Climate Change and the mango trees in Bangalore

Climate Change and the mango trees in Bangalore
It was December and we were leaving for London to spend time with the family there. Looking up at the Mulgoba tree near the front of the house which probably is over 100 years old, planted by my grandfather, we noticed it covered with flowers. Bunches of flowers which is strange for mango tree which is blooms only around end March, beginning April to fruit through May and June.

With Climate Change happening and muddling up our fruit and flower trees, this weird phenomenon is happening year after year in Bangalore. Infact on the neighbours tree the mangoes are already fist sized. They are large and green with the pink tinge already beginning to show and yet on the other side of the tree, towards the road, there are just sprays of blooms like ours.

This is definitely linked to both climate change and or pollution. Since the inner branches, away from the road have the fruit beginning to show and the branches overhanging the road with newer and newer sprays of flowers.

Our fruit are just tiny and will take a long time to grow and we probably might see them fruit to size in May or June as Malgobas are a large fruit. And with the recent and sudden down- pour we lost a huge quantity of flowers, with the buffeting winds and rain. But the trauma faced by the tree by being hacked by the neighbour of its branches last year, seems to have abated. Seems to have recovered it’s equilibrium, as its massive crown is full of flowers.

Makes me think long and hard at Roald Dahl’s short story, where he spoke about an instrument made by an inventor which could hear sounds pitched higher than normal hearing could. And to his shock he could hear a tree scream in pain as it was being chopped down, a long scream with every chop.

So what is climate change all about and why is it affecting our trees, nature, weather patterns and everything around us? Climate Change for those who do not know is characterized by a general increase in average temperatures of the Earth, which modifies the weather balances and ecosystems for a long time. It is directly linked to the increase of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, worsening the greenhouse effect.

As per research by scientists, the average temperature of the planet has increased by 0.8º Celsius compared to the end of the 19th century. Each of the last three decades has been warmer than all previous decades since the beginning of the statistical surveys in 1850.

Looking at the pace of current CO2 emissions, scientists expect an increase of between 1.5° and 5.3°C in average temperature by 2100. If no action is taken, it would have harmful consequences to humanity and the biosphere. And as we know, the increase in greenhouse gases is directly linked to human activities.

So when there are changes in climate, trees and plants who follow a cycle of blooming, fruiting and dying, get mixed up triggers at odd times and so bloom and fruit, when they should not, like the mango tree.

But that’s fine for me ‘cause the delicious Raspuri and Badami which we have planted in the farm will fruit by March and this year looks like a bumper crop. Twenty trees will give enough fruit for us, my entire book club and good neighbours to enjoy.

And it’s a wonderful feeling to see our kids and grand- kids faces, when I carry kilos of the fruit for them,when I visit. They swear there is no fruit anywhere in the world, quite like our Indian mango!

I tend to agree with them.

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