Thursday, June 1, 2017

Connecting People to Nature!

“I really wonder what gives us the right to wreck this poor planet of ours.”  Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Kurt who was an American author as well a mechanical engineer by profession & World War 2 veteran; no wonder he has seen life from all dimensions that’s what made him pen down his feelings about environment is so simple words! And on World Environment Day I think these are the perfect warning words to share my views on the subject as yes we are wrecking, destroying, killing whatever we call, this very planet of ours is fact! World Environment Day (WED) occurs on 5th June every year, & is celebrated by United Nations as its drive to make people aware about the environment as well their responsibilities to conserve or protect the environment. First held in 1974, it has undertaken campaigns for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues from marine pollution and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. Each year, WED has a new theme that major corporations, NGOs, communities, governments and celebrities worldwide & use different concepts, events for protection as well aware about environmental cause the theme is on. WED with participation from over 143 countries annually celebrating has become now a global movement though as in our country for most it’s just like another Western Day on lines of Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day! As come WED & many suddenly realize their love for nature & social media like twitter, FB, Whatsap gets flooded with nature  loving messages (mostly forwards) courtesy free 4G packages as well Wi-Fi! But hardly have I ever seen sharing of a personal or self made act of any effort of nature conservation, which is more important. On all such background this year’s WED’s theme is, “Connecting People to Nature’. I think this is very wise step as well most needed as in today’s selfish world which we tag ourselves only with the things which we feel are ours or we are interested in the matters related to our surface needs. So first step is getting connected to the nature as then only we will think doing something about it! Now before coming to the concept of the theme of WED let’s see what’s scene around our Smart Pune city on environment front.

What we see around is every day some tree has been cut under the name of building construction or road widening or some urban infrastructure need or polluted river or vanishing sight of sparrows! Just few decades back when I have come to this city the first lines of my letter to my mother which I wrote were, “This city doesn’t have summer” & it was mid May, can we say it today? Agreed we need to cut the tree for many things under the name of development but what about planting new ones & making them grow? Till few years back, air conditioners were the commodity only for riches & now with ever rising mercury AC’s are common sights even in one bhk flats! In addition we have millions of vehicles exhausts covering our surrounding with carbon monoxide & every such heat effect gas. Public transport has direct link to environment & in this city people don’t travel by public transport due to its poor service & the service doesn’t get improved due to many reasons, main two are no will of our rulers as well that of society to use the public transport! As we are so fussy about our time saving that we are not ready to wait even few minutes or to walk few more meters to use public transport. This is where we should understand importance of connecting people to the nature as when I accept to wait for PMPML bus spending my some time as well agrees to walk to the bus stop from my home or work place, then I am getting connected to the nature only! As by doing so I am somewhere helping our environment to get a shade better by helping in reducing pollution!

Then comes actually helping environment by planting a tree & making it survive as its easy to post a message about tree conservation or scowl others (read builders) about reducing tree cover but how many of us has actually planted a tree & made it survive? I am sure not even one percent of people who shares environment day messages have done it or else we wouldn’t have been required to discuss this topic in first place! We have followed a unique tradition at our end ie to make our flat holders plant tree in the building they have booked a flat. We put a name board of the family near that tree & make them adopt it; this way I can proudly say in last ten years we have planted & made survive at-least five hundred tress & all of native species & fruit-flower bearing which will make biodiversity chain complete! As what we see is just reduced tree cover in city what we don’t see is the damage it has done to entire biodiversity in & around the city. Not many years back there were many birds, butterflies, frogs & even monkeys used to be regular sight in the city suburbs. Now tell me on the roads of our Smart City when you have last seen a butterfly or bird like even bulbul leave apart Asian Paradise Fly Catcher, which also been seen in suburbs in past. I remember those evenings where post rains the entire surrounding used to get filled with frogs calls, so soothing was that sound! Many will say what’s big deal in it; have we not IT parks, Malls, Banks, Industries, Townships to make our life happy? Indeed these all make our life easy & Pune has changed a lot in last few decades but ask our own self, does the life gets complete with just banks, malls & IT Parks? Trees, Frogs, Butterflies, Sparrows & many other species are equal part of our life & if they get vanished then we lose entire link of a life cycle!

On this background WED’s theme has great importance i.e. ‘Connecting people with nature” as here people means you & me only, who can undo the damage we have done to the nature. And for that first understand what nature is as then only we can save it. Well it’s very difficult to define nature in words as it has made of so many things & has multiple dimensions. In holistic words we can define nature is made up of five elements i.e. Water, Fire, Earth, Sky & Air & all this surrounds us. So in a way everything in this world is part of nature & connected to the same but some fools like us forgets that connection & has to make efforts to reconnect with nature. And now look what we are doing to these five elements which make nature; we pollute the water sources like river & oceans with all drainage, chemicals & make life of species like fish miserable with our pollution attack & on top of it we kill whatever remaining fishes for our needs! We dump this earth with every possible garbage as well thrash at the same time we destroy habitats for all other species making them extinct & then run “Save Tiger” like moments to show our love for nature. We remove soil cover & make concrete roads leaving no place for mud or ponds so no frog can survive here! On air front we burn fire crackers & we produce millions of private vehicles instead of improving public transport & we build industries, all of these things emit toxic gases & thus we pollute the very same air which we only breathe! We consume every source of fire i.e. natural resources of coal & oil without caring that one day this all will end & then what? And lastly we even haven’t spared the sky as now to have a sight of stars in the sky we have to go out of our city, as all we look up & we see haze & smog, such is the condition we have made of our sky by every mean of pollution!

I think when we say, “Get connected to nature” then we need to understand our responsibility of our own self towards nature. Because reading after my above sharing people will ask, does connect to nature means stop development? No, it means making nature part of that development! Right from controlling human population which is major cause of nature destruction to allowing endangered species to survive we have to work on many fronts. First of foremost is don’t allow our need to turn in greed as then we eat up what other deserve. And let’s remember nature is not just humans but every species asset, so as most developed specie like a class monitor it’s our responsibility to see everyone has his share of nature on earth! And it’s not difficult a bit as all we have to do is be more sensitive towards whatever we do in our daily routine. May it be using public transport, watering a tree, throwing away a cold drink can or closing a tap; smallest acts like these when followed by millions becomes big conservation movement.

So let’s think about larger picture of a world where industries as well IT parks will grow along with clean rivers & serene mountains. A world where the kids won’t have required to go to a zoo to see a butterfly but can play with it in the backyards. A world where highways will be built but big trees will shadow those highways all along. A world where there will be sky scrapers with forests in the neighborhood & lots of places for frogs to sing their rain song. It’s in this world there will be bright star lit sky which can be seen from anywhere & there will be clear blue sky with sweet sound of chirping of birds & not the horns of vehicles! To build such world where every tree, every sparrow has equal share of the nature along with humans, is what gives us right to celebrate WED & every one of us has a role to play in this task. I think to understand this truth is first step for getting connected to nature as then only we have understood to celebrate World Environment Day or else all what will remain is Environment Day but Environment will be gone forever!

Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

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1 comment:

  1. छान लिहिलंय संजय... आपल्या अशा इंग्रजी लिखाणाची मराठी आवृत्ती देखील प्रकाशित करा. आपले विचार जास्त लोकांपर्यंत पोहोचतील. तशी आवश्यकता देखील आहे. आपण छान लिहिता. असेच भरपूर लिहीत राहा. मनापासून शुभेच्छा!

    राजीव जतकर.


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