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Farms In The USA Affected Due To Rise In Ocean And Salinity Levels

Farming the land may not be the best option. Another choice is to give in to nature and turn fields into wetlands.

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ocean, water, farms
Dr. Jessica Ball of USGS, a geologist and volcanologist who does research at the US Geological Survey, is updating Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists on the ground during a helicopter overflight of the ocean entry of the fissure 8 lava flow where a laze (lava haze) plume is visible over the active parts of the flow margin near Kapoho, Hawaii, June 8, 2018. VOA

The fields grow shoulder-high with weeds out the window of Bob Fitzgerald’s Ford pickup. The drive through Fitzgerald’s neighborhood in Princess Anne, Maryland, is a tour of dying forests and abandoned cropland.

“A few years ago, all of this was a good farm,” he said. “And it’s gone, as a farm.”

The land along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay has been sinking for centuries. But climate change is adding a second whammy. As the sea level rises, salt water is seeping into the water table, deeper and deeper inland. The ground is becoming too salty for crops to grow.

Maryland’s Eastern Shore is home to some of the oldest farms in America. Fitzgerald’s dates back to 1666. He’s seen big changes in his lifetime.

“You just can’t believe how it’s taking things over in the last 15 or 20 years,” Fitzgerald said. “I can show you land around here that people raised tomatoes on when I was a little boy. And now it’s gone.”

Around the world, scientists warn that coastal farms are under threat from rising seas and encroaching salt water. A World Bank report estimates rice yields in coastal areas of Bangladesh may fall by more than 15 percent by 2050. Another report found that hundreds of millions of people will likely be displaced by rising waters.

Kate Tully aims to help keep Eastern Shore farmers in business as the seas rise.

The University of Maryland agroecologist had seen the “ghost forests” of dying pine trees killed by the increasingly salty soil. When she started looking at maps, she said, “I realized that a lot of the land that was upslope wasn’t just forests, it was farms. And so I started poking around and talking to people and asking if this was an issue on farms.”

It was. But “a lot of people hadn’t really been talking about it” outside their own communities, she said.

With a new $1.1 million research grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Tully and her colleagues are aiming to give farmers options.

water, farm
Farmer Joe Layton Jr., of Vienna, stands in a field of recently planted soybean crop Wednesday, June 11, 2003. In front soybeans begin to sprout up but because of the wet weather, many seeds rotted in the soil and did not sprout. VOA

Test plots scattered around the Eastern Shore are trying out different crops.

“One thing that I’m very pleasantly surprised about is how well the sorghum does,” Tully said. The grain crop may be a good choice to feed the roughly 600 million chickens raised in the region each year. It’s a hardy crop that can handle salt, drought and heavy rains.

Tully’s group is also testing barley to supply the growing microbrew industry; the oilseed canola; switchgrass, a possible biofuel crop; and salt-tolerant soybeans.

Just being able to grow a crop isn’t enough, though. It also has to be profitable. An economist on the team will be running the numbers.

“I never want to recommend something that would make farmers go out of business,” Tully said.

But farming the land may not be the best option. Another choice is to give in to nature and turn fields into wetlands.

Farms in countryside
Farm in countryside, Pixabay

Wetlands attract waterfowl. Waterfowl attract hunters.

“There’s money in duck hunting,” Tully said. Hunting clubs will pay farmers for exclusive access to wetlands on their property. “It can be a lucrative pathway.”

Also Read:  Whale Art To Raise Awareness About Ocean Pollution

Tully and her colleagues are just getting started. It will be a few years before they have recommendations for what will sustain communities that have been farming this land for centuries.

“There’s a lot of history there. And as these seas rise, some of that history is going underwater,” Tully said. “And I find that to be a pretty moving, pretty motivating reason to try to figure out what we can do for these farmers.” (VOA)

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The Indian Triple Disaster: Virus, Heat Wave And Locusts

Other than Coronavirus pandemic, India faces 2 more challenges to cope up with

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Locusts
Migrant workers, who left cities and towns where they were abandoned by their employers, rest inside a tent before traveling in special trains arranged to transport them to villages in home states, at a railway station in Gauhati, India, May 28, 2020. VOA
By Associated Press

As if the coronavirus wasn’t enough, India grappled with scorching temperatures and the worst locusts invasion in decades as authorities prepared for the end of a monthslong lockdown despite recording thousands of new infections every day as per the Latest news on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This triple disaster drew biblical comparisons and forced officials to try to balance the competing demands of simultaneous public health crises: protection from eviscerating heat but also social distancing in newly reopened parks and markets.

