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July 3, 2007

An Ecological Renaissance within us.


Mr. Common man, heard about cutting down emission levels to pre‑1990 levels, banning chemicals that harm the ozone layer, removal of POP chemicals from the ecosystem, dam rights and the not so right dams in the minds of decision makers, forests and conservation, ever looming threats of climate change that is standing right outside your doorstep, especially if you live in Bombay in the recent years. News concerning issues not related to us are filtering down slowly, day by day to most of us living on the periphery.

It might not be termed a movement, yet it is something more than that. It is the dawn of an age when the actions of one will have a bearing upon the fate of others. Already we are seeing the shrill cries on US hegemony who are so selflessly reluctant to reduce pollution levels. Already, many show concern when oil
fields in Iraq burn, not because oil is wasted but because of the pollution being created. Already, the farmer is asking why it is raining so hard in April when July is supposed to be the season for the famous Indian downpour. Questions are being asked, whether in distant Latehar‑ where sandwiched between degrading forests, uncompromising governments and rifle yielding naxals, people cringe with doubt about their future, yet plan some innovation each day to survive fruitfully or in the hills of the Nilgiris where widespread ecosystem changes have compelled simple people to revert back to the old age customs, whence growing ragi was not decried as eating a poor mans food but, as the perfect right nutrition mix. What we see today are the beginnings of a seed about to germinate, a seed hypothetically termed as an ecological renaissance.

Renaissance for nothing less would do to save the ecosystems people that we used to be – from the impending doom looming large over us.

Ecology shall be soon ingrained in the heart of the neighbourhood friendly person. Ecology would no longer remain a subject taught at premier institutes and researched upon to gain innumerable doctorates, nor would it relegated to a handful of professionals who find it difficult to disperse the idea of a sustainable ecology to the so called teeming millions. Ecology would be instead the basic understanding through which we understand and appreciate processes of the ecosystem we live in.

The past few decades has been catastrophic to say the least, but even more catastrophic is the specter of the next few decades. Many silent springs have been written, theoris have been propounded that the idea that is environmentalism has arrived, doomsday theories have been put forth, but strangely, the real target, the masses have been neglected. The plethora of report and interpretations fills whole libraries but the person tilling the land is excluded from these exciting discussions. He is merely informed of the decisions that were taken by a couple of intellectuals and officials of their unavailability to prevent his son from committing suicide. However, the right to live and be enlivened has touched all. Now, people have started asking questions, why do we use malathion when neem might just work well, why do we build dams when all we need are small local structures, these whys are increasing day by day and taking shape in the form of countless movements. Koel karo, appiko, silent valley and chipko are merely the manifestation of harping doubts which somehow managed to stick on to our consciousness. Stuck not because they would have affected us now, but because we will surely be the one losing out.

It is a time for a green ecological renaissance and a time to strengthen old ones.