Be it the forests of Wayanad in Kerala or the Mahan forests, housing the oldest Sal trees, our jungles are fast diminishing. A greedy bunch of people want to take control of these forests in the name of development and commercialization. Many real estate companies have also contributed to deforestation. Other causes are expansion of land for agricultural purposes, timber harvesting, mining etc.
Now add to this climate change – one can only assume what the result would be. Loss of a major source of oxygen, global warming, loss of wild life, loss of habitat and source of food for many.
Nevertheless, I have to ask just a simple question. How long do you think the cool breeze will sustain, if trees are continuously, felled like this?
A bit of research will reveal that as long as 8,000 years ago, the world’s forests covered about 15 billion acres. But, over the years, the global forest areas have gone down by almost 40%. One can only wonder about the grim condition of Indian forests. It is believed that deforestation in India came to being when Thomas Munro, the then elected governor, in the year 1823 tried to bring in Industrialization as a mode of increasing the economy. It was much later in the year 1878 that the government chose to protect our forests.
As per the U.N. FAO, almost 23% of India is covered with forests, that amounts to 68,434,000 ha, consisting of 22.9% primary forests. At the same time, we find from reports that between the years 1990 to 2010, India on an average has lost about 224,750 ha or 0.35% of forest cover, each year.
When it comes to Mahan, located in Singrauli district, forged signatures paved the way for the Gram sabha resolution in favor of the coal mining project by Essar and Hindalco leading to deforestation of our oldest Sal forests.
Enter Greenpeace! Greenpeace is fighting to save nature and protect our forests. It is a non-profit organization, with its presence in 40 countries all over Europe, US, Asia and the Pacific. It has established its presence in India since 2001, working on various issues related to the environment. The main campaigns that it works on includes climate change, sustainable agriculture, preserving the oceans and preventing another nuclear destruction. I am an online volunteer for Greenpeace India. I actively promoted the #Save Mahan campaign that has garnered support from all over India and parts of the foreign countries, via the solidarity event on National Day of Action on 18th May.
Online campaigning is the way to support Greenpeace campaigns. You can also promote or inform public about events and activities of Greenpeace, via social networking sites. Apart from this, Van satyagrahas and peaceful protests are common occurrences at Mahan. The one silver lining in this fight for justice and to save Mahan forests is the decision that there would be no felling of trees, at least till this October. If only the decision were to be made permanent. The people of Mahan are awaiting proper justice. Now, with the new government all set to take over in our country I’ll conclude my blog with the hope that things would get better and people of Mahan would not lose their livelihood and our forests will be better protected. I am in no way against development, but I hope that at least the new government would realize that in no way should development be at the cost of nature or our jungles. Here’s also hoping that more people would realize that nature is not to be just appreciated but one should also strive hard to protect it. I call out to the people of India and around the world to come join in the fight to save our forests.
Resources for facts and figures
Vidya has 7 years of experience as an online content editor and writer. Her passion for writing drove her to study Literature in college and pursue a Masters in Journalism and Communication. Currently she works as a freelance content writer and social media manager for NeaArts Media based in Calicut, Kerala. Blogging is what she does to express her views and ideas on certain issues prevailing in our society. She is also an online volunteer with Greenpeace India and believes that nature needs to be conserved. Vidya is passionate about educating people to better protect our environment and natural resources.