The heat wave threatens to compound challenges of containing the virus, which has started spreading more quickly and broadly since the government began easing restrictions of one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns earlier this month.

“The world will not get a chance to breathe anymore. The ferocity of crises are increasing, and they’re not going to be spaced out,” said Sunita Narain of New Delhi’s Center for Science and Environment.

When her 6-year-old son woke up with a parched throat and a fever, housekeeper Kalista Ekka wanted to bring him to the hospital. But facing a deluge of COVID-19 patients, the doctor advised Ekka to keep him at home despite boiling temperatures in the family’s two-room apartment in a low-income neighborhood in South Delhi.

“The fan only makes it hotter but we can’t open the window because it has no screen,” and thus no defense against malaria and dengue-carrying mosquitoes, Ekka said.

In a nearby upmarket enclave crowded with walkers and joggers every morning and at dusk — some with face coverings, some without — neighbors debated the merits of masks in an online forum.

In the heat, “it is very dangerous to work out with a mask. So a Catch-22 situation,” said Asmita Singh.

heat locusts
India is facing high tempratures with many people lacking water and air conditioning. Pixabay

Temperatures soared to 118 degrees Fahrenheit (47.6 degrees Celsius) in the capital New Delhi this week, marking the warmest May day in 18 years, and 122 F (50 C) in the desert state of Rajasthan, after the world’s hottest April on record.

India suffers from severe water shortages and tens of millions lack running water and air conditioning, leaving many to seek relief under shady trees in public parks and stepwells, the ancient structures used to harvest rainwater.

Though many people continued wearing masks properly, others pushed them onto chins, or had foregone them altogether.

Cyclone Amphan, a massive super storm that crossed the unusually warm Bay of Bengal last week, sucked up huge amounts of moisture, leaving dry, hot winds to form a heat wave over parts of central and northern India.

At the same time, swarms of desert locusts have devastated crops in India’s heartland, threatening an already vulnerable region that is struggling with the economic cost of the lockdown.

Exasperated farmers have been banging plates, whistling or throwing stones to try to drive the locusts away, and sometimes even lighting fires to smoke them out. The swarms appeared poised to head from Rajasthan north to Delhi, but on Wednesday a change in wind direction sent them southward toward the state of Madhya Pradesh instead.

grasshopper-locusts
Swarms of desert locusts have devastated crops in India’s heartland. Pixabay

K.L. Gurjar, a top official of India’s Locust Warning Organization, said his 50-person team was scrambling to stop the swarms before breeding can take place during India’s monsoons, which begin in July. Otherwise, he said, the locusts could destroy India’s summer crops.

Meanwhile, India reported another record single-day jump of more than 6,500 coronavirus cases on Thursday, pushing up the total to 158,333 confirmed cases and 4,531 deaths.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is preparing a new set of guidelines to be issued this weekend, possibly extending the lockdown in worst-hit areas while promoting economic activity elsewhere, with unemployment surging to 25%.

The sudden halt to the Indian economy when the lockdown began March 25 has been devastating for daily laborers and migrant workers, who fled cities on foot for their family homes in the countryside.

The government started running special trains for the migrants, but deaths on the rails because of starvation or dehydration have been reported. Others immediately put into quarantine centers upon their arrival in home districts have tested positive for COVID-19, adding to the burden of severely strained rural health systems.

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India reported another record single-day jump of more than 6,500 coronavirus cases. Pixabay

To jump start the economy, Modi’s environment ministry has moved to lower liabilities for industrial polluters and given private players the right to explore for coal and mine it. Cheap oil will fuel recovery efforts worldwide.

Also Read: IIT Mandi Researchers Have Developed Low-Cost Portable Ventilators

Indian environmental journalist Joydeep Gupta said that the perfect storm of pandemic, heat and locusts show India must go green. He said the government should implement policies to safeguard biodiversity and offer incentives for green energy to reduce greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

Instead, “the government is promoting the same sectors of the industry that have caused the multiple crises in the first place,” he said.

But Narain said other government initiatives that expand federal agriculture employment, cash transfer and food ration programs help India deal more effectively with its threats.
“It’s building coping abilities of the very poor to be able to deal with stress after stress after stress,” she said. (VOA)

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Deep Sea Life Under Threat as Global Warming Reaches Ocean Depths: Research

Animals living in the deep ocean are more exposed to climate warming and will face increasing challenges

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Global warming
Global warming is seriously affecting deep sea life. Pixabay

Even though the deeper layers of the ocean are warming at a slower pace than the surface, animals living in the deep ocean are more exposed to climate warming and will face increasing challenges to maintain their preferred thermal habitats in the future, warn researchers. The study led by the University of Queensland in Australia and published in the Nature Climate Change, looked at how ocean life was responding to climate change.

