Yesterday as I woke up and drew my curtains apart, I noticed the scenery outside had somehow changed. It took me a minute to realize that two healthy, green and big Almond (Badam) trees were missing. I ran out to see what happened. Just the usual, somebody wanted to construct a house on the empty plot and had uprooted the trees to make way.
I have failed to understand why trees, which would anyway be near the compound, or the front or rear part of the house are cut down, as a plan can be easily made to circumvent them. And then these trees were not useless also, they regularly gave fruits. Any tree for that matter, even if not fruits, would definitely provide oxygen and shade. There are two small trees at the bus stop from where our office bus picks us up every morning; around 20-30 of us crowd under those for shade every day. As famously said,
“Everyone wants to park in the shade, but no one wants to plant a tree.”
In my PG, sometimes, unnecessary lights are kept burning. Girls forget to switch off the geyser or fan. Even with constant reminders, some refuse to turn off appliances and their explanation-“I pay for it, I can use as much as I like.” “Oh yes! You could, only if our power reserves were unlimited.” But that isn’t the case. Power is currently obtained using coal and water, both of which are available in very limited quantities.
The same applies to water usage. A tanker fills up our sump and in two days, around 20000 liter of water is used up. Try telling people that we can’t afford such usage. I bet the answer you would get is “I can pay more”. Have you ever thought how would you buy water if it did not exist? “Not exist!!! That’s just ridiculous. We know that can’t happen”. Oh yes, not that it would cease to exist, but it would exist in unusable forms- like polluted lakes & river bodies, salt water in oceans, groundwater way below 100 feet depth. What would we do then?
Somehow, there is a notion in our head that once we have money, we can buy everything else. If there is scarcity of something, all that it would take is more money to get it. But this is true only till the tipping point, beyond which what we actually want will not be around anymore. Will we eat and drink money then?
There is one other argument that even if all this were to happen, it wouldn’t happen anytime soon. “I won’t suffer, so why should I care”. Is it really so? The droughts, floods, weather changes, extreme heat and extreme cold that have already been occurring- they are clearly the signs of climate change. If this summer you had a tough time getting water tankers or if you witnessed the floods in Chennai last year, you know you are already a victim of climate change. It is not a ‘future thing’ anymore, it is here and it is real.
Nature has been around for millions of years and will continue to be so. It has always evolved and adapted to the changes. But we humans are frail and cannot evolve to keep pace with nature. Ideally all these campaigns should be called ‘Human Conservation Clubs’, not nature clubs. Because if we keep violating nature, it is us who will be destroyed, not nature! So, what do you we about it? If you were thinking of joining the next poster campaign, wait a moment. Before you start preaching, check if you are practicing the essentials. Get one or two plants and take good care of them, switch off your appliances/gadgets when not in use, use minimal water for all purposes, feed a few stray animals, ensure your vehicles are conditioned and within pollution limits. If you think all this is in place move on and tell a few more people to do the same because, it is always the small things that matter.