To create awareness, Kolkata celebrates Environment Day by tying rakhis to trees
With global warming and climate change warning us again and again, perhaps the need to work towards creating a sustainable city and understanding the importance of urban greenery is more than ever. Equally important is to involve all the stakeholders in this pursuit, especially children, who can start making a difference early on in their lives. It is with this aim that Sanctuary Asia, SHER, Kids for Tigers and HT Parekh Foundation in association with the Urban Forestry Division of West Bengal Forest Department organised a special program on Tuesday at the Jodhpur Park tree nursery. The program, held on the eve of World Environment Day, saw students from Ballygunj Shiksha Sadan participating in a special ‘raksha bandhan’ with the trees in a symbolic gesture to protect the environment.
“In this age of climate crisis, it is important that each one of us realise the simple fact that the earth does not belong to us but we belong to the earth. Children are tomorrow’s citizens. Hence, they need to take charge of the planet rather than adults who have already done bad with mother nature,” says Joydip Kundu, General Secretary, SHER.
The program touched upon several subjects including the approach towards a clean environment, the importance of urban greeneries in a sustainable city, social equity and engagement of the community in the development process and how it can enable the creation of healthy communities that can sustain generations to come.
Shedding more light on the topic, Kundu adds, “In the context of a clean environment, urban greeneries are an important element of a sustainable city. They provide opportunities for ecology, environmental improvement and active and passive oneness with mother nature. Urban green spaces include the familiar biodiversity of the barbets, magpie robins, cormorants, water hens, caterpillars, butterflies, trees, grass, as well as hundreds of smaller species and microorganisms. Most parks and green spaces have a local resonance, the species and their habitats generally relate to their locality and are derived from the underlying substrates and geology, climate, hydrology and ecological characteristics.”
The event also saw the presence of Conservator of Forests (CF) Ajay Das IFS and Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) Rabindranath Saha IFS. While Ajay Das IFS highlighted the fact that 15 of the most polluted 20 cities of the world are in India, Rabindranath Saha IFS spoke on the role of urban forestry in the present times of environmental catastrophe.
The students were also taught the importance of seed conservation and were encouraged to plant saplings at the venue. To end the event on a learning note, the Forest Department gifted a sapling each to all the participants with a promise that they will nurture the plants at home.