“We used a metric known as climate velocity which defines the likely speed and direction a species shifts as the ocean warms,” said study researcher Isaac Brito-Morales. The international team of researchers calculated the climate velocity throughout the ocean for the past 50 years and then for the rest of this century using data from 11 climate models. “This allowed us to compare climate velocity in four ocean depth zones – assessing in which zones biodiversity could shift their distribution the most in response to climate change,” Brito-Morales said.

The researchers found climate velocity is currently twice as fast at the surface because of greater surface warming, and as a result, deeper-living species are less likely to be at risk from climate change than those at the surface. “However by the end of the century, assuming we have a high-emissions future, there is not only much greater surface warming but also this warmth will penetrate deeper,” Brito-Morales said.

Global warming
Researchers believe that action must be taken to aggressively manage carbon emissions and global warming. Pixabay

In waters between a depth of 200 and 1000 metres, The research showed climate velocities accelerated to 11 times the present rate.”And in an interesting twist, not only is climate velocity moving at different speeds at different depths in the ocean, but also in different directions which poses huge challenges to the ways we design protected areas,” Brito-Morales added. The research team believed action must be taken to aggressively manage carbon emissions.

“Significantly reducing carbon emissions is vital to control warming and to help take control of climate velocities in the surface layers of the ocean by 2100,” said study researcher Anthony Richardson. “But because of the immense size and depth of the ocean, warming already absorbed at the ocean surface will mix into deeper waters,” he added.

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This means that marine life in the deep ocean will face escalating threats from ocean warming until the end of the century, no matter what we do now. “This leaves only one option – act urgently to alleviate other human-generated threats to deep-sea life, including seabed mining and deep-sea bottom fishing,” the authors wrote. (IANS)

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Know About the Various Fasting Methods for Weight Loss

Fasting for weight loss: Know the pros and cons

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Weight loss
Fasting can have various health benefits and can help you out with your weight loss. Pixabay

Across India, fasting is generally linked with religious beliefs, and people fast before or during traditional rituals. On the other hand, fasting also has many health benefits and some of its pitfalls.

Many times, people ignore their bodily conditions and choose to fast. For instance, women who are breastfeeding or are pregnant must not fast. Also, people with Type 1 Diabetes who are on medication and people who have had a history with an eating disorder should consult a health specialist before altering a dietary pattern.

Fast can be done in various patterns: the ’16:8′ pattern involves 14 to 16 hours of fasting and eating between the 8 hours. Another fasting method is 5:2, that is fasting for alternate two days in a week.

Weight loss
A good diet can not only help you lose weight but it can also boost immunity. Pixabay

There are various types of fasting methods that you can follow considering your health condition, as says Shikha Mahajan, holistic nutritionist and founder of Diet Podium:

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting or IF includes reducing calorie intake for an interval of time so that the person fasts for the other hours. This kind of fasting allows restricting the calorie intake and results in weight loss. Time-Restricted Fasting is also similar to IF.

Water Fasting

Water fasting is a way of fasting where the individual only takes water and the intake of food is restricted for a duration of time. This kind of fasting should only be preferred under medical supervision. Sometimes doctors prescribe this kind of fasting to cure various health issues. There is a major drawback of this fasting. Since it is very difficult for a body to survive only on water. Therefore, it can cause many adverse effects on the body.

Weight loss
Water fasting can help you lose weight but should only be preferred under medical supervision. Pixabay

Fasting Mimicking Diet

This is the diet that tricks the body to think it is fasting. The individual is allowed to eat but only the diet which includes plant-based food, low in carbs and calories, and high in fat.

Here are some pros of fasting. Fasting helps to boost immunity. It naturally increases energy and will help you to feel more alert and focused throughout the day. It helps you attain a leaner, harder physique as fasting kills body fat dead.

There are cons of fasting too. The desire to binge after fasting is the biggest problem people face with fasting. Sometimes people tend to overeat during the non-fasting duration. This can lead to health issues like hormonal imbalances, increase in stress and migraines.

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Occasional lightheadedness is the major problem faced during fasting, To negate this con, you can start with shorter fasting periods first. Always remember fasting or changing your dietary pattern can make a big change to your body functioning, its metabolism and psyche.

Before opting for any kind of fast, consult a health expert and consider your health background. (IANS)