An Aromatic Memory May 7, 2009Posted by linta in 1.
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Ilanji (Mimusops elengi) flowers have a sweet aroma that captures your mind and sometimes drives you to a state of ecstasy which you never want to leave. We (me and my sister) had a collection of those tiny brown flowers that we kept in a small bottle secretly. It was because we were always cognizant of the fact that Mom would throw the bottle away the moment she saw it. Her reason for doing so was that once out of the bottle, those flowers will be all over the floor, just like our books and it will be very difficult for her to clean it. I think besides this, she doesn’t want anything to be kept so long. Keeping books from primary school or even a newspaper cutting made her angry. During such times, it was our grandma who gave us support by saying that such things, though they are trivial, may be useful in the future. But in the case of these flowers, even grandma would accuse us for keeping such a “smelly thing” inside home as she believed that it attracted snakes. Though snakes were always a nightmare to us, we used to keep these flowers inside old boxes or even cupboards where we are almost sure that Mom’s eyes wouldn’t reach that often. Therefore, our dresses, books and other things always had a sweet scent which we loved. Now, I am missing those smells. There are no more Ilanji trees in our place now and no more hidden bottles. But the interesting thing is that snakes do keep coming into the house!
“The Grapes of Wrath” May 7, 2009Posted by linta in Turning the Pages.
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The only worthwhile thing that I could do during the last vacation was reading books. It was from the internet that I came across the title “The Grapes of Wrath.” After reading it, I can’t only say that it is one among the few brilliant books I have ever read. Set in the time of the Great Depression, the story reveals an often unnoticed, forgotten face of the U.S. Also, it is one of those books that made me cry. I can see my grandmother in the place of Ma, my grandpa as Pa, and my little sister as the innocent Rose of Sharon. In a situaion like the one that is described in the story, they will do the same as the characters did. In fact, it is not the story of the 20th century U.S. only, but can be applicable to any place, especially during that time of economic crisis. I have seen people moving from place to place without being able to settle anywhere in our place. The ending of not many novels have made me cry. While reading it, I was actually into it. There is not even a single part that makes us to feel bored. It is a really amazing, engrossing, emotional work; one of those must read items.
“Our Luminous World” is the blog that I have been maintaining for the last few months. I created this blog as a part of the blog shop class that I have been attending to. Since we were supposed to take social issues and create blogs in order to make awareness, I took light pollution as the subject of my blog. I have tried my best to attract the attention of people towards this issue and I am really pleased that I could do something that I was capable of in the efforts to control this phenomena. Now, as the semester ends, our blog shop class is also going to be finished for this term. However, I have decided to change the focus of my blog and thus, continue blogging, but it will not be about light pollution. I am going to keep a personal blog with the same URL which will include posts regarding daily life and I hope to write some short stories as well. Thank you everyone who encouraged and helped me in doing this, especially Ms.Amy whose guidance was very precious for all of us.
In Short… April 16, 2009Posted by linta in THANK YOU!!!.
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What we have seen so far is that our world is witnessing a “new” kind of pollution, light pollution. I have used the word “new” in the sense that though it was right beside us, only recently we started addressing it. The excessive artificial light that is spilled out into the atmosphere is the main reason for light pollution. It is a phenomenon happens due to the presence of light where it is not needed. Apart from the causes we have seen the numerous aftermaths of light pollution too. They include biodiversity losses, natural habitat destructions etc. we have seen that new born sea turtles find it’s difficult to move towards ocean and birds die striking lit buildings, all due to the presence of light in places that misguides the creatures. Humans are not at all free from the repercussions of light pollution. Those effects include the increased breast cancer incidence, headaches and damage to the normal functioning of reproductive systems. Along with these effects, we have addressed some solutions like quality lighting and the use of shielded lights to confront light pollution. The first dark sky city (Flagstaff) and International dark sky association also came to our discussion. The rest is left for us. We have started it, so, we have to end it and we will end it.
International Dark Sky Week April 16, 2009Posted by linta in solutions.
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April 20-26, is going to be observed as the International Dark Sky Week. This is organized by International Dark sky Association (IDA). The aim is to encourage people to turn off extra light and thus help combating light pollution. This event was first celebrated in 2003 in the U.S. and from2007, it is being observed internationally. Also, April 20th is going to be The World Night. All over the world, the night of 20 April is dedicated to the appreciation of starlight and the promotion activities that showcase the breathtaking spectacle of the universe at night.
The Plight of A Street Dweller April 9, 2009Posted by linta in BBC.
She spoke a language which was unfamiliar to me (well, actually not only me, most people were unable to understand her) when she reached our village three years ago. She was above 70. A soiled, dull white sari was wrapped around her slender body. It was the milkmaid who noticed her for the first time, lying on the medical store veranda, in a cold December morning. Gradually, she had become an inevitable part of our little town. Often she was scolded either by bus conductors for standing in the middle of the road or by the milk shop owner who didn’t want his customers to be annoyed due to her presence. The wide smile that shows all of her remaining half-broken teeth, stained by beetle leaves, was the reply that both the conductors and the shop owner used to get. It was almost 3 months after her arrival in the town that we came to realize that she spoke Tulu, a language which exists in some parts of India. A high school teacher, who works in Kasargodu, happened to see her when he came home to spend the summer vacation and though he was unable to understand her dialect, he could recognize the language she spoke. It was he who affirmed that she was speaking Tulu.
