Sparrows die everyday

It was an unusual day. A sparrow died. But there’s nothing much unusual about death. I mean, sparrows die every day. And in those multitudes, one should matter. But it did that day.

I was on my post-breakfast walk, when someone tapped my shoulder. It was a homeless looking man. His hands were cupped, as if holding something in his palms.

“Sir, please help me!” He said with begging eyes, “I found this little thing on the road.” He pointed towards a highway nearby.

I was confused, but the fog cleared as soon as he opened his palm. There was a sparrow in it. And it lay deathly still.

Just then, it opened its eyes and tried to flutter its wings. The homeless man tightened his grip a bit so that the bird would calm down.

“What happened?” I asked.

“I saw it lying down on the road, trying to fly. It was failing repeatedly. Maybe it has a broken wing, I don’t know. I picked it up, if I’d left it there, the dogs would have eaten her.”

It was when he said ‘her’, that I noticed the pale plumage. It was female sparrow. And it was hurt.

“Okay calm down. I’ll call animal rescue.” I pulled my phone out and googled for contact shelters near me. Internet was slow in the area, it was taking quite some time for the results to show up.

“Sir, can you please hold her? I have to leave right away for my shift.” The man said, holding out the bird towards me.  I took a step back. Birds disgusted me. What with their erratic flapping and all! Also they had ridiculously sharp beaks. Like someone had designed them to be a nuisance.

“No! Just keep it on the ground for god’s sake!”

“Sir, but the dogs…”

“I’ll stay here until help comes.” I reassured the man.

He then gently bent down and rested the bird onto the ground. And then he left. While I waited for the results to load, a black dog walked up to me. I shooed him away.

And then another dog showed up. He sniffed around and tried to get close to the sparrow. So I drove him away with a hit of my umbrella. And then I looked around to see if there were any other dogs around.

Speak of the devil; a couple more dogs had arrived at the scene. They were gathered with the dogs I had shooed away before. I looked at them and all of them had one thing in common. They couldn’t seem to take their eyes of the dead sparrow.

I looked at my mobile phone, the search results had finally loaded. So I dialled a local animal shelter, just a kilometre away from there. While the call connected, I checked in on the sparrow. It didn’t seem to move.

I nudged it with the tip of my umbrella – no movement what so ever. I nudged it a bit more. The little thing remained motionless. I bent down and looked at its chest, where its pea sized heart was. It had stopped going up and down. The sparrow had stopped breathing. I nudged it one final time.

This time, the body rolled over and its wings fell limp to the ground. The sparrow was dead.

“Hello, is anyone there?” A voice over the phone crackled.

“Sorry, never mind” I said, and disconnected the call.

I came back home and washed my umbrella. It had mud stains on its tip. I’d dug a hole and pushed the sparrow’s body into it. And then filled the hole with mud. This way the dogs wouldn’t disturb the little thing.

Come that day and over the course of the next week, I wrought myself over the possibilities. May be if I’d just picked it up in my hands and walked it to a vet, I would have survived? May be just if I had the god damn guts!  Or maybe not? The sparrow would have died anyway, even if I’d helped him. Because once a sparrow is touched by a human, the other sparrows kill it. Either way, the sparrow was dead. And yet, I couldn’t fathom why it wrecked my conscience.

A sparrow had died. Sparrows die every day. One small death shouldn’t matter. But it did that day. It definitely did matter that day.

The Ice Breaker

Just recently, a weird incident took place. A piece of ice the size of Delaware nearly broke off from the Antarctic continent. And before scientists and researchers could begin searching for possible causes, the environment patrons of the world have linked this event to climate change.

But is it fair to blame it all on climate change? Or is there another reason this happened? Let’s find out.

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Is it a plane? Is it a bird ? No! Its the fucking end of the world!

In the recent past, comparatively smaller pieces of ice have been calving off from mainland Antarctica and falling into the ocean below. The size range of these pieces is from small boulders to slabs the size of  planes. But even with such a huge size range, the origins of this effect were traced to the rising global temperatures.

Imagine an ice cube in the palm of your warm hand. It starts melting from the bottom. And it melts uniformly, as more and more of the cube is converted to liquid water. In a minute or so, you are holding a puddle of water in your hand.

But larger and denser pieces of ice don’t melt uniformly. Some sections of ice melt before the other and cracks are formed. These cracks propagate through the structure of the ice shelf. And then at the face of the shelf that meets the water, whole blocks of ice fall of into the ocean.

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But this time, the crack is more than a 100 km long. And an ice shelf the size of the state of Delaware is about to calve from the main Antarctic shelf. The mere size of the calving has induced mass hysteria among environmentalists and the general public. And the cause behind this event has given rise to a heated debate.

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But before we pin this baby on climate change, we must investigate other possible sources.

Melting due to rising temperature causes small cracks, sometimes even larger ones. Climate might have caused the 100 km long crack but that doesn’t rule out the possibility of a tectonic event affecting the propagation of the crack. May be there is some undetected or unconsidered tectonic activity which is causing a crack of this scale.

Having said that, if it is proved that the crack wasn’t in fact caused by climate change, it doesn’t imply that we’re safe. Climate change is a real and persistent threat to life on this planet. This calving is certainly  not the end of the world, but it is a hundred km long reminder that we need to care for our planet.

