Waking up to the call

Waking up to the call

But aren’t you feeling a sense of deja vu? Was it not the same this day last year too? Why does the campaign for greenery have to be a once-in-a-year ritual? 

The campaign for green Bangalore ought to turn into an on-going campaign, day in and day out, and should not be like the proverbial Biblical lilies of the field that bloom in the morning and wither away in the morning, feel most Bangaloreans.

 Only then will the authorities wake up to the campaigns and ensure that the denudation of the City’s green cover stops, they add. There are also those who believe that the campaigns must be sustained throughout  the year and take various forms to appeal to everyone from school children to adults.

Santhosh Min B, a physiotherapist and unsuccessful MP candidate in the recent Lok Sabha elections, thinks that campaigns are the best way to grab people’s attention and gather sustained help to further a cause.

But this, he reasons, will take its own time. “Indians change very slowly, no drastic changes can be expected from them. However slow, campaigns will leave an impression in people’s mind, but they must be targeted more at the growing middle class rather than at the lowest level because the poor are more concerned about their day-to-day existence and campaigns matter very little to them,” he explains.

He observes that more people-participation and people-to-people contact will help sustain any green activity. Campaign director, Greenpeace, Divya Raghunanthan feels sad that most people awaken only at the last moment. “When it’s June 5, then a large group gathers to focus on issues around environment which does not bother them for the rest of the year,” she says. 

She thinks it’s high time campaigns refocus on burning issues related to the environment. “World Environment Day needs to be used as a leverage point to reinforce some point but sadly it ends up being pretty empty and shallow,” she avers.

When the big Banyan tree in Basaveshwaranagar fell, there was sustained activity by a group that worked towards relocating and getting the tree replanted in the City. They even gathered branches of the fallen tree and planted it across the City. R Sheshadri, a naturalist with ‘Hasire Usiru’, was at the heart of the effort.

He says they pleaded with the government to let the logs stay in the same location where the tree had fallen so that a new tree would sprout but this plea fell on deaf ears. Now the focus is on planting endemic trees that are more suited for the soil. Trees fall because of an imbalance as the branches are pruned rather unscientifically, Sheshadri says and adds that the “campaigns are useless unless they’re sustained through the year.”

Environmentalist Suresh Heblikar observes that ‘run for the environment’ and ‘human chain’ campaigns are meaningless unless there is an action-oriented approach throughout the year. Environmental conservation must not be confined to classrooms and conferences. “Working for the environment is a non-rewarding monotonous task but it must be done with all earnesty,” he reasons.

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