Do you know that nearly all the plant’s species are autotrophs? They don’t need our support to grow, to prosper, and to protect us. But there’s a contradiction. The environmental degradation we are rampantly causing is not allowing them to blossom the way they could. If we support them by avoiding deforestation, avoiding unnecessary cutting of trees, maybe we are sustaining our personal welfare. Climate Change is not a big deal to them. It’s just that ‘human-induced Climate Change’ is something they were not prepared for.
You may have heard stories about trees surviving millennia, trees soaring beyond 300 meters, trees spanning many acres of farmland. These super creatures provide us oxygen while preparing their food (photosynthesis). The world’s oldest forests are spread across Latin America (the Amazon), the Central and South-Eastern Asia, the Savannah in Southern Africa, and parts of Australia. We have lost nearly 65% of the forest cover in the past century, which is a matter of concern.
These plants, trees, shrubs, bushes, cacti, grasses, and many others are home to animal and bird species across the planet. Wildlife encompasses both the flora and the fauna. Now comes the questions “What is our part in this? Where are we involved, and what can we do to support them?”
We are the only species degrading them at an unprecedented rate, which can only be empathized when we consider them as living beings. This applies to both animals and plants equally. We must have a sense of compassion and gratitude for their selfless lives, as they are dedicating their every moment for the well-being of others.
We can grow saplings at any nearby place. Any plant, tree of our likeness; and the growing plant doesn’t just mean that you dig through a shovel, and leave the sapling after watering it the first time. Support them, protect them and nurture them with care as you do to pets.
You must be surprised to know that there are people in this world who are repairing the wildlife with their single-handed efforts. We are enlisting here a few brief stories, to give you an insight that how some people are silently bringing change into the lives of others.
Felix Finkbeiner: He’s one inspiring young fellow who has addressed the UN assembly at the age of 9. He’s a devoted environmentalist, fighting the war against Climate Change from his childhood. Realizing that he and his peers would be living through the consequences of their passivity, Finkbeiner started the environmental group Plant-for-the-Planet, which then partnered with the UN’s Billion Tree campaign. Together, they have set a new planting goal of one trillion trees, or about 150 trees for every person on Earth.
Jadav Payeng: He’s better known as “Forest man of India”. In 1979, a 16 years old Payeng planted around 20 bamboo seedlings on the sandbar. He started working on the forest in 1979 when the social forestry division of Golaghat district launched a scheme of tree plantation on 200 hectares at Aruna Chapori, Assam. He stayed after the project completed, and he not only looked after the plants but continued to plant more trees on his own, in an effort to transform the area into a forest.
The forest, which came to be known as Molai forest, now houses Bengal tigers, Indian rhinoceros, and over 100 deer and rabbits. Molai forest is also home to monkeys and several varieties of birds, including a large number of vultures. The forest covers varied vegetation, mainly bamboo.
Bamboo covers an area of over 300 hectares. This Molai forest is a favorite among 8 dozen elephants, and they keep visiting Jadav’s forest, staying 6 months a year. A documentary has been made of Jadav’s superhuman efforts, aptly titled “Forest Man”.
Saalumarada Thimmakka: If you’ve watched the Padma Award felicitation ceremony for 2018, you would be aware of this 107-year strong lady, who blessed the President of India after receiving the award. She is known to grow and protect the 350 banyan trees in Tumkur, Karnataka. Each tree has an estimated worth of Rs. 1.75 crores. Even after planting these valuable resources, she is all the same. A ‘poor old lady’ with an affinity towards noble deeds. She never stopped planting and is still working for the forests and wildlife. She kept planting trees and plants wherever she went. People call her all across the country, to know of her perspective, and to understand the affection she has developed for trees. Her son is now carrying forward her noble cause.
Ajay is currently working as a consultant at Climate Connect Technologies Limited. He is an M.Sc in Environmental Sciences. An avid practitioner of Eco-friendly lifestyle himself, he likes to advocate the same to the masses.