The Last Tree Standing – the story of human “development”

21 Jul

For whom the bell tolls ? The last Tree standing proud and strong in the suburban Mumbai street or Mankind ?

The whole of last week, the DNA  newspaper had stories, which would seem completely dis-jointed from one another, but if you look at it from the prism of Sustainable Living they all are, but indicators of doom which we as People are heading towards. Let me start with links of some headlines which show the maximum indicators of the rot that has crept into human civilization.  The links are from random dates, but I have tried to set them in an order, which I’m sure that those who follow sustainable living would find the logic  and the irony therein. And those who are new into this are welcome to my analysis –

Tree obstructing traffic flow all set to go: In the wake of a DNA report, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has initiated action to remove a huge tree located in the middle of busy Lal Bahadur Shastri (LBS) Marg in Ghatkopar. Following the report about the tree proving to be an obstacle for scores of motorists taking the road (published on May 24), the BMC had issued a 10-day notice on July 7, inviting suggestions and objections from residents over the removal of the tree. However, till Monday, the local N Ward office did not receive any suggestions or objections.

Still in the wild on rehabilitation: It’s been more than 15 years that the Bombay high court ordered relocation of all illegal settlements inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) to accommodations outside park limits. The forest department, however, has failed to rehabilitate even half of the eligible settlers …..

Man-animal conflict unlikely to end soon: It will take at least three years to completely check the man-animal conflict at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). Measures such as construction of a boundary wall, rehabilitation of park inmates and establishment of an Eco-sensitive zone to control development at the periphery will not be in place in the next couple of years.  According to data from the forest department, the SGNP has a 92km boundary, of which, 22 will not require fencing due to the naturally formed buffer areas. The fencing of the rest 70km will be done in two phases. Phase one, which is in progress since 2009, 40km boundary is being fenced….

Centre sits on Gadgil report, draws HC ire: The Bombay high court on Tuesday rapped the government for failing to take a decision on the report submitted by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel headed by Dr Madhav Gadgil…The panel has made recommendations on conserving and preserving ecologically sensitive areas within the Sahyadri range.

If scanty rain continues, state may cry drought: The Maharashtra government is ready to declare drought following scarce rainfall across the state so far. “There is no doubt that there will be drought this year,” said a top government source…

Cloud seeding answer to water woes:Worried about the low water levels in the lakes, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is considering cloud seeding in catchment areas in next month as an option. However, a similar experiment carried out by the BMC in 2009 with an expenditure of over Rs 8 crore yielded no results…

Plan ready to deal with deficient rain; Pawar: The country faces challenges in sustaining record food grain harvests as a 22 percent deficit in monsoon rain threatens planting, Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said here on Monday. He, however, added that India — the world’s second-biggest rice, wheat and sugar producer — has not reached drought situation and the government is ready with contingency plan to deal with deficient monsoon.

17cr prayer for rain! : Halfway through July, monsoon rains continue to cause concern, with sowing of pulses and rice behind schedule and rainfall still below average for this time of the year –REUTERS …Karnataka muzrai minister Kota Srinivas Poojari is a worried man. The monsoon sky – alternating between grey and blue, but shedding very little rain – has got him worried. But while most of us can do nothing except wait for the rain, the minister, it seems, decided that he has had enough. Poojari is not going to sit idle and twiddle his thumbs any longer. The minister has decided to intervene. How? He has decided to placate rain God Varuna. Karnataka minister leads initiative to hold special puja at 34,000 temples across the state!

Will interlinking of rivers contain floods? : The delay in implementing a plan drawn out by the engineers of the National Water Development Authority (NWDA) has led to the loss of 125 lives in Assam in the recent floods, experts said. The floods caused by the Brahmaputra could have been avoided, had the authorities interlinked the Brahmaputra with the Ganga, said engineer MS Menon and Madhav Chitale, former water resources secretary to the Union government.

Many Moons ago in my anguish I had mentioned – Killing is not a crime,only Murder is;The difficulty of preaching Sustainable Living.

And perhaps the image of the sole tree standing between a widened road, which would be killed ( chopped down) is a cause for glee, as more GHG producing Vehicles can ply without any obstruction, thus  help speed up the process of Oblivion for Mankind !

As one would read, not a single person has come forward to suggest ways to try and save the tree, perhaps by relocating it. All need to read: “Mature Tree Transplanting: A Growing Trend” – ….Amazingly, through the use of carefully executed transplanting techniques, fully grown trees of almost any specie or size can be successfully integrated into the residential or commercial landscape.

One would wonder, what is one tree ? In the natural progression to “development” civilisation has always laid waste the Ecosystem. So what’s the big deal ?

Just look where that high-carbon life-style is leading us, the same news paper screams in its various headlines the scarcity of Water & Food ! Without which the basic foundations of our modern-life comes to a standstill.

