Monday, December 28, 2009

‘Cities expand, trees disappear’

‘Cities expand, trees disappear’

Chitra V. Ramani
We have been uprooted from our forest culture: Bahuguna
— Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

NURTURING A THOUGHT: Leader of Chipko Movement Sunderlal Bahuguna watering a sapling at a meeting with Hasiru Dhwani at Gandhi Bhavan in Bangalore on Sunday. Chairman of Karnataka Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi H. Srinivasaiah is seen.
Bangalore: “Bangalore has too many cement buildings and not enough trees. With increasing development, we have become more materialistic. As cities expand, trees disappear. The same is happening here,” said Sunderlal Bahuguna, renowned environmentalist and leader of the Chipko Movement.

He was speaking at an interactive meeting organised by Hasiru Dhwani, in association with Karnataka Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi, Malenadu Janapara Horata Samiti, Era Organic, among others, here on Sunday.

“In the race for development, we have become ‘butchers of mother Earth’. We need to practice the ‘Three As formula’ — i.e., austerity, look for alternatives and invest in afforestation,” the octogenarian-environmentalist said.

He also said that “we have been uprooted from our forest culture”.

“A nation which is uprooted from its culture cannot survive for long. It is time we realised this and take corrective steps to revive our forest culture. We need trees for our survival,” he added.

Mr. Bahuguna said that with natural wealth deteriorating, even water had become a scarce commodity.

“Our fresh water sources are polluted. We cannot import water. The scarcity is only going to worsen. The only solution is plant more trees,” he said.

He said that trees not only produce oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide they also are sources of food, fodder and fertilizer.

Mr. Bahuguna also said that Mahatma Gandhi wanted people to treat nature with reverence.

“Our priority should be to plant more trees. If there is no place in Bangalore, trees, especially the ones yielding nuts and oilseeds, besides flowering and fruit trees, should be planted on the outskirts,” he added.

“We need permanent dams i.e., more trees in catchment areas,” he said. Mr. Bahuguna and his wife, Bimala Bahuguna, were felicitated.

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