“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirro reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to each other.” – Gandhi
It’s sad, it’s terribly depressing and it’s outright frustrating.
One day, there’s a massive tree towering over the road providing much needed shade on the road. The next day it’s gone. Mercilessly felled off to make way for more cars. The tree that took a hundred years to grow. Struck down in a single stroke.
Ãf you wonder why Bangalore’s getting warmer by the day – the reason is not so difficult to understand.
Bangalore’s tree cover is fast disappearing. St John’s Road, Koramangala, Adugudi, Race Course Road – everywhere there are trees being cut. Is this all going to make for better traffic management? I seriously doubt it. In the short term, perhaps. But in the long term, probably not. In fact, it’s going to get worse with more bottlenecks as some roads will always remain narrow. There’s only that much you can widen a road – what happens after you run out of trees to cut?
We are paying the price of rapid progress, but is this the way to go? What about a mass transit system? What about alternative modes of transport? What about an underground train system? What about the Metro? Shouldn’t we be paying attention to these options than trying to cut trees at every possible junction? Why are all these projects all swept under the carpet, but trees being cut off everywhere. Because, it’s the easiest one out of all the choices. All you need is a huge axe and you’re done.
I am filled with despair sometimes. This – barren, treeless roads – are after all what we will leave behind. This is going to be responsible for the rapidly changing climate of Bangalore. And we have only ourselves to blame for it.
But what fills me with hope are people like Janet! There are some things I realise that are not within our control. Our protests against this tree felling is obviously not going to be heard. But we can do our bit. And that is plant more trees. In any available space we can find – on our streets, in our residential complexes etc. Yes, they will take years to grow, but at least you’ll have done something towards creating a greener city.
Here are some facts about trees (facts from treesforfree.org):
— Trees purify the air we pollute
— Trees bring rain
— Trees conserve rainwater, which feeds streams, rivers and lakes.
— Trees provide shelter and food for birds, bees, butterflies and a host of insects and animals.
— Trees prevent soil erosion and transform barren wasteland into fertile soil.
— Trees absorb toxic chemicals from the soil.
— Trees absorb noise.
— Trees provide a sense of wellbeing and peace in their immediate surroundings.
— Planting fruit trees is being acknowledged as a sustainable solution to end the world’s hunger crisis.
— Trees planted around buildings reduce heating and cooling bills.
— Trees planted around roads with traffic makes the road seem populated. Study shows that people drive slower on a road with trees than without. (This is so true, I do this myself all the time! I used to love the drive through St John’s road with lovely trees shading both sides of the road. Sadly, half of the trees on that road are now gone).
— Planting a tree is the single most effective action any individual or organisation can take to truly heal the environment.
— So go ahead, do your bit. Plant more trees. Let’s populate the city with more and more trees so we can get back our depleted greenery even if takes a few years. If everyone does something about this issue, I’m sure it’s possible to keep Bangalore green and beautiful.