India may be the 7th largest country in the world but accounts for only about 2% of the total land mass and is home to 17% of the world population. This bludgeoning population exerts tremendous amount of pressure on our environment and is only getting worse day by day. Hence, there is an urgent need for us to step out of our comfort zone and change our livelihood for a better future.
I remember being taught in schools about the important role trees play in our lives and in the surrounding ecology where their presence is too large to be sidelined. These things had created a strong impression in mind and I was determined to do my part in a city where rapid unplanned urbanization had led to felling of trees, clogged drains, contaminated drinking water, polluted atmosphere etc. which are a part and parcel of every city these days in India. So at the tender age of 9, I had already decided to make a small change by having insisted on planting an Avocado tree in our house and ours was the only house in my street to showcase its very own tree. Having planted a tree with the help of my brother had made me more responsible towards it and taking care of it was a game with all the help I could ever get.
Classes in school further taught me how life in India was eco-friendly and nothing would be wasted as every aspect would have been reused to its fullest before being recycled until urbanization kicked in and changed our lifestyle with plastic instead of fiber or paper, chemical fertilizers instead of organic farming, use and throw instead of reuse and so on. Most of today’s problems could be resolved with planning and afforestation if everyone gets involved. Me telling elders to change wouldn’t go on very well as they feel it’s the way of life. However, I was determined with my resolve and stuck to nurturing my sapling which was growing rapidly becoming a tree day by day until one day after coming back from school, I found that all its branches were cut down and in its place was a bare naked log of wood with only a few leaves to be spared and the top crown. This did not go down well with me and I vehemently protested against the ruthless cutting down of the branches. This was something that I could not take lightly for it was like a family member for me at the house. I did not repent for long and nurtured it back and waited for the tree to grow back as was told.
Today, it is still the only concrete structure in my street to house a tree as it did grow back and is now continuously provides a shelter to squirrels and beehives. My zeal in standing with the tree did not go in waste as it provides us an opportunity to not just me but the neighborhood to enjoy the avocados every year. This one tree showed us how we are still capable of nurturing greenery at our door step with love and care as good as nurturing a pet animal. The other thing that I have learnt is that for humans to become more responsible it is very necessary for a thought to be embedded in our mind right from a young age. If just like me, there was a kid who was given a chance to nurture a plant right from the beginning at every household or in school, that kid would not only strive for greenery later in life but would also become more caring, responsible and also GREEN at heart. For humanity to change its livelihood, we have to start from the roots where every child learns his or her role towards planet Earth and all this takes is a seed to get started.
M.P.RAJESH PONNAPPA is a 21 year old mechanical engineering student who takes self-made initiatives to make the world around him a better place one step at a time. He likes motivating people to do their best in making a difference. E-mail –rajeshponnappa(at)gmail(dot)com
Do you have a flair for writing? Interested in environmental issues? Why don’t you submit an article for the GreenCleanGuide 2013 contest? For contest rules, please visit thislink