Environment protection is the greatest need for balanced development. But as we move forward in the race for materiality, we have started inviting natural and biological disasters as well.
The consumerist thinking of development has been at the core of the terrible phase of Covid that we are all facing right now. Remember, whenever efforts have been made to speed up development by neglecting nature and life, the entire human race has had to bear the brunt of it.
In this era of pandemic, we need to rethink our eternal Indian vision of conservation of nature in the light of environment friendly policies along with development. It is to be kept in mind that environmental aspects should not be forgotten in planning and development.
I believe that any scientific development is worthwhile only when the balance of environment and ecology is not hurt.
Environment means the surrounding conditions in which a human being lives. This is why life is completely connected to nature. This circle becomes unbalanced when we have to face Covid and cyclones such as Tauktae and Yaas.
Indian eternal vision has been nature-worshiping. The big scientific fact behind this is that ecological balance should be maintained. Tulsidasji had said in Ramcharitmanas long ago, “Kshiti, Jal, Pavak, Gagan, Sameera. Panch Rachit Ati Adham Sarira.” But we began to ignore these five elements connected with the existence of human beings in the pursuit of indiscriminate development and attainment of material achievements.
I think that the reason for the worldwide environmental crisis is our distancing from nature and ignoring the five elements.
The idea of dissolving poison continuously from chemicals and carbon-emitting gases in the air and water has created constant environmental hazards. The infection of Covid is spreading rapidly due to environmental imbalance and disturbance of the ecosystem.
Destruction of forests spoiled the environment the most. Due to fast growing population, forests are getting destroyed. Tauktae and Yaas cyclones are the result of not paying attention to environmental protection.
In this era of Covid, there’s a lot of talk about the shortage of oxygen. What is the reason for this? We always took the matter of oxygen lightly. Trees and plants are a big source of oxygen, but in consumerist thinking, trees are cut and attempts are made to bring beauty to the houses through new constructions, whereas trees and plants are the real makeup of the earth.
Fewer trees would deepen the crisis of life. It is a scientific fact that trees prevent soil erosion, recharge underground water reservoirs and also create favorable conditions for sustainable agricultural production.
Air, water and our food are mostly related to plants. Trees mean oxygen. Therefore, cutting down trees means disturbing the entire ecosystem. Think about how many birds and animals live on trees. Nature is balanced by biodiversity. Trees that provide shelter to birds also make other trees grow. I felt it myself. There are many types of trees that only grow from seeds coming out of the stomach of birds.
That is why in our culture, there is a tradition of worshiping trees. In Skanda, Padma Purana and other ancient books, Brahma is said to be seated at the origin of the Peepal tree, Vishnu in the middle and lord Shiva in the front.
Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under the sacred Peepal tree. We have been worshiping Banyan as a habitat of Shiva. Sadhus and saints performed spiritual practices under trees. Why? Because the leaves of trees flow positive energy and the mind remains calm near and under the trees.
Khejri is the state tree of Rajasthan. This tree is said to be a ‘Kapl Vriksha’, which is always helpful for people in the desert. Not only in Rajasthan, there is a tradition of worshiping it as a shami tree throughout the country. Our older generations have been more intelligent than us who sacrificed their lives to prevent the khejri from being cut. The sacrifices made for trees in Khejarli under the leadership of Amrita Devi is one of the greatest proofs of nature-related thinking in our culture.
KM Munshi was the first to start the Van Mahotsav here. He was the food and agriculture minister after the country got Independence. Realising the importance of trees, he first started the Van Mahotsav by planting saplings in Nainital in 1950.
In 1951, he came to Rajasthan and inaugurated a nursery in Jodhpur to prevent desertification. The tradition of Van Mahotsav is still going on even today, but it is not enough.
It is important that every person living on the earth plant trees and preserve them. We must reduce our needs. It has to be understood that this earth is not only for our living, but also for the innumerable animals, birds and plants, vegetation from which this ecosystem is protected.
The destruction of trees and vegetation means the destruction of our biodiversity and this creates an imbalance in the environment and leads to epidemics. Therefore, it is important that we pledge to preserve our culture of nature and environment. Embrace the thinking of development without damaging the inner balance of nature.
Remember, trees and vegetation not only make the land advanced and fertile, but also nourish everyone.
The real cure of corona-induced problems is in nature conservation itself. Life will be happy when the idea of renewable energy, environment-friendly construction work, preservation of trees and plants will be there in the concept of development. With this, we can get rid of future pandemics and cyclones.
Come, let us not celebrate world environment day just for a day, let us resolve to work with our eternal Indian vision of nature conservation throughout 365 days of the year.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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