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World Environment Day - June 5, 2017

Every year World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5. This year the theme for World Environment Day 2017 is ‘Connecting People to Nature’, The theme, implores us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share. This year’s host country Canada got to choose the theme and will be at the centre of celebrations around the planet. With the kind of changes we experience all over the world, the World Environment Day is a day for everyone, everywhere. Since it began in 1972, global citizens have organized many thousands of events, from neighbourhood clean-ups, to action against wildlife crime, to replanting forests.

Scientific Advancements and Human Requirements

Scientific advancements have shown that how nature can be exploited for human use. However, the growing concerns on using the advancements still pushes the human beings to think more and more to bring out new and new technologies to combat the old ones and preserve the nature at its best. The growing environmental problems such as global warming are the reminders of the need for alternative thinking in terms of life style modifications and need to preserve the ecosystem to continue to allow them to help the ensuing generations to live happily.

In the name of development, we desecrate the oceans, forests, soils that act as reservoirs of all human wrongdoings. What acted as a sink for so many years now have started retaliating back showing that their capacity is also limited to certain extent.

We do not have to talk about carbon dioxide and methane along or the waste water we send out of our houses, industries, farms to kill all those helped in the past. Ultimately the world is looking to revive the resilience of the nature that was indirectly helped by the biological diversity which was heavily altered by the human activities.

At farming we talk about organic farming – the process of involving the use of organic inputs and move out of chemical inputs to revive the soils and the adjoining ecosystem in the farmers’s fields. We all know how fertilizers killed our soils and pesticides that decimated diversity from the farming fields.

We also have witnessed how our fisher-folk suffer from less catch due to greedy methods of harvesting a process that derailed from subsistent and sustainable harvesting process.

Now we talk about producing more food per unit area using genetic modification which bunked in the testing processes either succumbing to attacks from natural enemies or inclement weather conditions.

People live in forests and rural people still spend their life more adjusted to nature and they know how to appreciate the beauty, wilderness and the need to preserve the natural resources. The oldest practice of shifting cultivation, or subsistence cultivation had their own way of promoting biodiversity on a cyclical period.

It is impossible to value nature in monetary terms. As rightly said by the father of our Nation Mahatma Gandhi Nature has everything for human needs and not for greed. Our forefathers know how to protect every tree. Especially this is very much common in South Indian temples to identify one trees a “Sthala Vruksham – Tree of that place”. We knew how to preserve the forests by naming the as sacred groves. We knew how to harvest them following a big ritual either during harvest for food grains or for medicinal purpose. What part to be harvested and how to harvest them and at what season were all written by in the Pharmacopeia. We knew that doing homa will purify the air and what plant could be used to perform homa was and is also known to us still.

Ultimately our forefathers have respected the ecosystem service provided by nature and devised methods to sustainably exploited the resources. The modern greedy paper economy has raided the resources and created an onslaught on its very existence. In just 200 years of industrial revolution, we polluted our air, water, soil and everything that were acting as supporting systems of our very existence. Aptly the State Government has also started deepening the lakes, ponds and even the Dams. This will increase the water holding capacity of the areas and increase the percolation of water into the aquifers.

It is high time we educate our children on ecosystem services offered by the nature before teaching cleanliness. We must start there to teach cleanliness. World Environment Day provides us an opportunity to think on these lines.

Time immemorial we had the habit of visiting temples in the mountains and forests and respect their services. Of late we have started the habit of visiting Cinemas, malls and theme parks, water falls and hill stations. With this new found summer special tours, we invariably pollute the place we visit and take no excuse for that.

It is high time we start creating forests and nurture them with the help of our own people. Engage students and individuals to spend their summer in nature camps, tree planting programs, greening programmes.

Hope this transformation is required for us to sustain life on earth.