On 21st of March every year, 'World Forest Day' is celebrated as an important event-cum-festival at global level. This year too it is being celebrated with the theme "Forest Restoration: a path to recovery and well-being. This is exactly what the demand of the hour is — Recovery.
Millions of plants are planted every year through various events held at different levels. This day signifies the importance of forests/plants in our ecosystem. It wouldn''t be wrong to call them a lifeline for our survival. Nobody needs to be lectured on the importance of this asset where we get benefited in numerous ways, but ironically everything is not alright when it comes to our part of contribution towards these forests.
Man's greed and selfishness sometimes compels him to shoot himself in the foot. Here the story is no different, we all are aware about that. Over the years, the area under forest cover has decreased steadily, as they are being cleared for agriculture, industry, housing, and other development activities like the construction of roads, railways, and hydroelectric plants, and its repercussions are being slowly felt and will be felt more intensely in near future, if remained unabated.
Benefits: Forests, if observed keenly, are almost full of advantages and benefits and whatever they provide us with is free of cost. People living in rural areas derive various ways of earning and living from these natural treasures. Millions of people are solely reliant on this source of living. Besides they provide clean air, timber, food, fodder, etc., to everyone.
Looking at the environmental aspects, they help us in maintaining the ecological balance and in reducing pollution levels. They help in reducing the heat waves, to a certain degree, which everyone is concerned about. Aesthetically, they provide the soothing touch to our surroundings. In fact, the breath of fresh air they produce, once someone visits these places refreshes everyone. If we begin to point out their advisability and profitability, certainly words are going to fall short, such is their prominence.
Consequences: Dear readers! nature has provided us this beautiful treasure, free of cost, but we must remember and realize that we owe certain responsibilities as well. We ought to follow and implement, in letter and spirit, the conservation of these forests in whatever way possible. Increase in normal temperatures year after the year, sudden and unusual landslides, receding glaciers, flash floods and other natural hazards are a direct result of deforestation. If, as humans we are not bothered and perturbed for their survival and safety, then we must be ready to face the music in near future. If we scrutinize eagerly, there isn''t any negatives in having a rich forest cover, yet our selfishness is hell bent at destroying this asset without even having a second thought.
Sheikh Nuruddin Rishi, a famous sufi saint, said long back: 'ann poshe teli yeli wann posh' (Food will last as long as forests will), which clearly highlights how through such teachings he makes us aware about the value and importance of these forests. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: "if the Hour (the Day of Resurrection) is about to be established and one of you was holding a palm shoot, let him take advantage of even one second before the Hour is established to plant it". But instead of salvaging these highly essential resources, we are busy in butchering them.
It is time to introspect at our own levels, and act sensibly because at the end it is we (humans) who are going to suffer and face the repercussions. If trees could bleed, a river of blood would have spread across the roads because of the merciless cutting. Every year reports suggest the worst about the environmental challenges, yet we are not awakened and bothered. Merely celebrating these days and organizing events is not going to help. Instead of beating the drum everywhere, it is time to act and act swiftly because if not now, then when? If not we, then who?
Tail-Piece It is high time to implement all the rules and regulations in letter and spirit so that future could be saved. Let''s take time today to educate ourselves and our youngsters on the significance of the world's forests. Let''s plant a tree in our backyard. Let''s plant a tree as if it's our last deed. It is apt to end this write up by this Prophetic saying: "If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him."