Diluted HCl

My dad dropped me to college that day, in our new car. The new car smell and the fresh feeling of a new clutch vanished when I entered the Chemistry lab. I wore my lab coat, put on the gloves and prepared for a gruelling six hours of lab sessions.

But maybe I’d arrived early. The lab was empty, except for me. So I decided to while my time away by looking around the place. I spent some time fiddling with a pair of scissors. And soon enough, I cut myself on the little finger. Then I threw the scissors away and decided to stay away from sharp things.

That was when my attention shifted to a small white container. It had a tag on it that read :

0.1 M diluted HCl

I always wondered what it felt like to have acid on your skin. Of course, I would only take a small amount of it and put it on a small area of my palm. That couldn’t possibly hurt much, would it?

Slowly and steadily, I lowered one drop of 0.1 M diluted HCl onto my skin. The drop fell through a height of billion metres. At Least that is what it felt like when the drop hit my skin like a lump of lava, vaporizing a tiny portion of my epidermis. The patch burned so bad, It felt like someone had just extinguished a cigarette on my palm. I held the burning palm with the other and turned on the tap. As the water washed away the acid on my skin, the pain slowly subsided.

The acid that left my skin, was probably mixing with the water and flowing into the ocean through the drainage system, thereby decreasing the pH of the oceans by a tiny bit ( slightly acidifying them).

There must have been millions of students who drained their leftover acids into the drainage system. So by the end of the day, the ocean would have been significantly acidified. And the same acidified water would then rise up into the atmosphere, and rain down upon civilization as ‘Acid Rain’.

When the day ended, dad came back to pick me up in the new car. I refused. From that day onwards, I walked 3 miles to college and walked the same distance back to home. Yes, my legs hurt everyday. But at least I could enjoy the rain.

How your Tacho Gauge Meter can save the Earth?

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Something about the TACHO GUAGE METER (TGM)

The Tacho Guage meter (TGM) on your car or bike is an indicator of the RPM’s the engine is running at. It is also a direct indicator of how much the accelerator pedal is being pressed. The more you press the pedal, the more fuel is injected into the engine and hence your car accelerates.

Normally it is a custom to shift the gear up before the Tacho Guage Meter reaches up to 2000 RPM ( ie. shown by 2 on the TGM display ). This is to ensure that the car can accelerate further without injecting more fuel. Also if the indicator starts dropping significantly below 1000 RPM   ( ie. shown by 1 on the TGM display ), the engine may shut down.

Saving the EARTH with your TGM

It is not completely necessary to maintain 2000 RPM. You can gear up safely at around 1100 RPM. And to keep your fuel consumption at a minimum, always maintain your engine up to a maximum of 1500 RPM ( Midway between 1 & 2 on the TGM display ). Keeping your engine between 1100 -1500 RPM ensures that you get a smooth ride and also save a lot of money.  And the low fuel consumption means that your engine is letting out lesser pollutants than usual. If the majority of people adopt this simple practice while driving, the air we breathe in will be a lot cleaner. Not to mention the tonnes of respiratory diseases that will be out of our lives.

My bit in saving the planet

I drive a petrol car and since I started driving last year, as was the custom, I shifted up the gears at 2000 RPM. Then after a month of driving experiences, it was clear that the gear can be shifted up at much lower – 1000 RPM. And also the engine doesn’t break down at 1ooo RPM nor does it give vibrations. So from the past 4 months, I have been driving at 1000 RPM. And I have seen a 25% decrease in fuel consumption. And besides lesser pollution, lesser fuel consumption directly translates to lesser fuel costs. It saves the earth and your cash too.

What you have to do

Follow this simple principle – Keep the TGM at 1000 RPM. Monitor the fuel consumptions at 2000 RPM and at 1000 RPM. See the change for yourself.

Let me know

Write to me about your experience and how you felt on saving the planet? I will publish your efforts on my blog so the world can know of your heroics.

Mention your experiences in saving the world in the comments section or write to me at mindfeedwp@gmail.com. Or contact me on any of my social profiles. The links to my social profiles are on the right of this post. If they don’t work, I have mentioned my usernames below. Find me and get in touch!

Facebook Username : aniket.chaughule

Twitter Username : @aniket2907

Instagram Username : technosapien1

A Wake Up Call

The Earth was there to shelter us, feed us and protect us from outer space. Now the debt has to be repaid. The Earth is in danger and the only ones capable of saving it are us. So join the army – follow the ‘Environment’ Series [ starting on December 13 2016 ] and spread […]

The Environment : A beginning

The decline in quality of the environment affects all of us. There is no educated person that doesn’t or cannot see the disastrous end we are headed to. And yet all we do is talk about saving the planet. But what are we actually doing that can make a difference ?

So I have decided to start making that difference. But this planet doesn’t just belong to me, it is home all of us. That is why I’m going to need your help in saving this planet. All you have to do is follow my blog and watch for the ‘Environment’ series. I will be trying out ways that our carbon footprint can be reduced and then share them with you. You can try them and share with me your experiences. After trying each of my tips, write to me about the experience and how it felt to save the planet. I will see to it that your efforts are published on my blog and elsewhere on my social networks.

The first article of the series will come 2 days from now. Until then, share this post with everybody you know. Don’t leave out a single person. Email them, facebook them, hit them on twitter, do everything you can because the fate of the earth depends on you – you are a superhero.