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Op-Ed

Care Nature, Nature Will Care Us!!!

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By EMN Updated: May 14, 2014 11:13 pm
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Z.K. Pahrüpou

BTC/Pfutsero

If the land, water and air could speak,
They would speak for us.
They would say, like us, that the years
Have forged the bond of life that ties us together.
It was our labour that made them what they are;
And it was their produce that gave us life.
We and the land, water and air are one!
They are our friends!

 

1. AS A WAY OF INTRODUCTION:
[dropcap]E[/dropcap]very day we start our day with water: take a bath, drink cold/warm water or tea or use in toilet. But we seldom ask how precious water is and from where it comes. We eat food everyday but we don’t care to ponder from where and how it is produced and who produce it. We breathe air every second of our life but we hardly ask how air originates and what purifies it. The food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe – all comes from nature.Today air is polluted. Water sources are drying up at fast pace. Fertile topsoil (of about 6 inch) which is formed over centuries is fast eroding which undermines the capacity of the earth to increase the production of food and other biomass. We are facing life crisis! Are we not the one responsible for this crisis? Is our lifestyle becoming more like that of tiger than cow?Is it right to blame God for all the life’s crisis that we are facing today? Let’s reason together. Human beings seem to have failed in understanding that human life is a dependent part of an ecosystem of many different forms of life. As the world is ruled from towns/cities where human beings are cut off from any form of life other than human, the feeling of belonging to an ecosystem is lost leading to harsh treatment upon which we ultimately depend such as water and trees. Water is life! Land is life! Air is life! They are our friends gifted by God. We need to care of them so that they will take care of us. God commands us to take care of nature and not destroy them wantonly. Hence, taking care of nature that sustains life could be an important mission of every believer in the neo-liberal globalisation where lives of all forms (created by God) are threatened. The abundant land and low population densities that formerly underpinned the sustainability of jhumming in our areas are fast disappearing. Fallow periods are being shortened to the point where their intended ecological functions can no longer be achieved before the land is again cultivated, causing yields to successively decline over time. Food security is threatened. This adds pressure to bring more forests under jhum, accelerating deforestation and threatening the remaining biodiversity in our land. Indigenous trees that are eco-friendly are being cut and replaced with alien commercial trees. Large part of forests is cleared for growing cash crops and for development works (e.g. road and dam construction). Already seasonal water shortages are becoming more of a problem, blamed on the loss of forests and their hydrological functions in upper watersheds. Extensive use of chemical fertiliser destroys soil fertility. We thus have serious degradation of soil, water resources and forest. With the destruction of forests, water and land, we are losing our life-support systems.
Indiscriminate deforestation for commercial and kitchen purpose is destroying water sources at fast pace. Many streams, rivulets and rivers are drying up. Social tension is gaining momentum due to scarcity of water. Fresh water is at peril due to excessive use of pesticides, fertilizers, dumping of waste at river sources by tourists, industrial waste, and so on. As forest is destroyed, automatically flood occurs when rain come causing landslides and drought followed soon. Erratic wind and stormy rains we experience today is the result of our own action. Hence plantation of trees is an urgent task for our survival.
2. IMPORTANCE OF MAINTAINING FOREST:
What do the forests bear?Soil, water and pure air that sustain the earth and all she bears.Forest is the wealth of the tribals/villagers. In fact, no life would be possible on earth without forests. We collect fruits, tubers, medicinal herbs and plants, eatable leaves and barks, varieties of vegetables, mushroom and flowers. It provides us firewood and materials for construction of house, etc. Trees make the air fresh, retain and provide water throughout the year. It protects top soil being washed away by rain water. It regulates weather system, prevents flood and drought. It provides shelter to millions of species, birds, and animals. Forests are home to 1.6 billion of the world’s poorest population who rely on them for subsistence. Forest maintains and provides fresh air for human beings. The oxygen that we inhale is the exhales of trees and plants. Trees regulate hydrological system. Tree roots absorb and releases water slowly and feed our rivers and streams throughout the year. Trees absorb water vapour that passes by and bring rain. If there are no trees, clouds would simply escape into atmosphere and hence no rain would come.
Trees preserve water, land and air. In return, land, water and air help trees to survive and grow. Earthworm, regarded as “friends of the farmers” is the major contributors in regaining natural soil fertility. Bird litters, animal droppings, biotic activities of flora and fauna, decomposed plant debris are other natural sources for fertility of the land. All of them help maintain forest health. Forest is the central natural resource governing the basic needs of our people. Forests constitute a resource that is central input to any long-term environmental security and development. When a tree is cut down for whatever reason we must plant another one. The teaching of the Buddha enjoins a reverent and non-violent attitude not only to all sentient beings but also with great emphasis to trees. Hence every follower of the Buddha ought to plant a tree every few years and look after it until it is safely established. We must learn this lesson from Buddhism if we are to maintain forest without much destruction.
Forest is called “the lung of the planet”. The accelerating destruction of the rain-forests that form a precious cooling band around the Earth’s equator is now being recognized as one of the main causes of climate change. Carbon emissions from deforestation far outstrip damage caused by planes and automobiles and factories. According to a source, two billion tons of CO2 enters the atmosphere every year from deforestation. International demand has driven intensive agriculture, logging and ranching that have proved an inexorable force for deforestation; conservation has been no match for commerce. The leading rainforest scientists are now calling for the immediate inclusion of standing forests in internationally regulated carbon markets that could provide cash incentives to halt this disastrous process. Richer nations already recognise the value of uncultivated land. The EU offers 200 (£ 135) per hectare subsidies for “environmental services” to its farmers to leave their land unused. Can we challenge our government to gives incentives to those villagers who protect their environment especially forest?

(To be continued)

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By EMN Updated: May 14, 2014 11:13:53 pm