Monday, June 7, 2010

Plant, Nurture and Protect trees

I was on a holiday recently in Uttrakhand - a state in India famous for its majestic mountain ranges forming part of the mighty Himalayas. The name Himalayas brings into mind pictures of blue mountains thick with crisp cool air, lush green forests, fresh cool water springs, streams and rivers and snow clad peaks. In parts this is true. One does get to see all this and more.

Yet, over the years, I have seen a steady decline of the green cover. This is partly due to the local populace using the timber for building houses, heating homes etc. I also saw an alarming trend of people cutting and burning trees to create terrace farms to cultivate crops. The other thing I noticed was the devastation to the trees caused by the process of road construction. While there are many who contribute to this decline, the work of increasing green cover is sadly left to nature.

Such a destruction of green belt leads to havoc to the environment. Trees support the entire chain of life starting from tiny insects to larger creatures including human beings. With the disappearance of trees, one can see a steady decline of life all around. Landslides occur more frequently and leads to exposing the rocky undersides of the mountains which increases the heat. The snow line starts receding affecting the water supply. The lives of millions of people will be adversely affected in the coming years.

In my view, we are rapidly running downhill towards destruction and only a miracle or a dramatic change of peoples approach can help improve things.

As I reflected on this, one thought struck my mind. For a long time, our society has ignored the person who plants, nourishes and protects trees. Instead, we reward the person who cuts the trees by purchasing the produce from him. One simple way to improve things is to change this equation. Can we start recognising and rewarding the planter or creator and start punishing the cutter / destroyer? If we do this, more people will be incentivised to turn creators.

There are many who love trees and wish they could do something to help. Most however, get distracted and de-focused over time. There are very few who take action and make things happen. Each of us can make a difference. In our respective localities, we can make efforts to help plant, nurture and protect trees. We can cajole, coerce or convince people to support this movement. Terrace farms can be converted into terrace orchards with fruit bearing trees.

Let us make the earth a better place. Lets become creators of a better tomorrow. Lets us give our children and grand children a greener, cooler and better earth to live in.


Latha Nair said...

It is pathetic indeed to see the once-abundant green cover vanish without a trace. Most of our hill stations have been grossly deforested and it is only in states like Kerala and Karnataka that the forest cover is still intact.
I fully agree with your view that monetary compensation might have a better chance of making afforestation/reforestation work in our country. Look at what happened with Project EPIC cards-laborers refused to go to get photographed as they valued the day's wages more than tomorrow's benefits if they own the card. When people struggle for their rozi roti, how can anyone talk to them about environment? It makes sense to talk to them in a language that makes sense to them-MONEY.
So much of thought has gone into your post. Thanks for sharing

SUBS said...

we are losing time... and nothing really happening !

Amritbir Kaur said...

A great message that needs to be followed by one and all...If we all are conscious towards the environment, we can improve the situation drastically.

Sonal Raisinghani said...

I agree to the issues raised by you but apart from what you have listed there are few others on which we need to ponder upon since they are equally responsible for reduction in green cover of plants.

India is the second largest populated country in the world Population of India is 1.18 billion which is more than 1/6th of world population, Growth rate is 1.55% and death rate is 6 per 1000.
In my opinion there are three major causes of environment degradation 1) Population growth - it has created tremendous pressure on our natural resources
2)Rapid and unplanned expansion of cities: Forests are cut to pave way for new roads, developmental projects.
2) Poverty : rural population depends largely on natural resources
From the above mentioned three factors I can say the first two factors play a major role. The biggest example to this is my own city - Gandhinagar, Capital of Gujarat - Also the So called greenest city of gujarat.

V Rakesh said...

Sir - this posts touches me very deep, owing to the fact that I can very well relate to what you have said!

Being in Ooty, I do understand the recognize the value of conservation, something that has to be carried out on a very urgent footing owing to the rapid depletion of the green cover for which this place and many others are well known for!

Your methods of incentives are indeed very motivating, however, I believe it is equally important to educate people and create a sense of strong awareness of the problems at hand the many methods to address them! Sadly, there aren't a number of organizations and people who are willing to walk that mile and hence the lackadaisical attitude!

But one hopes that the coming generation, already well sensitized to the problem, will engage in taking effective steps towards correction and restoration!

Thanks very much for a wonderful post!

arvind said...

me thought - not to worry..

the nature leads the whole life towards a new territory.. we could nvr understand - what it says..

there is reciprocal relation of us with the trees..

if so, what the nature want from us?

it gives us breath (air) and want to convert into some other form..

is it create us for that purpose?
(air converting system!!)

if so, it takes care of her - by herself.. don't worry..

anupama said...

Dear Vish,
Good Morning!
You had been on vacaion;I was wndering where you had disappared.:)
ORU MARAM,ORU VARAM is the slogan now.One tree,one blessing!
We can do our share of doing a bit by bringing awareness and by appreciating the greenery around and by planting new saplings!
In Kerala,when the schools reopened after summer vacations,one school did a remarkable act of gifting each child a sapling!
In Punnayoor Kotta,uruvayoor,Nandini the elephant watered the saplings!What an idea!Nandini was the star of the day.:)
The girl holding he sapling loos beautiful with her cheerful smile!

Enjoyed reading your post,Vish!
Wishing you a wonderful day ahead,

Rhapsody B. said...

Amen to this post....human beings are destroying the earth. We consume without regard to replishing.

Insightful piece.

arvind said...

just came across a book of sujatha..

the question is -
"is there is possibility to live with out oxygen?"

"till oxygen available in the atmosphere it would be used by the livings..

if it exhaust - they may find another air to do the photosynthesis (which involves: air, water and light)..

the sun light is the paramount necessity!"

voice of the master.. thanks sujatha..

Andy said...

Hi Vish,

Every word of what you have mentioned is so true.... my heart bleeds every time I see a tree which falls during the monsoon.... I chhedanagar, where I stay, all the trees at almost 3 decades old and has been around very much since I have been around.... It is the ridiculous rate at which road work happens that is causing the green cover to deplete in the metroplitan area like bombay. Though there are several agencies like friend for trees, they really never manage to reach upto the task when you need them the most. I wish I could do something more in my personal capacity..... sigh!!!! Andy