Why can't we?
Can Global Dream of a Green Earth Become a Reality?
SURROUNDINGS BY S. AFFAN YESVI
“We would be lucky if we have a white Christmas” said David, as he stood in the porch of St. Mary’s Church in Gulmarg, and looked up at the sky with his aging grey eyes. The hope in his voice and the imploring look at the clear blue sky arrested my steps and I waited patiently for him to continue.
“There were the years when the snowfall happened as early as October and the meadows were white right through April into early May. The local children had a gala time on the slopes till the skiers came by, then it was sledges versus skis. As a matter of fact, the mountain range always stood snow-capped.” In silence, he moved in to light the candles in the Church and I moved away towards my vehicle to drive back to Srinagar after completing the reservations for my friends who were coming from Bangalore to spend their X’mas/New Year vacation in Kashmir.
The conversation may have ended but a chain of thoughts had been sparked. It came to mind that the Country had expected a rainfall of 368.8 mms during the period 1st June to 22nd July and on receiving only 298.7 mms, the Union Agriculture Minister had been hauled up in the Parliament to reply and inform regarding the preparations made to cope with the famine-like situation that could erupt.
He, in turn, had assured the House that the Government had enough stocked rations to last 13 months and that there was no immediate need to worry. He, further explained, that although the Monsoon had set in as expected, in early June, but had suddenly disappeared leaving the recorded collection at a deficiency of 62%. However, Nature was kind and by 22nd July, the rainfall was registered as “less by 19%” only.
As I changed the gears at the bend in the road, I wondered why this five-month old news item had come to mind. My eyes fell on the tall pine trees and moistened with memories of my own childhood. The snowball fights and then the making of the friendly snowman outside the hut whenever I came to ski in Gulmarg with my family. Yes, we would be lucky if we have a white Christmas for there was no sign of rain or cold. It was a bright, sunny day.
Lucky? I believe luck to be the brainwave that is required to achieve something extra-ordinary in life. Luck finds a six-month baby alive, after a week, under the debris of a fallen building or people untouched by floods and earthquakes that have wiped out everything else. Surely, luck is that one-rupee lottery ticket that makes someone a millionaire, in a moment. But can rain, snowfall or sunshine come by luck?
At a distance, the slopes were barren but on a closer look, the short stumps of felled trees were conspicuous. That was it! Disappearance of forests was causing the change in climate. The changing scene is captioned “Global Warming” and it is no longer “somebody else’s” problem because it has hurt all of us in the form of tsunamis, cyclones, avalanches and disturbing climatic changes.
The Green Gold looted for fodder, fuel and furniture. Axing of trees in the name of Development to make new roads, railway tracks, hydro-electric projects and settlements. Not to forget the natural forest fires adding to the toll.
A Social Forestry Department, assigned with the job of planting trees, being given adequate compensation for the felled trees by the executing authorities of Development (NHAI/ERA) but not utilising it to the fullest on the pretext that there is no space to plant trees.
I traversed a few miles with the thought of the 189 Heads of Nations who came together in 2000 at the United Nations Millennium Summit, to commit to work together to build a safer, more prosperous and equitable world for all by 2015. It charted eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that included ‘Ensuring Environmental Sustainability’ besides eradication of poverty/hunger, achieving universal primary education, empowering women to promote gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria/other diseases and forming global partnerships for Development.
As I took a blind bend to the left, I had to slow my vehicle. There, in the middle of the road, stood a large group of youngsters, apparently waiting for the driver of the bus to change a flat tyre. They looked up and moved towards the side of the road making way for my vehicle to pass by. They waved with energetic joy and I waved back with a smile and “thank you” upon my lips.
One little gesture and we respond with a ‘thank you’ or a ‘sorry’ to mankind. It is time now to realise that an average person utilises the oxygen of 16 trees to survive his/her lifespan and, therefore, every human being must make the effort of planting at least 16 trees during his/her lifetime and offer “thank you” to Nature.
It is so easy to find space – wasteland, hills, sides of roads/railway tracks, playground/farm boundaries, home gardens, public places, thermal stations, coal mines, military areas, schools/universities and educational institutions, fertilizer/pesticide manufacturing premises, government/municipal/industrial areas, places where there are high levels of pollution, etc.
All that is required is the WILL TO PLANT. The knowledge of the agro climatic condition of the place helps to make the selection of trees that could be fruit/forest trees, medicinal/aromatic/spice plants, avenue/garden trees or shrubs.
These thoughts engrossed my mind till I reached home and as I parked my vehicle, I wondered if it is sufficient to plant trees or is there a greater task involved in it.
The heart replied immediately, “of course, the challenge is to take care of the saplings and trees till they are strong, blossoming and bearing. Aftercare should entail proper watch, ward and watering for at least 5 years. Also, involve everyone”.
I have responded to that inner call by sitting at the table to narrate this incident for the media to encourage institutions, schools, NGOs, businesses, banks, corporate houses and individuals to sponsor and/or adopt trees so that the Global Dream of a Green Earth could become a reality.
Hoping that all shall take the crucial step of making the pledge of planting trees, I take this opportunity to say, “thank you for the decision to make the world a better place to live in. Why wait for others to take the first step – why not us?”
Lastupdate on : Sun, 7 Mar 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 7 Mar 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 8 Mar 2010 00:00:00 IST
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