Planting a tree is not just an ordinary act. It is a spiritual karma through which we let the sun’s energy flow through life. A tree is not just a form of life. It is the central symbol of the living planet, a symbol of happiness, a symbol of a sustainable future. Now when the living planet is suffering from the fever of climate change, planting a tree emerges as a human response to heal the planet.
When we are in school, we are taught how important mathematics, science, history, geography and languages are for our future. At the beginning of our formal education, we are taught alphabets, numbers, rhymes and short moral stories numerous times until it sinks in our mind. It is because we learn things by doing it over and over again. Teacher monitors our progress by conducting exams and then grades our performance. If we fall short on the grades, we try harder the next time until we become good at it. The subjects remain the same in all the classes with just an advanced knowledge added each year. We even have the extra-curricular activities such as sports, yoga, painting, singing, dancing and many more which is believed to keep alive our creativity and put us in a good body shape devoid of any diseases or injury. We are taught that these activities foster our personality development. We are made to believe that this whole process ensures our beautiful future where we will have the jobs we love, with that job will come the money that will help us buy a beautiful home, unlimited clothes, lots of interior design accessories, cars, TV, smartphones, laptop, holidays in exotic locations and what not.
So, we live our lives this way and encourage our future generations to follow the same footprints because this is what has been taught to us to perceive normal by our predecessors.
But what we often do not tell our children in the very beginning is that the planet we are living on is dying. In the never-ending wants of beautiful homes, all accessories and life’s comforts we have cut down the trees, axed the forests and deserted our lands. We did not stop here; we have also put many beautiful plant and animal species, which had the same right to live on earth as we have, on the verge of extinction and many have already been wiped away from existence. We do not tell them that the foundation of our beautiful home is laid down rendering numerous wild species homeless. We do not tell them the automobiles and manufacturing plants where our comfort is taken care of, the death of other species is ensured. We tell them with pride about progress and development. But we ignore to tell them that this progress and development which we are witnessing comes at the cost of destructing our planet.
The reason we are facing climate change, the process putting question mark on our survival, is not because the plant or animal species want a comfortable life. They are happy as long as they have fresh air to breathe, fresh water to drink, enough food to eat and shelter in the forests, their natural shelters. They don’t want concrete houses to live, electronic gadgets to entertain themselves, professional careers to show one’s value. It is we, the Homo sapiens, the supreme species! We want a comfortable life at the cost of destructing nature to an extent that we are taking ourselves closer to our own extinction. The very life-giving oxygen producing plants are taken for granted; we are cutting them down at a horrifying rate. In return, we do not even feel obligated to compensate this deed by planting trees or reforestation so that these species, animal species and our future generations can witness a sustainable future.
We proudly call ourselves human but we have forgotten the definition of humanity. Humanity is not about just the thought and care of our loved ones but it is the noble intention and equivalent action for the benefit of each and every living entity existing in this universe. We are already experiencing the consequences of climate change and if we do not put ourselves accountable for our mistakes and rectify them, we will keep experiencing what we are experiencing and even at a magnified rate. The future of our children will keep getting darker shades of the present.
When a child is born, his mind is like a blank slate, where he engraves the learning taught to him in school or at home. If we teach them sustainability is our progress with the technologies alone, he will learn it and in future strive hard to develop more technologies to witness more progress. If we teach him, sustainability is our progress with the required technologies along with the conservation of other plant and animal species; he will learn it and his actions will be driven to attain such progress. If we keep him ignorant about the consequences of climate change, he will learn the same and will turn his senses off to this urgency and the consequences of climate change will keep getting intensified.
The bright future of our children will just remain in our greed driven thoughts while our ignorant actions will wash away all the beautiful colours from their lives in reality.
However, we can correct our ignorant actions by helping our children to plant a tree. A few decades ago we could not do it because we did not take this seriously or we thought someone else should take this responsibility, Why me? This superiority driven mindset of ours never allowed any of us to take this as a personal responsibility; however, it indeed is a personal responsibility. Now we cannot go back in the past and plant a tree but we can definitely help our children in planting trees so that they could have enough oxygen to breathe, an inhabitable environment, and a climate to comfortably thrive in.
Let’s tell our children with the same firm belief the importance of planting trees as we tell them about the importance of other subjects for their future. School and colleges are the best platform where we can inculcate the personal responsibility in children for their bright and sustainable future. In doing so, we all will get involved in taking this responsibility as a personal one. We need to encourage our children in doing the things we believe are good for their future and help them out to our best possible abilities. When they plant a tree every once in a year and monitor its growth as they do for other subjects, in the end, together with mastery in the subjects that will shape their professional future, they would have made our earth a bit more greener which is the bright future for them along with the other species who have the same right to live on earth as we have.
Along with “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, let us tell them “planting a tree a day keeps the climate change away”.
See, committing mistakes was our ignorant nature. Accepting our mistakes is our wonderful culture and rectifying our mistakes will be our and our generations’ bright future.
Let this idea not get buried in our thoughts only. Let this idea get buried inside the soil in the form of a seed so that every time we breathe the fresh air produced by that grown plant, we realise that’s our idea flourishing for the nourishment of all living species amidst a benevolent climate.
(The author is a research scholar involved in food & nutrition, climate change & disaster management.)
Friday, 28 June 2019 | Pushpa Dhami| in Devbhoomi Spiritual
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