Updated: Jul 16
Everything these days seems to revolve around Covid-19 and why not when there is so much to learn from it. As, nature dictates, we are adapting to the “New Normal” and term which we hear very often these days.
So what is this new normal? Work from home, Study from home, Social distancing(term loosely coined) etc we have become quite good at them.
One new normal that is a must every time you step out is - wearing a Mask. Frankly, wearing a mask can be quite uncomfortable much like helmets and both are for our own good, But, we do not like to wear the mask for various reasons, major one being - discomfort.
If wearing a mask is so uncomfortable. What do you think about carrying an oxygen cylinder every time you step out Just so you know, an oxygen cylinder of decent capacity weighs around 3 kg, and lot more heavier on your pockets.
This is what we may have to do in near future, because, that is the rate at which our trees are disappearing.
Forest area, the size of UK is lost every year around the world.
For those interested in numbers, the rate of loss now stands at 26m hectares (64m acres) a year, having grown rapidly in the past five years.
This is despite pledges made by governments in 2014 to reverse deforestation and restore trees and us planting trees in a frenzied competition breaking world records in the process.
Now, Why is it so?
The trees we plant today, will take at least 10 -15 years to reach a stage where they give us enough oxygen, or function as climate stabilizers, like their predecessors that were cut down.
The ones which we lost were not just oxygen suppliers.
They were living souls,
The only home to many species, some of which we are still discovering.
They were the only source of food for them.
The Forests are not just trees.
All the creatures of varying sizes, a huge elephant to an ant and every size in between,
The plants again in varied varieties
All the mucky water bodies
and so many more (the list would fill the blog!!)
These are what make a forest.
They have been living in harmony for thousands of years, and are the only place they know to live. Nature painstakingly creates these harmonious ecosystem of forests, and It takes her a whopping 600-1000 years to do it.
Can you replace all these in 10 years?
During lock-down, we witnessed mass displacement of thousands of people who were left homeless overnight. The pain and suffering of these people is etched in our memories. People starving, and clueless as to where to go or what to do as roads were blocked. Few good souls managed to provide food and shelter for some of them.
Thousands of animals and birds go through the same suffering and pain, when their only home - the forests are destroyed. Can you imagine? The forest is the only place they can live, or rather allowed to live. They find themselves homeless and starving overnight. They are voiceless, hence left to starve to death or die an agonizing death with no one to help
Some of the people displaced during lock-down, managed to reach their hometown, travelling hundreds of kilometres on foot. At least, they knew where they had to go, and had a place to return to. But, the animals and birds that lose their home have no clue as to where to go, or, how to find another place, or, even if such a place exists. They wander aimlessly. To top it, they are chased and killed by villagers along the way.
Every year more than 50% of species that are declared extinct are attributed to habitat destruction. Their homes are destroyed just so we can meet our never ending demands of luxury
Can you stop all this blood bath by planting trees alone?
The benefits of forests for us humans is much more. We are still discovering them, and beginning to realize their value. Many cultures revere them as sacred places, for they saw the importance of forests. As we traversed the modernization path, we seem to have lost this knowledge.
The forests are source of major rivers and water. Source of medicines. Source of livelihood for thousands of villages on their outskirts.
Source of peace
We lose these forever when the forest is gone.
So in the “New normal” list, in addition to planting trees, can we also include -
Saving our forests,
Saving trees wherever they may be - in a forest, on roadsides, in your backyard.
For each tree is a living soul and a home to many more.
Don’t let our trees die , Don't Let our forests die, Don’t let our animals die.
You can stop the blood bath !!!
Join the tree groups in your area. Support the groups and people that work to save our forests and urban trees. Connect with them over social media and help out
Some of the people and groups working on these are
Vijay Nishant Tree Doctor, Founder Project Vruksha
Sandeep Anirudhan - A former serial entrepreneur and management professional, now dedicated life towards sustainability and conservation
Green Tweet Army
Save Aarey Forest
India Environment Matters
UN Climate Change
Climate Action Gurugram