Saturday, November 2, 2019

Can we really do something out of the box?

I recently came across the news about the Aarey green belt in Mumbai being reduced by around 2600 trees in the Aarey forest for setting up a metro car shed. In an era when we all are considering the trees as the most precious living things on the earth, this news was like a sharp bolt in the face! The reasons were related to advancement of urban civil life, ease in human conveyance, saving of man hours and so on. Huge protests were put up by social activists, environment preservers, nature lovers on social media, in various ways and this caught fire!  Twitter and Facebook was full of audio and video clips of what went on in the Aarey forest for a few days! They had their own reasons and they were following orders! It is a subtle logic that for some progress, some where some things have to be sacrificed! Taking into consideration today’s increasing consumerism, leading to enhancing pollution, nature deterioration and degradation, global warming, depleting natural resources, it is a crime to destroy our nature and surroundings! Yet, we cannot put obstacles in the path of progress. Aarey forest was supposedly not recognised as a proper forest or an ecological sensitive issue because of jurisdictional limits.
What can then be done?
Can we do something else, to recover the loss that was incurred because of the felling of such a large number of trees? Can we plant more trees, nurture them, care for them, grow them, protect them?
Such thoughts crossed the minds of very environment sensitive citizens of a small village called Chinchani, near Pandharpur, Maharashtra, India. They were furious about the cutting down of Aarey green belt but they knew it was futile to fight against the law and hence they took a GREEN and FEASIBLE wise decision to plant 1100 trees using Japanese technique. As a step towards this decision, in one day, they planted 250 indigenous trees, as a mark of protest!
Chinchani has an interesting history! This village was initially situated at the base of hill station Mahabaleshwar, in Satara district. It was endowed with perennial natural beauty, blessed with very good rainfall, beautiful surroundings and greenery all year round! The village had to be displaced from this wonderland during the execution of Kanheri Dam Project! And that too at a barren, rocky, mountainous land near Pandharpur in Solapur district! It was a devastating transition for the citizens used to the naturally endowed surroundings. But, as fighters that they were, they did not lose heart! In the next ten years, the residents planted four thousand trees. They successfully executed rain water harvesting projects, to conserve and preserve natural rain water. Not a single drop of water is wasted. In times of water scarcity, trees are first supplied water and then the residents!
The trees here have led to a very calm, quiet and green environment, where birds dwell freely. They are supplied with grains and water by the nature loving residents and no crackers are fired during Diwali or other festivals, to protect their breeds! They first planted 250 trees followed by 400 and the remaining within a week! That was their constructive way of showing their anger! The choice of trees was also complimentary to the requirements of regional environment!
Japanese technique proposes to plant trees in communities as, according to environmentalist Miyawaki, trees too love to grow in communities! This technique has been adapted by the environment lovers and using drip irrigation, they plan to raise a forest on these barren mountains! They plan to grow 150 trees per head in the next eight years and that too using their own resources and money. They plan to become totally self sufficient! Three cheers to their positive thinking and green endeavour!

Green Blogger
Dr. Jaya Vikas Kurhekar