Time passed by. Nobody ever understood anything about her other than her name* and that she spoke Tulu. At last, in January 2009, a man who lives in Mangalore, came back home which was in our place and he could know something more about her life. After listening to her, he concluded that she had been a flood victim though he didn’t know where she came from. She kept on saying that she had been living in a village where there were lots of paddy fields, before the flood hit the place and she along with hundreds of others was left as destitute. The rest of the story was even more distressing. She remembered someone pushing her out of the compartment of a train, which had already started moving. She had crawled through that railway platform for days, begging food from the passengers who passed her without even noticing the held out hand. Later, she remembered travelling through trains and buses, and finally falling down on the medical shop veranda from the last bus she travelled-it wasn’t an accident. The conductor pushed her down through the door. She didn’t have any complaint. After all, it was her fault; nobody will offer you a free journey.
By the time we knew her story, she had found a shelter in a building which was in the phase of construction. When they finished laying tiles and marbles along the side walls and the already concreted roof, she had to find another place to sleep and keep her belongings which included a torn cloth bag and a cylinder shaped stone to crush ariconut with beetle leaves. She never cooked anything. Somebody was there to give her food every day and if nobody had remembered to do so, she would have gone to sleep, starving. And the place she found at last was the government office veranda. In March, when I came here, she was thrown away from the Panchayat office.
Recently, when my Mom called me, I asked about her. Thus, I came to know that she had been taken to an old age home, and after that nobody has ever seen her. It is not only her story. Along the streets of India, hundreds of people live without any assistance. In a country where family relationships are often considered as divine and sacred, old people are thrown out from their homes. It is a truth that the development of India as a country is impossible with these homeless, helpless people. This is a truth that stares into the eyes of Indian policy makers with bared teeth.
* She called herself Radha.
Redirecting Light: A New Mexico Model April 8, 2009Posted by linta in solutions.
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Do you have an unshielded light in your home or shop? If yes, be careful, you will be charged $25! don’t be afraid, at least for now this is applicable only for New Mexicans. New Mexico has had a Night Sky Protection Act for almost a decade. Now this act has been modified by stating that people who violate the law will be charged $25. It is required by law that outdoor lighting should be aimed downwards and light sources should be shielded. Laurel Ladwig of the Museum of Natural History says: ” … we are moving towards that goal where we can really take down a lot of that light pollution and see a lot more of the night sky.”
Laws like this that require people’s cooperation in controlling light pollution is very much needed though we can’t be sure that they will be 100% efficiently carried out. Something is always better than nothing.
We Can Do Something… April 8, 2009Posted by linta in solutions.
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It’s always better to prevent something bad from happening than to wait until it happenst. But, if it has already happened, the only way is to find a solution as quickly as possible. Same with light pollution. It is here, beside you and me, so, what we need is a solution. As we created the problem, we need to solve it too. What can we do? One day, I was discussing this issue with my friends. Suddenly, one of them asked: “What can we do? Can we go up to the sky and catch the extra light in sacks and bring it back to the ground?” But what’s the need of thinking ridiculous things like this when there are solutions as simple as the ones listed below?
1. The easiest solution is to direct light into the ground where it is needed, and thus prevent the spill out of light into the sky where it is not needed. For that, shielded lamps of light sources can be used.
2. Another way is to turn off lights when they are not in use. Here, there are two benefits. Besides controlling light pollution, if each person follows the above strategy, how much energy can we save?
3. Reducing the intensity of light is very important too. Most of the time, we use more light than we actually need. For example, in my room, we have got four electric lights and sometimes, all of them are turned on. The case is not different in the common area in our apartment.
4. Control the misuse of light- this is very important. Especially while decorating our shops or cities or even houses, think of the harms that light pollution can bring about.
These are the things that I can think of right now. But, there are still more. If you can think of any, why don’t you share?
Protecting the Night Sky March 25, 2009Posted by linta in organizations.
International Dark-sky Association (IDA), is a non-profit organization that is aimed at protecting night sky worldwide. Below are some of the features of the organization:
- IDA was formed in 1988.
- It was formed by Dr. David.L. Crowford and Dr. Tim Hunter.
- Now, it has over 11,000 members.
- Its goals include is to put an end to the dreadful consequences of light pollution, raising awareness about this issue and educate about quality lighting.
- Its mission, as it is stated in the official website of the association, “is to protect and preserve the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies through quality outdoor lighting.
It is noticeable that the association was formed before 20 years which means light pollution is not a new phenomenon. It was right here, beside us. Not even lurching, if we had looked around us, we would have been able to see it. But we never noticed until it became almost irreversible.
International Dark Sky City March 25, 2009Posted by linta in organizations.
News about light pollution is not always depressing. For example, will you believe if I say that there is a completely dark sky over the U.S.? Don’t be so amazed. It is the fact. The city is called Flagstaff, which is located in Northern Arizona, a state in the U.S.
In 2001, Flagstaff was declared as the first International Dark Sky City by the International Dark Sky Association(IDA). This designation is given to cities or places “with exceptional commitment to and success in implementing the ideals of dark sky preservation and/or restoration, and their promotion through quality outdoor lighting.” If you take a close look at the picture of the protected night sky over Flagstaff, you can see numerous stars that you can possibly cannot see anywhere else. Amazing, isn’t it?
Sources: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap080416.html (image)