Vegetation is very important for the existence of all living organisms. It provides oxygen, water, food and shelter for all the creations of the universe. But, unfortunately owing to growing population coupled with consumeristic life styles, forests are being destroyed all over the world. The older generation was very sensitive in protecting and preserving vegetation. In some tribal communities, soon after cutting an old tree, five saplings were being planted to compensate for the loss. Also, poojas were done for committing the offence of cutting a tree, which served several purposes.
However, after industrialization, trees were felled without any concern for them. Since 1990, after globalization, all over India, trees were uprooted for widening roads. The administrative staff and civil engineers lacked concern for environment and future of their own children. Land owners (farmers) would have been very happy to provide their land for laying the new road along with planting two more rows of trees on both sides.
More than sixty percent of sunlight can be utilized if trees are grown, owing to their height and longevity. They not only provide extra biomass, conserve soil and water and also provide shelter for beneficial predators. In my opinion, tree growing is very important. For those owning land, it should become statutory obligation to raise trees, at least on 25% of the land area. Celebrations could be made more meaningful by marking the occasions by planting saplings. Offering saplings as gifts is another way to increase the awareness and concern for improving vegetation.
I recall fondly my grandmother telling me a story of an aged agricultural woman who got jowar grain as wages, borrowed flour grinding stone from a comfortably placed farmer’s wife, grind the grain, feel grateful for escaping starvation and instantly composing a song in kannada in praise of her. The poem goes like this …
“Kalu kotta manage ella bhagyavubarali (May the mother who has given the grain have all the fortune);
Pallakkiya Neri Maga Barali (May her son come in the palanquin);
Mallige hoovu Mudiva Sose barali” (May a wonderful daughter-in- law come).
Owing to lack of fuel efficient chulas (stove), we are wasting at least 45% wood fuel for cooking and heating bath water. So it is high time for the scientists, the administrators and all of us to go for efficient chulas, to save trees and the forest. It is surprising that inspite of great improvement in our national economy, we did not utilize renewable energy resources like solar, wind and hydropower to the maximum extent.
During the last two decades, paper consumption has increased tremendously – be it school children, IT professionals or even poets. For instance, in the residence of a poet friend of mine, to my surprise I found around two hundred paper balls crushed and thrown out. Why I am highlighting this is to stress that if you have concern before you start a work you can save a lot of material, time and energy.
Forests (trees) are the source of oxygen. Hence forest plays an important role in preserving biodiversity which is very important for the future generation. Farmers can contribute a lot to improve ecological status even if they can adapt agro forestry system all over the world to combat affects of deforestation.
Shri Narayana Reddy is a legendary organic farmer and is one of the most sought after resource persons on ecological agriculture.
L Narayana Reddy
Srinivasapura, (near) Marelanahalli,
Hanabe Post-561 203, Doddaballapur Taluk,
Bangalore Rural District, Karnataka, India.