Hug a Tree

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
― John Muir



Most of us have heard about the Chipko movement and many of us have even studied about the wonders of the movement in our school textbooks.  For those of you who don’t know, Chipko Movement was started in 1970’s. It was a non violent movement aimed at protection and conservation of trees and forests from being destroyed.The name of the moment originated from the word ’embrace’ as the villagers used to hug the trees and protect them from wood cutters from cutting them.

The spirit of this movement refuses to die in India. People across the country are inspired by such non violent methods to protect  their green wealth. One such recent story is that of Jharkand. Villagers from Jharkhand and other nearby areas engaged in various activities to make the environment green.Therefore, an environment fair is held on October 7th every year in the area. People gather and attend this fair in thousands.A cycle rally was held on the occasion on Friday to create awareness. Men, women and children from the nearby villages offer prayers and worship the trees by tying a sacred thread o the trees to protect them.

The Appiko movement was another such revolutionary movement based on environmental conservation in India inspired by the Chipko movement. villagers of the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka State in southern India launched a similar movement to save their forests. In September 1983, led by Paduranga Hegde, men, women and children of Salkani “hugged the trees” in Kalase forest to save the trees from been cut down.

In 1950,forest-covered more than 81 percent of Uthara Kanara district. The government, declaring this forest district a “backward” area, then initiated the process of “development”.The forest had shrunk to nearly 25 percent of the district’s area by 1980. That is a huge amount of loss of green economy in the name of development.

The Jungle Bachao Andolan of the 1980’s is another such movement which spread across Bihar, Jharkand and Orissa The tribal of Bihar started a protest when the government decided to replace the natural sal forest with the highly priced Teak. There are many such movements at small as well as large-scale operating in different places. While some have achieved success in protecting their green wealth, there are some who are still struggling to cope up with chaotic developmental plans.

Looking at the brighter side of the movement, there are many such small initiatives taken by villagers to preserve their environment. Villagers in southern Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district is quietly practicing  Eco-feminism and achieving spectacular results.Villagers plant 111 trees every time a girl is born and the community ensures these trees survive, attaining fruition as the girls grow up.Over the last six years, people here have managed to plant over a quarter million trees on the village’s grazing commons.

While India still continues to have weak laws to protect the environment, such initiatives at a local level brings in a new ray of hope for many across the nation and continues to inspire people to preserve and protect their enviornment for a sustainable future.

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