‘Save the environment’, ‘Each one plant one’ are the slogans I have been hearing since I was a kid. The save environment campaign has gained momentum over the years however, it has has failed to elicit the desired response from the governments or the general public. The campaign has not had the desired impact thus far because of the selfish attitude of various stake holders. No one is willing to give up to gain. It is a battle between I and me; I want comforts and the ‘why me’ attitude. When I am opposing ‘me’ who will win?
The side effects….
Green cover is reducing, rivers are drying, water table is going down and the temperature is touching the extremes. Most of us are so engrossed in our individual lives that the bigger issues get neglected.
Trees do not vote so most politicians give lip service to the save environment campaign. Firm action will be taken only if the ‘vote bank’ revolts.
In cities the concrete jungle is growing at the cost of the green cover. The animals and birds struggle to find water to quench their thirst.
I remember about 35 years back how I with my 10 men survived the hot summer month of Apr under the lone ‘shady tree’ in an otherwise barren desert. The day temperature was touching 48, there was no electricity. All day we used to be sitting under the tree shifting our positions in consonance with the move of the sun. What would have been our fate if that tree was not there?
Conditions had not improved much in 2001 when I again got a chance to serve in the desert region. I was relatively comfortable but have seen my colleagues/ junior struggling to find shade for survival. In some places there was not even a single tree and soldiers used to hide under small bushes to save themselves from the scorching heat.
Saving the animals….
I have seen animals suffer the most for want of fodder and water. There was a government run water tank catering to the needs of the animals next to my post. The cattle, sheep, deer, donkeys and camels had their fixed timing at which they came to the tank. They drank water and rested a while under the few available trees and left in time leaving space for the others. I never saw any one of them violating that timing. I wish humans could learn a lesson from them.
One day the man in charge of the water tank came running to me with worry writ all over his face. The water pump had developed a snag and the water tank could not be filled. He was worried for the animals. We sent our water tankers 20 kilometres to get water and filled the tank for the animals.
It is at places like this one realises the importance of green cover, the water table and the dependence of human, animals and trees for survival on each other.
What can we humans do?
I have carried my lessons from that experience and wherever I have been I have taken care of the environment to the best of my ability. It is not difficult. Just requires a little effort from each individual. Why should we wait for the government to enforce measures? Even if every family takes the undermentioned actions it should suffice.
– Plant one tree and ensure it survives.
– Do not waste water and electricity.
– Reduce pollution.
– Dispose of garbage properly.
– Say no to plastic.
My dad used to say that the trees give us oxygen and breeze free of cost. To ensure that this continues for our future generations each one of us should plant a tree and take its care. The tree will not just give shade, food, fodder for all living beings but will also help in maintaining environment balance. So ‘Each one plant one’. In this ‘I’ versus ‘me’ battle I have to win.