Planting our future…

Akrita Reyar The most serene among our days are those spent miles away from concrete and in the pristine haven of wilderness. Nothing nurtures and rejuvenates as much as the freshness of the greenwoods. If one has spent some days, even on a vacation, in a forest house or jungle lodge, he would have undoubtedly felt bestowed by a deep sense of peace. The tranquility that nature wears, as a natural embellishment, has a benign healing touch.

Nature soothes, invigorates, and rekindles. Humans agitate, exhaust and destroy. This basic contradiction of the two entities, destined to exist together, has clearly made us the aggressor. Our narrow, immediate interests, shortsightedness and mad rush for development have taken a heavy toll on the environment. Forest areas, which are the lungs of our beautiful planet, are fast contracting; global temperatures are rising as are sea levels. We are the creators of air, water and noise pollution and these eventually end up harming us. Imagine a world so depleted of natural wealth that posterity lives in vast swathes of desertified lands. A world where children are left with just story books to envisage sparkling streams, thickets and Bambi. While development and material progress are desired goals, for they help reduce poverty levels and improve standards of living, we should not defocus from the collateral damage that we end up incurring. Economic growth with strings attached- about replenishment of nature- can be a solution. The problem then is about conflict of interest between nations. Increasingly, the West is putting pressure on China and India to show greater responsibility, while these two Asian nations are pointing at the colossal emissions of the West. In this context, our ancestors can set us an example. A study of the Indus, Egyptian, Incas, and other ancient civilizations shows that their prosperity was closely inter-linked and inter-dependent on elements of nature. The people in those days not only thrived because of their balanced use of what the natural world offered them, but also had an intense emotional and religious relationship with the environment. Our own Vedas are very reverential to the environment and repeatedly emphasize on protecting and cherishing it. Our tradition of calling rivers like Ganges a mother itself implies the acceptance of its status as our lifeline; one who helps us quench our thirst, cleanse our bodies, clean our homes, irrigate our farms and thus in turn nourishes our very being. It is clear that the closer we are to nature, the safer we will be. The tsunami provided us with an interesting example. While most of the world was caught unawares, it seems that the tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands proved to be more erudite than the so called modern man. It is common knowledge that the huge mass of water that suddenly crashed on us claimed several fatalities. It seems the tribals on these islands, who were believed to have been wiped out, not only survived but sensed the impending disaster and moved to safer regions, much like most of the animal world. So harmonized were their senses with nature. Some statistics, that show the current state of environmental degradation, are horrifying and must ring alarm bells. It is believed that 90% of forest cover has disappeared in developed countries and in other regions 80% has been cleared or compromised with. Global warming has led sea levels to rise by nearly 2.8-3.1 mm/year with future predictions of small island countries going completely under water. Moreover, ailments caused due to pollution, have risen dramatically owing to high levels of carbon discharge. Sewage mixing with clean rivers causes waterborne diseases and faulty irrigation practices have forced streams to change course, thus affecting delicate equilibrium. Each year on June 05, we observe the World Environment Day. All of nature’s different constituents, which are now under immense strain, serve as a reminder to us all about how fragile our lifelines are and how much wisdom there is in preserving them. A prayer in the Rig Veda thus holds a moral lesson for all of us: "We offer our reverence to Nature`s great bounties, to those who are old, and to the young, may we speak with the force at our command, the glory of all divine powers. May we not overlook any of them.” Click Here To Find Out What You can do: >> (June 05,2009 is being observed as World Environment Day in Mexico City with the theme Your Planet Needs You - Unite to Combat Climate Change)

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