Are Trees Intelligent?

Why does nature make us feel serene and more peaceful?

Trees and plants emit oil to protect themselves from germs. Visiting forests can decrease blood pressure, help depression, decrease stress hormones and even reduce cancerous cells in the body. The fragrance that the plants emit helps us in many ways.

This is sometimes referred to as forest bathing.

Do trees communicate?

Sort of!

While they may not have human-like communication abilities, trees actually help out and support each other through a vast network under the ground. These networks are made up of fungi and tree roots that intertwine. The network is sometimes called the wood-wide web. Through these, the trees send nutrients and food to one another. They are also used for sending warnings to other trees when danger approaches. This is an example of symbiosis – which means that 2 or more organisms live in harmony and help each other out whenever possible. This shows that trees may be much more intelligent than we think.

If attacked, a plant will either release toxins to repel the attacker or instead attract predators so that the attacker gets eaten! The amazing fragrance of freshly cut grass is actually a distress signal sent out by the plant.

Here’s a video that briefly explains the concept. This video is by Fusion.

Watch the video (1 min. 41 sec.)

Watch the above video and then answer the following questions:

Hope you learnt something from this article! Be sure to leave a comment below and share it if you enjoyed reading it!

 

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Ozone Depletion

Are you below 10 years old? Read the article below. If not, scroll further down.

The Ozone Layer is a part of our atmosphere, which means that it is in the sky. It protects us from the UV rays of the sun. UV rays are very harmful for us, and they can hurt us badly if we don’t cover and protect ourselves. But thankfully, the Ozone Layer comes to the rescue, and helps keep out all the bad UV rays!

The sad news is that the Ozone Layer is breaking, and it is because of us! It is breaking because we pollute the air too much. How can we save it? It’s easy!

We need to:

Tell your parents to buy 5 star appliances (machines like the fridge and the AC) only! When you throw away your machines, they start polluting a LOT! Tell them to throw it away properly and read this article!

For people above or 10 years old.

Ozone is a colourless gas, formed from oxygen by electrical discharges or ultraviolet light. (Simplified: it is a gas without any colour).

The ozone layer is the part of our atmosphere where there is a high concentration of Ozone (O3). It lies in the Stratosphere, the second layer of our atmosphere, and absorbs the harmful UV rays of the sun. UV rays, or ultraviolet rays, are harmful if exposed to excessively, and can cause problems like cataract (affects eye) and even skin cancer.

Here is how the process goes:-

  1. We are exposed to the ultraviolet radiation. After a while, our skin starts to tan. This is because of the melanin, a pigment in our skin.
  2. We get sunburned.
  3. Later in life, after a lot of exposure to UV rays, skin diseases start to occur.

However, UV Rays aren’t entirely harmful, as they provide us heat that we require and are necessary for our bodies to produce Vitamin D. The ozone layer does not totally block out the UV rays, but instead filter some of it out.

Ozone Hole

Have you heard of the hole in the ozone layer? It isn’t a literal hole, but it is thinner than the rest of the layer at that point. The ozone hole allows UV Rays to pass through and greatly harms living beings on earth. The ozone hole was discovered in 1985 above Antarctica by Joe Farman, Brian Gardiner and Jonathan Shanklin.

Image result

Ozone Hole found above Antarctica in 1985

The ozone was getting depleted due to the Methyl Bromide, Halons and CFCs (or Chlorofluorocarbons) produced by humans while disposing of appliances, using aerosols etc. CFC was invented by Thomas Midgley, and has been banned because it is environmentally unsafe.

On discovering the ozone hole depletion, many foundations and activist organisations took action. Many meetings were held to discuss solutions to these problems. The most famous were:-

  • Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer in 1985
  • Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987 (in which 197 countries signed a treaty to phase out harmful substances like CFCs).
  • Rwana HFC Agreement (to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, which are also harmful).

 

Credits – to TED-Ed for the video on skin colour (click to watch). To pitara.com & en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozone_depletion for the pictures.

Aside

Weekly InfoBit – The Ozone Layer

Weekly InfoBit

Are you below 10 years old? Read the article below. If not, scroll further down.

The Ozone Layer is a part of our atmosphere, which means that it is in the sky. It protects us from the UV rays of the sun. UV rays are very harmful for us, and they can hurt us badly if we don’t cover and protect ourselves. But thankfully, the Ozone Layer comes to the rescue, and helps keep out all the bad UV rays!

The sad news is that the Ozone Layer is breaking, and it is because of us! It is breaking because we pollute the air too much. How can we save it? It’s easy!

We need to:

Tell your parents to buy 5 star appliances (machines like the fridge and the AC) only! When you throw away your machines, they start polluting a LOT! Tell them to throw it away properly and read this article!

For people above or 10 years old.

Ozone is a colourless gas, formed from oxygen by electrical discharges or ultraviolet light. (Simplified: it is a gas without any colour).

The ozone layer is the part of our atmosphere where there is a high concentration of Ozone (O3). It lies in the Stratosphere, the second layer of our atmosphere, and absorbs the harmful UV rays of the sun. UV rays, or ultraviolet rays, are harmful if exposed to excessively, and can cause problems like cataract (affects eye) and even skin cancer.

Here is how the process goes:-

  1. We are exposed to the ultraviolet radiation. After a while, our skin starts to tan. This is because of the melanin, a pigment in our skin.
  2. We get sunburned.
  3. Later in life, after a lot of exposure to UV rays, skin diseases start to occur.

 

Interested in this topic? Read the full Ozone Layer article here on The EcoClub United, by searching for it in the search bar.

Credits – to TED-Ed for the video on skin colour (click to watch) & to pitara.com for the picture.

Aside

Weekly InfoBit

Do trees communicate?

