Table of Contents
What is killing the pride of Gujarat’s Gir?
- Between 12-19 September, 11 lions died due to infighting and infections, whereas 10 more died between 20-30 September
- Earlier it was found, infighting is the main reason for the death of Gir Lions for territorial dominance.
- But this reason was discarded as deaths also include female lions (fighting for territorial dominance is a major task of only males).
- According to officials, a deadly combination of Canine Distemper Virus and Protozoal infection is responsible for the death of at least 11 of 23 lions in the Gir sanctuary.
- Two senior big cat experts have said that the recent deaths of lions in Gujarat have once again driven home the point that the Asiatic Lion needs a second home in India and those who have been opposing the same are criminally responsible for the recent deaths.
- According to them, genetic variation is very low among Asiatic Lions.
- Each animal is related to the other since they all descended from a small founding stock. Genetic variation is needed for resistance to disease.
- This being, not the case, the alleles that should have been avoided, are being reflected. Since there is no resistance, disease (like Canine Distemper in this case) spreads more rapidly.
- According to scientists, it is a criminal act as, despite given warnings in past, the state government didn’t take any actions.
- The Supreme Court too had asked for the translocation of the lions in 2013. But all in vain.
About Gir Lions:
The Gir Lions are species of Asiatic Lions. Its range is restricted to the Gir Forest National Park in the Indian state of Gujarat. On the IUCN Red List, it is listed as Endangered because of its small size and area of occupancy.
Farm economics deteriorating
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, from 687 protests in 2014, these demonstrations increased to 2,683 in 2015, and then doubled to 4,837 a year later. In other words, protests have multiplied seven times in three years, a clear reflection of the farmers’ growing anger.
In the past six months, the nation has seen a peaceful long march, from Nasik to Mumbai, followed by a 10-day protest in June to stop food supplies to the cities, and then again, another march to New Delhi by the All-India Kisan Sabha. In addition, numerous protests across the country have gone unnoticed.
According to government officials, they have taken various decisions to improving farmers conditions. Then what is driving these protests?
According to article; a large chunk of farmers is in debt. Two major demands they ask for is waiving off their loans and increase MSP for crops. Government has hiked MSP for kharif crops and recently for Rabi crops too. But still, all crops are not covered under it.
For both the demands, the government needs a huge sum of money.
According to the author, the government infuses thousands of crores to stimulate banking sector, recently for IL&FS, as banks are major source of economic activities. But they forget that agriculture being the largest employer in India, needs more attention.
A clean environment for human empowerment
This article talks about the beautiful relation between nature and human. It says that our first civilization established near the river. Nature nurtured and nourished us always.
We as a society needs to develop a harmonious relation with nature. According to the article, three steps can bring change in society:
- Internal consciousness:
- For that, there is no better place to look than our glorious past. Respect for nature is at the core of India’s traditions. t is beautifully written in Atharvaveda, “Salutations to Mother Earth.
- The ancient write about the Panch Tattvas — Prithvi (Earth), Vayu (Air), Jal (Water), Agni (Fire), Akash (Sky) —and how our life systems are based on the harmonious functioning of these elements.
- Leading lifestyles that are harmonious and sustainable are a part of our ethos. Once we realize how we are flag bearers of a rich tradition, it will automatically have a positive impact on our actions.
- Public awareness:
- We need to talk, write, debate, discuss and deliberate as much as possible on questions relating to the environment.
- At the same time, it is vital to encourage research and innovation on subjects relating to the environment. This is when more people will know about the pressing challenges of our times and ways to mitigate them.
- Proactive in working towards a sustainable environment:
- When we as a society are aware of our strong links with environmental conservation and talk about it regularly, we will automatically be proactive in working towards a sustainable environment.
- Proactiveness is seen in the Swachh Bharat Mission, which is directly linked to a sustainable future. With the blessings of the people of India, over 85 million households now have access to toilets for the first time.
- Proactiveness is seen in the success of the Ujjwala Yojana, which has significantly reduced indoor air pollution due to unhealthy cooking practices that were causing respiratory diseases.
- The government has initiated various other projects which works toward a sustainable future.
The world needs to shift to a paradigm of environmental philosophy that is anchored in environmental consciousness rather than merely government regulations.
Together, we will create a clean environment that will be the cornerstone of human empowerment.
Nobel Prize in Chemistry for Frances H. Arnold, George P. Smith, Sir Gregory Winter
- The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, has been announced.
- One half of the prize has been awarded to Frances H Arnold for the directed evolution of enzymes and the other to George P Smith and Gregory P Winter for their work on the phage display of peptides and antibodies. Let’s understand their work.
- Arnold’s work:
Enzymes are biological catalysts which speed up biochemical reactions in human bodies. Arnold, who is currently at the California Institute of Technology in the United States, was the first to demonstrate directed evolution of enzymes to create new catalysts in 1993. Such new enzymes can be used to manufacture pharmaceuticals with less negative consequences on the environment and renewable bio fuels which can have a huge impact on the world’s transportation sector.
Antibodies are proteins produced by the human body to fight foreign microorganisms which can cause disease and infection. Peptides are made up of amino acids and are smaller than regular proteins. They are often used to study the structure of other proteins and also create new antibodies.
Phage display is a technique by which a bacteriophage, a virus that infects bacteria, is used to produce new proteins. Antibodies produced by this method have been used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel diseases, autoimmune diseases and even metastatic cancer. Smith, who was the first to develop phage display in 1985, is currently at the University of Missouri in the US and Winter, who used it for the directed evolution of antibodies, works at the MRC laboratory of Molecular Biology in the United Kingdom (UK).
All the three laureates this year have understood the basic principles of evolution and applied them to hasten the process a thousand times, paving the way for the development of new chemical molecules.