Blog 22: Illusive Likes and Dislikes

Recently I was watching a very interesting episode called “Our Planet” by David Attenborough. The episodes are mind-blowing and they are streamed on Netflix. Those who have seen such episodes, even like one on National Parks or Wild Babies and so on, would know the level at which the photography is explored and the number of geographical areas these teams cover to bring the best of the best to us. It is a treat to our eyes, ears and to our brain…!

Courtesy: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/phyto.html

One such episode connected me to the deep-rooted existence of our own species and the way we have been in illusion, by ourselves, via brain engineering. This story starts with moving plants called as Phytoplankton. These are wonderful plants found in seas, and are widely existing near the surface of water. They create oxygen through photosynthesis; and that is why they need sunlight. Since sunlight can travel only few meters from the sea surface, phytoplankton are not found in deep seas, but only till few tens of meters from the sea surface. As they emit oxygen, this is used by fishes and other marine life in the seas. It is said that the oxygen level maintained in the seas is mainly by these phytoplankton. Not only that, this emitted oxygen also contributes to the oxygen level in our atmosphere. The percentage is not very small. It is said that at least 40-45% of the oxygen in air is contributed by these plants. So, we can understand the importance of them!

Now how do these phytoplankton grow and survive? Well, they depend on the nutrients given by droppings of Dolphin fishes. Dolphins survive on smaller fishes like Lanterns. On similar lines, droppings of Ray fishes, Whales and Sharks also are used by these plants, as food and nutrients, to survive and release oxygen in the water and in the air. This is a fantastic and a closed-loop ecosystem, in which the fishes breathe via phytoplankton’s and in turn offer nutrients to them to grow. Going ahead, the phytoplankton creates a beautiful layer of particulate matter just above the sea surface. As the sea water evaporates due to sun, the water vapors condense on the surface and due to these particulates, clouds are formed. These majestic clouds travel up the sea level and grows to bigger and bigger clouds, which bring rains. Rains help the wild forests and oceans, and the entire nature thrives!! A lovely ecosystem of plants, birds, wild animals, aquatic life of fishes and plants and jungles live in perfect synchronism!! The dance of this cosmos can be seen on sea surfaces, in the interior of jungles, in deep seas and also on mountains!

Where is the disruption then? Humans bring it, in a big way! We all want to eat fishes. The small ones, like Tuna and the big ones like Sharks and Rays. We do ferocious fishing for this, and we disrupt this entire ecosystem. As we eat big and small fishes, lesser nutrients are available in water. Lesser growth for phytoplankton and hence lesser oxygen formation. This disrupts everything! Oxygen in atmosphere and life of aquatic animals. We disrupt the ecosystem, merely because we wish to “taste” fishes.

I am aware that many of us know about the synergic ecosystem and we do know that we have disrupted it. Let me go one step ahead. As the Lantern and Tuna fishes count goes down, new species in water, namely Squids, start populating. These look very pretty. But bigger fishes, actually do not like them. They do not have enough nutrients. Dolphins, Rays, Whales and Sharks “compromise” with squids, as food, since the favorite ones are not available. This amounts to lesser nutrients to the planktons and the aquatic system becomes “unhealthy”. But let us remember that squids look pretty! Just as humans, the big and small fishes have started (in some sense) tolerating them. Nature, suffers, though.

In the very same way, just shift gears and imagine a sunrise or a sunset. We all wait for this sight either at the horizon, or behind the gigantic mountains or at the edge of sprawling oceans. We want to see the lovely spread of orange light throughout the sky, isn’t it? But how many of us realize that orange light is a signature of “polluted air” and yellow is a signature of “pure air”? We know this from science books. But we like that wonderful “Orange”. We have started liking the polluted colors and have also started enjoying it…!!

On similar lines, as we travel on roads, we see these lovely looking yellow flowers all around the edges of the roads. They look very pretty and cover the entire land with a carpet! The scene is magnificent, especially in winters and start of summer. However, how many of us know that they are mere cosmos? They grow aggressively and do not allow other natural biodiversity plants to grow? We should, in principle, cut them and allow the vegetables, flowering plants like Roses, Lilies and Jasmines to grow. These cosmos plants and flowers repel butterflies and bees. The cross-pollination is hampered and the biodiversity gets killed. But look at humans. Again, we have started liking these cosmos flowers. Instead of cutting them, we are enjoying them! Same is true for Palm plantations, for which huge jungles are cut. Palm plants are grown for oil, in an un-natural way. We are now “okay” with palm oil, with a fragrance and inorganic additives of groundnut or safflower, rather than the original safflower and groundnut. We have compromised our tastes without even applying our brains there.

Therefore, we all eat, drink and breathe everything which is un-natural. We have broken the ecosystem to generate these polluted products and environment, and still, we “feel” that we are perfect…!!

Un-natural production of poultry products, chickens, goats and others, including aquatic life is a route towards disaster. Imagine that depriving the nature to grow naturally is indirectly leading to depriving ourselves from our healthy existence…!! But if we still think that we are enjoying the fishes, chickens, mutton, orange sunshine’s and hazy climate, then we are going towards destruction, rapidly.

Seas are around 70% of the total earths surface. The changes therein create humongous changes on earth. They are powerful, merely because they are huge. But nature is resilient. It can very quickly regain their original potential. Humans cannot. We had to survive many generations, just to come out of nuclear disasters like Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The generations are still paying the price. If we have to survive and thrive, we have to take care of nature and its natural ecosystem. We have to be aware of our tastes using our brains, which (we say) is very powerful!!

I remember a dialogue in one movie called “Agneepath”, where the villain Kancha says “This Mandava town people have chosen a Monster and they have started liking him. Now even if they see God, they are not going to like him…!!” We all should be worried, careful, responsible and grounded to Live and Let Live..!

Published by sangeeta kale

This is Sangeeta Kale. I work as a Professor in Physics and research is my passion. Studied from University of Pune and University of Maryland (College Park, USA), I work mainly on Sensors and Nanotechnology. Fitness, Marathon running, car rally driving and travelling are few of my other passions. Correlating science to various aspects is the intention of this blog: right from technological advances to humanity and philosophy.!

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5 Comments

  1. Such eye-opening information! Reading through the various scenarios presented such as the orange sunshine, cosmos flowers and squids, it just becomes evident that lack of information and knowledge is so prevalent among the masses. Although it’s hard to give up tuna (:p), this blog is so wonderful and proves that we, as humans without the required knowledge, so easily accept and almost celebrate aesthetically beautiful things in everyday life!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nicely written and summarized.
    One way not to disrupt the natural ecosystem maybe.. go vegan. 🙂
    Keep posting. There is lot of good information we all can get.

    Like

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