods stemming from the Green Revolution, the Earth would not be able to meet the basic food requirements of today’s population.
However, there are many criticisms that have risen against the Green Revolution, especially from environmentalists today and people who believe in organic farming.
The first types of critics focus on the actual quality of the food produced. Because of the uniformity of crops and the herbicides used, there is less biodiversity of plant species. This is potentially bad because if a certain type of fungus or bacteria infected the plants, then an entire crop of plants could be destroyed (similar to the Irish Famine) and there would be nothing to eat. Also, there are many bad side effects caused by using so many herbicides and pesticides. These products are essentially poison, and it is important for people to wear protection when using them. However, in the third world countries that do use Green Revolution techniques the most, the farmers cannot afford protective suits. As a result, many people are being slowly poisoned through gradual absorption of these pesticides. Pesticides and their runoff also kill plants and animals unintentionally. For example, there is a certain species of fish that lives in rice paddies that many people ate, but because of the pesticides, they are rare and usually unhealthy.
Many people also criticize the social effects of the Green Revolution. Farmers are becoming increasingly dependent on foreign corporations for their livelihood. In the past, farmers were totally self-sufficient, but today, it seems they depend on corporations for everything. Farmers must buy new seed every year because the companies have genetically engineered the plants to be sterile. They must also buy fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides to ensure that their crops will be successful. This maximizes companies’ profit at the expense of farmers’ around the world. Also, because the new crops require so much less labor, there is a whole sector of the population that is displaced because there is no need for them to work. The increase in slums in the city and the urban poor has been partially attributed to this.
There is also a major question of how sustainable the practices used actually are. For example, the heavy irrigation used can result in erosion and greater soil salinity over time. Also, Green Revolution techniques actually drain the soil of nutrients. The farmers then move on to different plots of land, or try to saturate the soil with more chemicals to compensate, the long term effects of which are unknown.
Today, many environmentalists promote organic, sustainable farming instead of massive, corporate Green Revolution farming. Organic farming focuses on local needs and requirements. It also emphasizes more holistic methods of farming that maintain biodiversity, natural biological cycles, and natural soil biological activity. The general yield of organic farming compared to Green Revolution farming has not been conclusively studied, but it is probable that organic farming does not yield the same quantity of food as consistently. However, there is about a 50% lower expenditure on fertilizer and energy, and 97% less pesticides with organic farming, when compared to conventional farming.