Sort of!

While they may not have human-like communication abilities, trees actually help out and support each other through a vast network under the ground . These networks are made up of fungi and tree roots that intertwine. Through these, the trees send nutrients and food to one-another. They are also used for sending warnings to other trees when danger approaches. This is an example of symbiosis – which means that 2 or more organisms live in harmony and help each other out whenever possible. This shows that trees may be much more intelligent than we think.

Watch the video (1 min. 41 sec.)

Watch the above video and then answer the following questions:

Waste Segregation

The sorting of waste into separate bins is called waste segregation. You can segregate waste by clubbing waste into categories and bins. Here are some basic categories to start you on your way.

  • Paper
  • Cardboard (including packaging for return to suppliers)
  • Glass (clear, tinted – no light bulbs or window panes, which belong with residual waste)
  • Plastics
  • Textiles
  • Wood, leather, rubber
  • Scrap metal
  • Compost (goes into the composting bin)
  • Special/hazardous waste
  • Residual waste (light bulbs, window panes)
  • E-waste (computer bits and electronic devices to be thrown away)

You can call a recycler <–(Google Link) or locally recycle it.

Waste sorting/segregation is a great way to reduce your waste. If you don’t sort your waste, all of it will go to a landfill, where it’ll stink and rot and make the place smell horrible! So make sure you get multiple bins for these categories and throw waste in respectively.

It’s great to waste segregate!

 

PS. Information was taken from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waste_sorting. Link use is not advised for people below 10 years.

Can a handful of dirt save us from Climate Change?

How old are you? (this will help you read and understand it better)

For people below 10 years old

The first thing you should understand is that there is way too much carbon in the air. The extra carbon starts trapping heat from the sun and heats up the earth. This is called Global Warming (or Climate Change). Now, normally, all of this carbon would remain underground, as plants take in carbon dioxide to make food, and pump it into the soil so that bacteria has something to eat. But nowadays, all of that carbon has escaped into the air and made the air polluted!

So how do we solve this problem?

When we plant trees, we make sure that the carbon stays underground and makes all the bacteria healthy. So get out some shovels and seeds, and start planting!

For people above 10 years old

The soil originally had a lot of carbon in it, which was great for micro-organisms that thrive with carbon. Approximately 1,500 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide has been released into the atmosphere, where it causes major problems for us – like global warming. Soil is filled with live forms. In fact, a handful of soil contains more organisms than all the living humans in the world!

They’re mostly filled with micro-organisms like protozoa, fungi et cetera. They enrich the soil and make it healthy. In turn, the carbon keeps them healthy too. It’s a wonderful cycle. Since plants use carbon dioxide in photosynthesis, they pump it into the ground

We rely on healthy soil for 95% of what we eat. When soil is damaged it releases the carbon into the atmosphere. The soil in most places around the world have already lost about 50% of their original carbon.

Have you heard of the Paris Agreement? It was an agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. They said that if we increase soil carbon by o.4%, we could make the world a much healthier place.

So how do we solve this problem?

  1. Plant trees ( A LOT OF TREES)
  2. Do NOT use fertilizers to do away with insects.
  3. Do use composts and natural Khaad (Indian Term).
  4. Try growing a diverse range of plants instead of just one kind.
  5. Spread word about these problems concerning soil.

Look up:

Plastic Around Us

Take a second to look around you, especially if you’re in your own house. Now, scan through and see the number of plastic items around you. From bottles and pencil stands to computers and furniture, you may have as many as twenty plastic things in the room.

Now, let’s club them into categories. This will help us see what we can reduce, reuse and recycle.

  • E-waste – computers, laptops and tablets made of plastic? If it’s old, give it to an e-waste recycler near you, and make sure it is disposed of safely, or it could cause trouble.
  • One-time-use – cutlery, thermocol plates, plastic water bottles fall in this category. They must be crushed after use (as it says on the bottle) as the plastic is bad quality and disintegrates (breaks down slowly). You can’t see it, but if you reuse that old bottle, you aren’t doing any good to neither yourself nor to the planer. Send it to a plastic recycler immediately.
  • Good Quality Plastic – Plastics like tupperware are good quality, and are not likely to disintegrate or ruin the contents. But if it’s broken beyond repair, make sure it goes straight into a recycling bin.
  • Biodegradable Plastic – This, by far, is my favourite kind. Biodegradable means that you can stick it in a hole in the ground, cover it up with mud, and some time later, it’ll disappear and become part of the soil! For this kind, try keeping it in your garden soil. But don’t leave it lying there! Cover it up with enough soil for it to blend with the soil. Learn about biodegradable things.
  • So much more! – there are loads of categories for plastic. So here’s a research project to help you learn more about them –

Research Project – on the many categories of plastic. Learn of at least five.

9 Ways to Deal With the Problem

  1. Avoid one-time-use items.
  2. Buy stuff second-hand (It’s not a sign of cheapness as many think, it means you care for Earth).
  3. Get metal or glass bottles for everyday use – (unlike plastic – glass can be recycled as many times as you want – and its quality will remain the same! How cool is that?)
  4. Instead of one-time-use items, use biodegradable ones. (Many airlines serve this sort of cutlery. If you own your own catering business – switch to biodegradable!)
  5. Don’t use plastic bottles for storage multiple times, though you can reuse it for other crafty purposes.
  6. Click on the recycling links in this article to give away your old things to recyclers near you.
  7. Switch to a bamboo toothbrush. There are many alternatives to plastic things, so choose them instead.
  8. Segregate your waste – divide it into ‘kitchen waste’, ‘paper waste’ and ‘plastic waste’ and recycle each separately.
  9. Educate yourself and others around you about the problem.