New Delhi: July 17 marks the birth anniversary of American scientist and women’s rights activist, Eunice Newton Foote. Ms Foote was the first person to discover the greenhouse effect and its role in the warming of Earth’s climate in 1856. Google decided to mark the 204th birthday of Ms Foote in a quirky yet educational way. Celebrating her legacy, Google created an interactive doodle with 11 slides, explaining the concept of the greenhouse effect that now helps us understand climate change.
Born in 1819 in Connecticut, Ms Foote attended the Troy Female Seminary, a school that encouraged students to attend science lectures and participate in chemistry labs. And that’s how science became a lifelong passion for Ms Foote.
She conducted experiments on her own. After placing mercury thermometers in glass cylinders, she discovered that the cylinder containing carbon dioxide experienced the most significant heating effect in the sun. Ms Foote was ultimately the first scientist to make the connection between rising carbon dioxide levels and the warming of the atmosphere. Today, this is known as the “greenhouse effect”.
The Google Doodle which derives colours from the nature – yellow, orange and red of the sun and some shades of green and blue, explains Ms Foote’s discovery in detail. The slideshow states, “She observed the temperatures of outdoor air vs. various gases when heated. Compared to the outdoor air, CO2 and water vapour heated up more and took much longer to cool back down. When radiation from the sun is absorbed by the Earth, some gets re-emitted as infrared radiation. Gases like CO2 absorb and reflect heat back to Earth, creating the ‘greenhouse effect’. Over time, higher levels of these greenhouse gases in our atmosphere raise the Earth’s temperature.”
Though her research was largely ignored for almost 100 years, Ms Foote was the first to plant a seed of interest in the issue of climate change. Today, many continue her work in the hope of understanding an improving life on Earth.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.