What is a tree? On the façade, it is a big bark with many hanging leaves. But let us for once look at it from a perspective a little beyond these lenses. One tree is a home for many fellow species.
One Tree is a biodiversity in itself. A shed for creeping insects, flying birds and slithering reptiles. Keeping this picture in mind imagine what a forest is for this Earth. The planet that is not us ours but to every element, biotic or abiotic. If any less they deserve this home a lot more than we do in the post-modern human world.
So where does our favourite beverage, tea, come in the scene? “Tea” was once a luxury item, a sip meant for the aristocrats. With the advent of industrial mass production and global outreach today it is an everyday beverage for the common human.
While this drink has become a part of our daily lives, it takes away the land from many breathing forests and wildlife along the way. Several acres of forests are cleared by farmers to make room for tea cultivation.
The real question it in this age of global warming, landslides, rising temperature, melting of glaciers and fast reducing forests do we really need tea as an addition to our breakfast, lunch, dinner and habitual thinking? Production and consumption have a direct relationship where the reduction of one automatically forces the other down.
So, do we have to stop drinking tea? No! This is the era of innovation and creative thinking. There is an alternative for everything, even tea. Let us delve our pallet into a different range of tea. Fruits which we enjoy every season can be a good resource for tea.
Fruit peels like that of lemon, oranges and apple as well as fruit core like apple and pineapple make excellent tangy tea. We come from a land of spices. The very spices attracted distant travelers worldwide.
Do you know that these spices like cardamom, cinnamon, clove, star anise, cumin, fennel (the list is never-ending) can make excellent tea with several health benefits? Even flowers such as hibiscus, lavender and chamomile have a reputation in Herbology and Ayurveda with medicinal boons. One does not even have to buy these new kinds of tea. These are elements that are well stocked in our kitchen.
I started by scavenging in my kitchen stock, often making a mixture of many flavours, experimenting with the taste buds. There were days I sat and read about the tremendous benefits of “no tea leaves” tea. But at the end of the dusk when I sat with my cup of the liquid warmth, I had a big smile of sustainability! I mean think about it all a tea really needs of boiling water, the new tea and 5 minutes of steeping.
The tea plantation has found its place in many historical revolutions marched by tea garden labours and atrocities they underwent. It is about time we fit it in the diaries of sustainability and ecological restoration with the same zeal. This time for the revolution in our attitude of consumption.