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Sunday, 19 July 2009

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The monsoon rains

In an agricultural country like Sri Lanka, the monsoon rains are important. The monsoons are very unique wind patterns that occur in the Indian Ocean, and in South Asia. They bring a lot of rain to the area. During the period from May to September, the south-western monsoon recedes and the north-eastern monsoon season begins.

When the sun is rising over the northern hemisphere during the months of May to September, the atmosphere over central Asia gets warmer and the air rises to create a low pressure area. The area in the southern hemisphere over the Indian Ocean is colder and the air pressure is very much higher than in the northern parts. So, the air from the southern high pressure area moves towards the low pressure area in the north and this is known as the "South-west Monsoon" . The south-west monsoon rain pushess the rain clouds towards the southern low lands. In the south-western monsoon season, rain is limited to two or three months, giving a short time period to do many things. In order to make the best use of this monsoon rain, short term crops have to be cultivated.

The New Year and other festivals as well as the Yala and Maha seasons are fixed according to these rain patterns. The Maha season occurs in the time period between November and February. This season is mainly used for long term crop cultivation, like paddy. Choosing the right crops at the right time (season) gives more advantage in having a rich harvest.The central hills and the areas in south-western Sri Lanka receive a very high rainfall from the south-western monsoon, while the north and north-eastern areas receive fair rain from the north-eastern monsoons. So, the failure of these rains can bring disaster to Sri Lanka as we depend on the monsoon rains for cultivation, hydropower production and for other day-to-day utilities.Sometime the monsoons are dangerous because of strong winds and lightning. Some monsoons help in many ways. Monsoon rains and winds are used to generate electricity. At a time when energy is scarce and costly this simple method is a good way to get the maximum use of the monsoon rains. Also collecting rainwater can be useful to solve the problem of getting clean water. However, there are some negative effects that come about due to the monsoon rains. Heavy rains during these monsoons wash away the rich soil and floods are also possible. It's up to us to make the best use of the monsoon rains.


Prevent sea erosion

Sea erosion has become a major environmental problem today. Great damage has been caused to our country's coastal belt as a result of sea erosion.

Huge waves break relentlessly against the coast during both day and night. Each time the waves touch the coastline, they carry a little bit of sand or earth away. It is said that the shape of our country has even changed over the past years due to sea erosion. Sea erosion is prevented to a certain extent by coral reefs which are a living thing.

As these coral reefs prevent the soil from being washed away into the sea, we should protect them. But most people have not realised the value of these coral reefs. And so, they mine dead coral along the coastal belt. In fact, coral mining has become their livelihood. When coral reefs that prevent sea erosion are destroyed there is flooding in these areas. Many roadways and properties are washed away into the sea. The government has set up a separate department called the 'Coast' Conservation Department to look into this serious issue. This department has taken several steps to protect the coastal belt. Tons and tons of granite blocks have been piled up on the coast to protect the land from being washed away. The Department has drawn up a special programme in collaboration with the Forest Conservation Department to protect the coast that, is to build small forests on the coast. These forests will keep the waters from coming into the land.


Do you eat the right food?

We all need a healthy diet to stay alive and do our day-to-day activities well. If we do not get the required energy, our body will not operate well. This means that we should have a balanced diet to get the necessary energy. So, our daily intake of food should include proteins, sugars, fats, vitamins and minerals.

There are lots of sources through which we get energy. They are carbohydrates, which actually are calories, such as sugar and cereals. Minerals are inorganic substances that are vital to our health. We get them mostly through green leaves. Proteins mean nutritional compounds that are essential for the existence of life. The main sources of proteins are meat and cheese. Vitamins are essential for the normal functioning of the body. The main sources are fresh fruits and vegetables.The next question is how much should we eat? That depends on the age and the sort of work you do. Manual workers need more calories than the office workers. Children need more calories than old people, because the former use more calories.

Pizzas are good for you if they contain a mixture of food. But beef burgers and pizzas are bad for us because of the additives and flavours, which have no food value, are used in them. So, beware when you next bite into one of these!Remember that a balanced diet is always good for you.


Think about our future...

Today in the modern world man has become the main destroyer of nature and as a result of this ruthlessness, our own future is threatened.

Global warming is one of the main threats, and this occurs when the ozone layer is destroyed. The heat received from the Sun is absorbed by the Earth, as a result of man's cruel activities which include deforestation and release of industrial and domestic waste into the atmosphere. Due to this not only man, but also other creature living on Earth are also facing a lot of difficulty.

Today, some of the animals are threatened with extinction; polar bears, elephants and some of the rare species of plant are listed as endangered.

Trees help us by supplying oxygen for us to breathe.

But deforestation has left many lands infertile. This will leave us with impure air to breathe. Man's careless actions have also led to the melting of the ice caps in the Polar regions. This means that the sea levels will rise and therefore some of the countries that we see today will go under water in a few years' time. As a matter of fact, some of the animals that are living in these cold areas will die because of changing temperatures.

As this is a growing concern not only to you and me, but also to all the living beings on this Earth, we should make it a point to live without harming nature. Because, at any time nature can retaliate. Little things matter a lot. So, we can save the planet by doing some of the little things like replanting trees, reducing the burning of non-biodegradable items and reducing the destruction of natural habitats. These are only a few ways that can make a big difference. In order to see a better tomorrow, we should all get together to save our Planet Earth.


I want to be a scientist

My ambition is to become a scientist one day. I think it will be one of the best experiences that any one could have because it’s a special field. I have a small lab at home.Science is my favourite subject as there are lots of new things to learn. In my leisure, I read various books related to science to improve my knowledge about this subject. Scientists can be classed into various fields such as astronomers, astrologers, geologists, physicists, and biologists.

I like to be an astronomer or a physicist. That’s why I see the night sky everyday and note down everything I observe in a book under the title ‘observations of the night sky.’ As my brother also hopes to become a scientist, both of us carry out simple experiments at home everyday.

Even though I have collected many details about the various scientists of the world, my favourite scientist is Sir Issac Newton. This is because he had a very curious nature which a scientist should have.

I believe that I also have this quality because I usually ask lots of questions about the world around us. My science teacher always helps me. While my ambition is to pursue science, my main dream is to visit “NASA” in America.

I really wish my ambition to become a scientist one day will not be only a dream.

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