Earth Day. A day for the Earth. I think there would be a fancy figure of speech somewhere in those words. The Earth, who has given us everything, we are giving Her one day? One whole day? Isn’t that too generous? Oh, Earth Hour is it? OK. (*Indian head nod)
So this is fairly a new found hobby initiated in me by someone whom I’m indebted to — gardening. Growing up in a govt. township in Mumbai I’ve always been surrounded by plants. Being a fertilizer township, their horticulture game was top notch. When I was young(er), we even used to make small canals that watered the plants using discarded water from the building, plant many flowering plants, play endlessly in the lawn, identify different plants and what not. However, as we grow older, that habit faded away. Perhaps the case is similar with most of you reading this.
Most of you who know me and follow my posts know my thing with moving cities. Now, living in Bangalore for the past 3+ years, there’s one thing that everyone living here can vouch for. Bangalore has always been endowed with great weather and for a rain lover like me, it surely is a blessing. However, for the past few months it has been getting really hot. When the temperature soars here, it starts to drizzle. And that is what happened, it rained a fair bit in the past few days here and that is what I wanted to talk about.
For people who have visited my house, or again, have followed my posts, may have seen the terrace and our attempts to grow a nice lawn on it (above picture). Growing of a lawn first requires a lot of stuff that we didn’t anticipate. Since the heat was so much, none of the water was getting retained and seeds wouldn’t sprout. We had to make jugaad arrangements to ensure water evaporates less (below picture).
Out of all of this, the most difficult task was de-weeding. I can easily term it as one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, and that is the point. The amount of effort it takes to remove plants from the soil is immense. To add to that, as soon as the plants realise their existence is in danger, they sprout up and shoot out seeds in all directions.
It is incredibly difficult to cut out life from the earth, and yet we as a species have been successful in doing so. We have made ginormous machines that uproot, skin, and chop 100mts tall trees in a matter of seconds. The video below breaks my heart.
Bringing back the weather part, it rained a little in the past few days and in just these past 4 spells, the seeds started to sprout again (below picture). Mother Nature has always tried her best to counter our actions, but our rate of deforestation is quadruple times higher and no match for nature to keep up.
Civic bodies are cutting down trees in the most ruthless manner. They now even talk in a manner that wouldn’t even make sense to a toddler. Their priorities are completely skewed and understanding of environment is abysmal.
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It has come to a point that all the forces that aim to help stop this devastation too feel powerless.
The second part of this post is that of water. This cycle of water and plants, both indispensable and integral part of nature, is the other facet of this grave issue.
Went on a bike ride the other day, and the most common thing that we seek for in a joy ride is to go to some water body. When you go for a drive or a ride, you instinctively search for a water body cause you know that intrinsically it will cool you down, emotionally and physically. Coming from Bombay, I personally find it quite difficult to stay away from the ocean, its difficult to explain, but we know what the feeling is like. We are hard wired for that. Heck, in every space research, the first thing we look for is water on another planet, it is so crucial. We disregard planetary systems that do not exhibit water in some form or the other.
The picture of Google maps below shows the supposed lake that we were trying to find. This was a large lake, mind you and the video that follows shows the complete lack of it.
There was not an ounce of water and we casually dismiss it saying that this is summer and not the time for water to be there. Its a lake, not some pond that should get dried up. Was it this way in April of 1990?
Even with all of this, we have this skewed understanding of human development to be at the expense of nature, and not one in tandem.
Bangalore has decided to cut its iconic tree canopies on the roads and concretising the roads as we saw above. Mumbai has decided to open up a forest for making malls, essentially.
Aarey locals protest tree-cutting, detained
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Bangalore citizens used to drill 150mts and find water 5 years ago, and today, even if digs 600mts, no water. Ground water reserves are irreparable. When will people wake up?
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We used to say, conserve water for our future generations, and that statement is false now. We need to conserve water for our immediate children, and tomorrow — ourselves. I believe there will soon be a time when every inhabitant human of the earth will be forced to leave everything that they are doing and focus of survival, revival of potable consumable water.