in search of Green pasture: In one of my earlier post i mentioned about a killer chemical that mercilessly destroys every plant and related fauna. ………………………….

that s Atish plant , isn’t it…
why are they being sprayed?
usually grown in gardens, hedges I thought … why would they or their surrounding be sprayed?

SECONDLY... this is the horror that Rachel Carson wrote about in her seminal book “SILENT SPRING”… I read it a few months after it came out, it has affected my outlook on life like no other … it came out long before most of you were even born… but its good to read it now… its still very relevant.. new editions are out,,, most indian bookstores also carry it.. i think and many libraries too…

I assume that this might be an agricultural land and somebody (farmer) might have used some herbicide to kill all herbaceous plants. This is a common weeding practice in Kerala nowadays that kills all chlorophyllous plants. Now no laborer to pick the actual weeds. Nobody cares about the soil micro -flora and -fauna and their importance in agriculture. Everybody is after 20:20:0:15 (a fertilizer by FACT product). As long as they get chemical fertilizers they dont need to understand what is going on…. We see lots of changes in our farm after we stopped any chemical application in our farm for the last 10-13 years. We slowely reduced it.

Have you documented these changes… good b ad indifferent in flora, fauna diversity and crop yields, and health of the farm workers changes during use of and after stoppage of use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides… did you publish them/it?

We, my parents and my aunt are the farm workers. They are healthy and fully fit to do farming and all at their 60’s, unlike many people in Kerala at this age. We don’t do much farming practices. We have a mixed crop system in half of our land (out of 3.6acres) including Rubber, Coconut, Coffee, Nutmeg, Cocoa, Areca plant, Jack fruit tree, Ginger, Turmeric, other ginger family members, several medicinal plants, etc, etc. The rest of the area is a moist deciduous forest dominated by Tectona grandis and Terminalia spp. Medicinal plants are being used by ourself and neighbors who is in need. My mother use to suggest traditional medicines, she even knows medicines for cattle!

Unfortunately we haven’t noted down the changes systematically. Because we stopped fertilizer due to the price hike! Later we realized that there is no difference in yield after we stopped fertilizer. And recently I realized that the flora and fauna of older days are already back. It was not visible and I use to be in different places depending upon my work. Earthworms are back to our farm after long years. I now reckon that it take at least 8-10 years for earthworms to settle back once we stop fertilizer or pesticides.
We could understand that there is a big change especially in herbaceous plants and butterflies that feed on them (both adult and caterpillars). Then birds, I use to see many birds including Malabar Grey Horn bill. I have records of occasional sightings of Malabar Trogon and Malabar Whistling Thrush. Day before yesterday I have seen a Stork Billed Kingfisher, for the first time in our farm. I now, plan to get as many endemic plants as possible to make it become a butterfly area. We have Southern bird wing as well in our farm. The nearest forest is 4 km away from our farm.
Publication! never thought of it! Will try now.

gosh you are sitting on a gold mine for such informal citizen scientist type papers and you could recruit your parents, relatives etc to simply mark off near a picture of things you want to document … and collect the picture/paper from them once a week…
or it could be slate board near kitchen or something where a chalk could be hung, and they can mark off the sightings…

and record their verbal memory of what they used to see when they were young, and how for a few years they disappeared and then you can use your own scientific knowledge and do comparison between your farm and other farms in your area that are still using the chemicals and compare the vegetations in meter square plots… do it over a year or two…

take it from there…

also the kerala univ folks must have some grants funds available to do research of this kind… they look very progressive from where I sit… but the reality on the grounds may be different… though not impossible to find out…
SECONDLY ” she even knows medicines for cattle! talk to her and get her stories, record them on paper and may be even a recorder for that matter.. that’s your family heirloom … best of the kind… you may later decide at your leisure to publish it…

I often wonder how a few person become bookworms and memorize everything they learn. And you have taken the job of educating me! Now, it’s very tough job …, you are destined to fail this time!
But what is Atish plant? Did you mean ATASI plant? I am sure there was no ATASI in that place, the place is lying just outside our boundary wall. It’s a jungle of Glycosmis pentaphylla, ofcourse along with other plants like Echbolium, Clerodendrum etc. They spray herbicide to get rid of snakes, unwanted weeds so that they can grow plants like banana or drumstick.
And everybody supports them. I too want to save myself from snakebites. I too want to control weeds. Just can’t support this level of destruction.
Though wiki says that food plant for common lime covers both rutaceae and fabaceae members i can assure you that there was no fabaceae member in that place, nor even some common plants like Senna sophera or S. occidentalis. Moreover, according to wiki the cats. of lime feed on fabaceae in Australia and New Guinea.
But i must bow before you for the book, “Silent Spring”. I didn’t read it, nor even heard of it before, Conan Doyle – yes, Jules Verne – yes, Felu da – yes, but no Rachel Carson. Downloaded the ebook from –, otherwise it costs – 500/-! Yet to read it.
Attaching resized original images here for your perusal.

I agree with you, nobody cares…. However, this is not agri-land, it’s a usual piece of unutilized vacant land that can be found in any village.

I do not agree with you on the usage of herbicides to get rid of snakes. It is not necessary to go where snakes inhabits (if you are sure there are snakes).

I have been working in rain forests in the Western Ghats for the last 16 years and I never thought about snake bit but do think about that they are there. Because forest is the home for such animals and we are intruders.
I did my phd in Kudremukh forests. I took 4 years to complete my field work. At the same time, I assisted my colleague in the night to do her night sampling on crickets in a King Cobra country! I met with King cobra thrice, but not there. They go for their business, you have to give way for them to go. Otherwise they would question you! Any accidental step on their body would create mishaps. But it is the trust on forest and inhabitants, we go there. This is my believe. My colleague got bitten by Hump nosed pit Viper. She was always asking, like, “what to do if I get bitten by snake”? and “where and all we see them” each and every steps were with scary thoughts of snakebites.
I would suggest not to think of snakes with a scary mind setup but believe in yourself then things would be easy.
Hence I request to think that they are also good friend of us just like a cat or a dog. If you provoke your cat or dog too much, they would also bite, Isn’t it?

atish is a typo… atashi is it… sorry

except for a couple of books on occultism and spiritualism, dr doyle wrote fantasies/imaginatory stories…. jules verne: total fantasy, and feluda … too… but SILENT SPRING is altogether reality, and horrific reality at that… nothing fantasy based there all reported in scientific peer reviewed journals were digested and story put together by ms carson…

so its off copyright … available in ebook downloads… good… now read it … it would be a slow going… because now we know the results of those poisonings in greatee details than we did in 1960s….

happy reading, i wish i could say… but this book is a textbook or almost a textbook in many many environmental degree courses …

When & where did i say that i supported destructive use of fatal herbicides to get rid off snakes!!! Does any of the following posts reflect that?-
Yet, i killed 4 Russell’s vipers that entered into my bathroom, during the last five years, at night, each one in rainy season, year on year basis, each one hanging from bathroom door attached with main building, not outside the building that can be seen in many village households.

There was no ATASHI for sure. And the land is not ours but of one of my relatives.

“And everybody supports them. I too want to save myself from snakebites. I too want to control weeds. Just can’t support this level of destruction”.

I think I misunderstood then, I thought you are also included in that everybody. If I misunderstood and took it wrongly, please forgive me.

Please don’t consider that my mail was solely meant for you. But count it as a general feeling, if you don’t mind.




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