Monday, 25 January 2010

Nature and Nurture- Pets (part 2)

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated- Gandhi

For a truly beneficial metamorphosis, change has to first commence from within. This is of great significance especially if children seek to emulate the very attitudes seen in their parents. Of course, I may be generalising. But yet, undeniably, parents wield a tremendous influence- whether positive or negative.

One approach towards creating environmentally responsible citizens of tomorrow is by parents instilling in them a love for fauna. This can be easily started by keeping pets (and the choices are infinite: fishes, cats, dogs, hamsters, mice…. and, if space permits, even hens and goats) and encouraging children to participate in the upkeep of these animals, even (and especially) during the times when it falls ill. Having pets also exposes children to the cycles and mysteries of life- lessons best learned from nature than from the classroom- and they would develop a supportive stance towards the welfare of other animals too. Similarly, hobbies could be started, such as identifying the flora and fauna (and migratory animals) around them and starting a photo collection of these.

At Beth Shalom, we’ve been brought up with animals. We would help in the upkeep of a neighbour’s cows (from where we also bought milk), and we ourselves used to have hens. Even now, we have fishes, cats, and a dog, and provide feed for pigeons and squirrels, and a bird bath (which is also frequented by crows and kites). Our parents also ensure that some fruits are left unplucked so that the urban fauna could enjoy these in leisure.

As Ruth mentioned, our animal rescue activities concentrated not just on our pets, but also on the urban wildlife in our locality, which included mongoose, stray cats, squirrels, bats, insects, and numerous birds (including crow pheasants, koels, sparrows, wagtails, owls, and barbets). It is hard to quantify the happiness upon seeing these recover and re-enter into the world!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Nature and Nurture- part 1

When replying to Ruth’s previous post, I was rather bothered to realise that my ‘comment’ was assuming the dimensions of a fully-fledged blog post! But since this has drifted on into a post of epic proportions, I shall post my responses, over the next few days, in easily digestible capsules. So yes, indeed! But whilst I am so grateful to our parents for instilling in us an appreciation and awareness of nature and the environment, it is hard to find such attitude in a good proportion of parents. Perhaps, it is because they don’t give two hoots to the environment (and nature), for their sole priority is the progress of themselves and their families. Even if the environment is being destroyed around them, they wouldn’t raise a word of dissent unless this destruction results in affecting them as well. Undeniably, two sets of individuals hold a great influence over the character development of a child: parents and educators. In fact, although education opens the minds of these children, parents (naturally) play a much more decisive role in determining the attitudes towards nature and the environment. So how can parents mold the environmentally responsible citizens of tomorrow? More tomorrow…..

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The micro-ecosystems in our gardens

An unique gift my parents have given me is an increased awareness of the environment . The compound where our family home is located is a forest in its own right, with several mature trees, hundreds of shrubs and herbs. The house is surrounded by a diverse garden, not one of those perfectly manicured ones akin to those listed on 'Country Life' , but a disorderly array of flora that forms the habitat of many species of fauna. As long as I can remember, my siblings and I were taught to appreciate, respect and protect the living forms around thus. Many a time, one of my siblings would bring an injured animal to the house . This would be followed promptly by frenetic phone calls to the vet , the WWF and any portal of further information relating to the potential infirmity the animal had, and identification of remedial measures. Often these animals would be nursed to health and then released . On other occassions, some of the injured animals would die resulting in tears and tantrums.

Our garden is still a haven for several species of birds, notably the crow pheasant, flycatchers, Drongos, mynah's ,koel, sunbird, the occasional woodpecker, kingfishers and visiting parakeets in summer. This is only a short list. Palm civets, squirrels, fruit bats & mongoose are notable mammals. My parents have baskets on tree tops where they leave food for the squirrels. The diversity of flora is perhaps another reason for the myriads of butterfly species that frequent our garden. Very few of our neighbours share our enthusiasm to a degree . The gardens of some houses are paved with concrete with very few plants forming a hostile terrain for fauna. The contrast is all too visible to see, reflecting what happens in the wilderness.

All it takes is a litle effort. A small step towards preserving the ecosystems in our backyard will no doubt result in positive ramifications beyond our confines.

Save my seas

Here’s a little food for thought, which may especially resonate for those of us who diligently maintain aquariums and ensures that no trace of oil ends up in the water. Now, what happens to the marine ecosystems, with all the commercial liners, merchant vessels, and tankers spewing out such pollutants?

Thursday, 14 January 2010


Thank you for visiting this blog. Whatever reason may have brought you to this blog, we hope that you will find an increased appreciation for our fragile planet here. Although we realize, that this blog might not answer the questions that you have, we hope that it will certainly stimulate more .

This blog is /will feature contributions from several people as opposed to one single person.

Who are we?

We are a handful of individuals who are concerned about the environment. We are based in three different continents : Asia, South America and Europe. We were educated in some of the well known universities on different disciplines and are employed in different facets, but unified by one single thread that binds us-our concern for the environment. Some of us have engaged/ or are currently working on research projects concerned with environment. We do not claim to know all the answers to the questions, but we hope that we can stimulate some degree of healthy debate. Currently there are four contributors to this blog- DB-based in Brazil, SS & JS -based in India and RS based in the UK.

So what is ecoratorio?

We made this word up by combining ecology and oratorio. We believe that the name is apt for our thoughts in the cyberspace because it encapsulates the two key elements that are the cornerstones of this blog.
The Merrian Webster dictionary defines an oratorio as 'a lengthy choral work usually of a religious nature consisting chiefly of recitatives, arias, and choruses without action or scenery'. We believe that a concern for the environment is a sacred duty. Here we will give our views on it. You are unlikely to find that our views agree with each other and perhaps that is where our blog will differ. After all we are indviduals, with our individual views which will be reflected here.


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