Only we can save our environment
Have you noticed how the two words ‘on men’ are hidden inside the word ‘environment’? The word ‘men’ here represents mankind and what they are trying to say is that it is all of us together who form the heart of our environment. It is, therefore, up to us to make our environment livable… and it is up to mankind (that is, all of us) to save our environment.
Let me tell you a story. There was a tiger in Corbett who once had a dream that his race would be wiped out if they continued to be aggressive. So he decided to come out of the reserved forest and be friendly with mankind. Humans were afraid to see this huge ferocious animal walk out of the forest and towards their village so boldly. Some fell on the ground to invoke their Gods and ask for protection. They prayed:
Save us O Lord from the king of beasts
And we will celebrate the day with feasts!
The gods smiled and thought, ‘These humans are so fond of feasts that even when they want protection, they think of their own feasts!’ But Gods besides knowing all that is there to know also knew why the tiger was walking on towards that village. The Gods then commanded the tiger stop where he was and sit there calmly without roaring. Humans questioned everything so they could not be commanded… not even by the Gods. Therefore, the Gods made them think, ‘Let us offer the tiger some food and maybe he will then go back into the forest.’ This they did because they took their thoughts quite seriously. The tiger ate the food that was offered and taking this as a sign of friendship, had his fill and walked back into the forest, happy.
From that day, the tiger was left food near the edge of the forest and everyone was happy. Sometime later a few trees were cut by the villagers and they found that the tiger insisted on coming out to sit to where the edge of the forest used to be. So they decided not to cut any more trees and this went on for years.
But this was centuries ago. Now for many years, the trees in the forests have been cut… sometimes for need and sometimes for greed. But as a result, the natural home for the tigers has become smaller and they are forced to come out into the open. Some greedy men who are also called poachers, have taken advantage of this and many tigers have been killed over the years.
Are you aware that there are only 2226 tigers left… and this is making the food chain also collapse in confusion? The environment and the eco-system also suffers because it needs all sorts of life to co-exist in harmony, helping each other. Just go back a few years and we had much fewer tigers roaming in the forests… and there were only 1706 of them in 2011. Awareness of the importance of tigers to conserve the planet’s eco-system is one reason why this number is slowly increasing… and partly it is the effort of the #AircelSaveOurTiger project that has had a substantial impact. They have contributed not just towards the protection of the tiger habitat but through education in the buffer zones have managed to reduce the human-animal conflict instances. Another fact that isn’t very well known is that it is possible to successfully move tigers from one corridor to another if saturation in numbers is reached… so the tigers from Kumaon hills and Sunderbans can be easily moved to surrounding areas through tiger corridors. And anyway, there are areas like Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, Sanjay-Dubri and Guru Ghasi Das in Chhattisgarh that can accommodate a lot of tigers. We do not really need have tigers pushing and mauling each other merely to survive. Tiger movement to other receptive areas is just as vital protecting them to increase their numbers. This is why the first paragraph itself has mentioned that it is our responsibility to understand what is good for the ecosystem and take the right steps. Only then we will deserve to be in the heart of envirONMENt.
So far as suggestions are concerned, the first one is obviously to increase the span of tiger corridors… by creating new ones in areas where they can survive the climate. Conflict with humans in such new areas will of course need to tackled in just the way it is being done in the existing corridors… so education, awareness, and in some cases, even shifting human settlements may be essential. What I am trying to say is that efforts like the #AircelSaveOurTigers don not necessarily have remain limited to their present zones. These projects need to think wider and think creating more tiger corridors so that the spread of this animal is wider.
Another suggestion links saving the environment and the tigers through poetry which is experiencing a revival in India. Of late we have had a lot of lit fests being introduced and poetry is an integral part of them. So poetry contests can be held in, for instance, the Kumaon Literary Festival, which is slated to be held in Nainital from the 23rd to the 27th of October 2015… and there is then the JLF coming up in January 2016. No special sessions for such contests are needed… just be an integral part of any of the sessions on any of the topics and request a couple of minutes to announce that the present audience can submit two-liners or small stanzas on tigers. The participants, in fact, can be asked to also tweet their rhyming two-liners… and the social media is also effectively involved. If this is getting difficult, just give out a number and ask for Whatsapp messages from the audience… or maybe they can be given slips of paper to write their rhymes which can then be pasted on a massive tiger poster somewhere near. All that I am saying is that a revival of poetry is obvious now… and before some other product latches on to this trend, why not have the tiger allowing poetry to ride it?
It is interesting to see how one move to save the tiger can result in saving the environment and then even helping poetry accelerate our social matrix! And lest you’ve forgotten, only WE can do this.
15 October 2015