It’s so easy to become caught up in my physical role – my name, physical personality and looks; the social setup or family I’ve been born into, my friend circle, the school I went to, the person I married, the organization in which I work, the various material objects I own or possess. I forget my true identity, the spiritual being, and that it is me, the spirit or soul, who is experiencing life through this physical body and surrounding circumstances. The physical, human side is essential, but it’s the spirit, the being, the energy, which makes the journey. The physical body is the vehicle through which the journey is made. The people who exist in my life are also energies making their journeys through their respective vehicles. Looking at myself and others, when I realize who is making the journey and I remember this and maintain this spiritual consciousness throughout the day, I’m able to access spiritual treasures of peace, of power, of love and joy and see the same in others. It is because of not remaining in this remembrance; I remember and identify with the vehicle and experience my false identity. That is why we find ourselves empty of these treasures today. As a result there is a tremendous increase in interest in meditation throughout the world. Unlike in the past when this interest was seen primarily in the East, today relaxation and meditation is a blooming industry in the Western countries.
The more I become trapped by a materialistic consciousness, and the more I lose contact with my inner self, the less freedom I experience. The search of happiness through the physical senses brings temporary, short-lived gains. My life lacks depth when the only things I know, realize and feel are related to the loads of information I receive from the physical sense organs, and I become disconnected from the spiritual dimension.
If you thought plants are worried about the climate change and the increasing carbon emissions, think twice. Plants are in fact trying to make use of the increased carbon dioxide presence in the atmosphere now.
Biologists have identified plant enzymes that may help to engineer plants that take advantage of elevated carbon dioxide to use water more efficiently. The finding could help to engineer crops that take advantage of rising greenhouse gases.
Plants take in the carbon dioxide they need for photosynthesis through microscopic breathing pores in the surface of leaves. But for each molecule of the gas gained, they lose hundreds of water molecules through these same openings. The pores can tighten to save water when CO2 is abundant, but scientists didn’t know how that worked until now.
A team led by Julian Schroeder, professor of biology at the University of California, San Diego, has identified the protein sensors that control the response. Enzymes that react with CO2 cause cells surrounding the opening of the pores to close down, they report in the journal Nature Cell Biology.
The discovery could help to boost the response in plants that do not take full advantage of elevated levels of the gas, Schroeder says. “A lot of plants have a very weak response to CO2. So even though atmospheric CO2 is much higher than it was before the industrial age and is continuing to increase, there are plants that are not capitalizing on that. They’re not narrowing their pores, which would allow them to take in CO2, while losing less water,” he said. “It could be that with these enzymes, you can improve how efficiently plants use water, while taking in CO2 for photosynthesis. Our data in the lab suggest that the CO2 response can be cranked up.”
Plants lose 95 per cent of the water they take in to evaporation through these pores, also called stoma. Modifying crops to be more responsive to CO2 could help farmers meet demand for food as competition for water increases. In California, for example, 79 per cent of water diverted from streams and rivers or pumped from the ground is used for agriculture according to the California Department of Water Resources.
Schroeder’s team identified a pair of proteins that are required for the CO2 response in Arabidopsis, a plant commonly used for genetic analysis. The proteins, enzymes called carbonic anhydrases, split CO2 into bicarbonate and protons. Plants with disabled genes for the enzymes fail to respond to increased CO2 concentrations in the air, losing out on the opportunity to conserve water.
Several types of cells in plant leaves contain carbonic anhydrases, including those responsible for photosynthesis, but Schroeder’s team showed that the enzymes work directly within a pair of cells, called guard cells, that control the opening of each breathing pore. By adding normal carbonic anhydrase genes designed to work only in guard cells they were able to restore the CO2-triggered pore-tightening response in mutant plants.
Adding extra copies of the genes to the guard cells actually improved water efficiency, the researchers found. “The guard cells respond to CO2 more vigorously” said Honghong Hu, a post doctoral researcher in Schroeder’s lab and co-first author of the report. “For every molecule of CO2 they take in, they lose 44 percent less water”
The action of carbonic anhydrases is specific to changes in CO2, the researchers found. Mutant plants still open their pores in response to blue light, a sign that photosynthesis can begin. And their pores also shut when water is scarce, a response mediated by a plant drought-stress hormone.
Photosynthesis continued normally in the mutants as well, suggesting that altering CO2 sensitivity wouldn’t stunt growth – good news if the goal is to engineer drought-resistant crops with robust yields.
But saving water and surviving heat involves a tradeoff for plants: Evaporation of water through the pores also cools the plant, just like sweat cools human beings. If future growing conditions are hotter and drier, as they are predicted to be in some parts of the world, then modifications to the CO2 response will need to be carefully calibrated.
These pictures are part of the exhibit “Running the Numbers, an American Self Portait”, of photographer Chris Jordan, highlighting the millions of objects that accumulate in the planet, well beyond our sight.
The numbers mentioned were obtained from the quantities of waste discarded only in the United States.
Imagine what world figures are!
Environmental degradation is a cumulative effect of the actionseach one of us takes… Therefore, the solution also lies within each one of us.Help our planet!Think before you use!Reduce, reuse, recycle…