“For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity”
Wordsworth’s verses on getting wiser and learning the relation between nature and humanity is a reminder how humans have been thoughtlessly exploiting mother earth through the years.
The International Day for Biological Diversity, celebrated on May 22, raises awareness about this issue and calls for action to protect our planet’s biodiversity. The theme this year is “Building a shared future for all life”. This theme highlights the role that each of us can play in protecting biodiversity.
Home to nearly eight per cent of global biodiversity on just 2.3 per cent of global land area, India contains sections of four of the 36 global biodiversity hotspots. India’s unique and diverse ecosystems, distributed across many landscapes, rivers, and oceans are economically valuable too. The (asset) value of India’s forests adjusted for inflation was estimated to be Rs128 trillion in 2018.
Because of our collective excesses, the ecological carrying capacity of planet earth has largely been exceeded. Whether we look at nature from an environmental point of view or from a cultural or religious, it is our collective responsibility to respect the environment.
Not a lost cause
In fact, the possibilities exist, and all is not lost in India. A while ago, Apple Inc. partnered with Pune-based Applied Environmental Research Foundation (AERF) to conserve a 2,400-hectare mangrove in Maharashtra’s Raigarh district. According to reports, the technology giant has granted an undisclosed sum to the non-governmental organisation involved in biodiversity conservation to work with the people who are living around the mangrove forest.
Tamil Nadu has established 13,608 Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) at the urban and local body levels in order to profile biological resources and to ensure their conservation. The Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board (TNBB), an autonomous statutory body of the State, had provided in-person training and a sum of Rs 50,672 to 90 model BMCs. The Board has received ABS funds of Rs 1.74 crore through the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and Rs 2.56 lakh from companies accessing biological resources.
An individual’s role
A village in Manipur’s hill district Ukhrul boasts of a large variety of some rare orchids. Like fellow Nagas, school teacher Betterson Ngashangva explores the jungles and looks for orchids which are in demand across India. In 2014, Ngashangva started venturing into forests for the preservation of orchids. He began collecting them from the jungles and replanting them at home. He allows them to grow naturally. He says he is preserving the beautiful plants for the future generations and feels satisfied with what he is doing.