Yet, our governments and leaders are in a state of confusion; so much so that to cover their utter lack of understanding of the matter, they  seek divine intervention !  The unholy part being the 17crore would be the foolish tax-payers money. But then we had it coming, its the responsibility of WE, the collective; who still want to remain in deep slumber while the tide of Climate change and Global Warming rises above the nose. How long should the Earth tolerate the myopic self- aggrandized thoughts of Mankind before making its last move of eradicating the menace ?

That the collective citizens (of the world), still can’t connect between the falling apart of the man-made infrastructure and chopping down and denudation of the ecosystem in the most unsustainable manner possible; can be gauged by the news below on the decision taken  by the Assembly ( which is but a manifestation of the same collective )  to continue with GHG intensive Thermal power, instead of finding long term solution of balancing the Eco-system which loses its forest cover  vital for the monsoon cycle to both open cast coal mines and hydro-dams which completely submerges the forest cover;  to sustain completely unsustainable present day Urban sprawl!

Scant rain may cut Tata’s power output: If the monsoon’s scanty performance continues without indicating any possibility of a turnaround in the near future, the Tata Power Company (TPC) will be forced to stop the power generation. Announcing the government decision in the state assembly on Tuesday, deputy chief and energy minister Ajit Pawar said, “While Pune may be hit by the decision, Mumbai won’t face any power shortage as its supply is sourced from power generated by thermal plants.

Nowhere, the  confused nature of mankind is more prominent than in an advertisement by a pump making company; which thinks it’s environmental friendly to shift complete lakes and drown nearby forest which have taken aeons to develop; to sell its product. And make its mark in the sands of time, it would be most happy to help link rivers; without even understanding the ecological impact it would have.  And many such corporation, either without meaning to or knowingly join hands with Politicians to seed the minds of the Citizens in accepting the idea that their owes can be solved by linking of rivers and there arguments would be that they have been following the experts.  An ‘expert’ in a single subject can not understand the complexity of the Ecosystem. Therefore such decisions should have a cross-section of experts from all related fields. The same idea has been run down by many and mentioned by me in this article India to connect all its Rivers

Without the citizens understanding the true meaning of sustainable living and practicing and preaching it, the World which we know and love, the life-style we live in and want to bequeath to our children would be lost.

We must understand the markers of decay and destruction, our unsustainable life-style is causing. And for that, not all need to attend the expert meet at the various United Nation forum but make the effort to change, from being just a literate who can read a News paper to educated who can deduce the situation from the facts drawn out in them.

Each of the News articles show, the dire situation and the almost bursting at the seams situation of Megalopolises in our Country and perhaps similar would be the tales around the World.

Yet we are refusing to learn, to correct past errors. We continue to develop in a lopsided manner, while there is an urgent need  for a thorough study to understand what would be the actual impact of the said “development” holistically. Here we must bring in the thoughts enshrined in the 2012 Inclusive Wealth Report and the Sustainable Development Goals. One must also bear in mind that while we have divided the World into multiple Nations, the Earth is just one globe. So cause in one end would in time show its effect in another. Therefore when we develop  fragile ecosystem we must understand what would that development bring. “Prosperity” can not be in isolation – say   a polythene bag manufacturer may prosper when newer areas are touched by rail, but the resultant discarding of these non bio-degradable product can have a telling effect on the Ecosystem, which was pristine before the rail road was built on it.

Environmental rules are not being used, where it is needed most and in the proper spirit. So that development happens with least harm to the Ecosystem. Man has not learnt to live a Zero-Carbon foot print; perhaps this is to do with our being more intelligent than the other species which inhabit this Earth and have naturally perfected it ! Therefore one must be careful in developing newer areas when existing facilities can always be upgraded thus limiting the harm to the Environment. Cost must be measured as a sum -total of all, here again the need of a panel of experts from diverse field who can see matters from a completely different perspective is most important.

Citizens of the World have been led mostly by a few. The Orator & the Warrior both these breed rose into prominence because they almost always had the most to lose, an orator also would be a Merchant and a warrior could be a King! That they would put self before others is but good business & politics. To be led by a group of few, would always remain true for mankind, but for its very survival its time to look beyond the obvious, lest we are led downhill by those who lead.

Once one of our honorable Chief Minister of the state of Maharashtra had famously said that his governance would change the City of Mumbai to another Shanghai.

The wind smells of change and more …: Shanghai: When the wind blows in one Shanghai suburb, residents can smell the stench rising from a towering garbage dump, feared to be so harmful it can make people vomit and cause birth defects. Now residents of Songjiang district are raising a stink about the future of the landfill, one of a series of recent protests across China as people hold the government more accountable for health and environmental problems…..

The World is indeed a small place and the problems of the modern man is the same everywhere. Therefore its time we connect and be the change.

Courtesy: DNA


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