Let us change – Let us Initiate – Let us do our bit
For more greener, more equal, more climate-friendly mother planet
Sundarban is famous for its magnificent mangrove with its habitant ‘Royal Bengal Tiger’. This unique as well as critical eco-system is being over exploited. Increasing population leads to negligible availability of land per family, forcing them to live well below the poverty line. Dire poverty urges them to be frequenters in forest to collect their daily needs, taking dangerous risks on their lives to capture fishes and crabs on the dense marshy estuaries. In some cases, they even rule out the life threatening situations arising in the water or in the forest during their venture for livelihood. As ill fate they often become victim of tiger or crocodile attack. Increasing economic stress makes people recklessly feed on natural resources which, in turn, leads to its erosion and increases external biotic pressure on Sundarban Biosphere reserve.
In addition to that this tiger-land is facing more serious threat which is generated by the worldwide climatic change. Increasing height of sea-levels, due to global warming, has already led to disappearance of a few islands within the region and threatens to guzzle a large part of the Sundarban in a few decades. It is a challenge to the survival not only of the floral and faunal diversity but also many of the 6 million people of the Sundarban. The impact is also evident. It is estimated that about 82 Sq. KM land has already disappeared in the last three decades and about 70,000 people (environmental refugees!!!) will turn homeless by 2025 in the Sundarban. Paradoxically the mangrove buffer of Indian Sundarban has saved the ‘city of joy’ (rather eastern India) from severe hurricanes more than 19 times, since 1688. The cycle goes on and the people learn to live with resilience under an inescapable insecurity until a catastrophic cyclone gives a whirling push and brings forth a complete state of devastation, as experienced during Aila (25th May, 2009) and recently during Amphun (20th May, 2020) with a wind-speed of 185 km/hour during landfall brought trail of destruction and terrible misery to the islanders.
Cyclone Amphan in 3 hours destroyed a few million livelihoods and uprooted many families in Bengal. In addition to that COVID pandemic has worsened the islander’s economic condition due to massive unemployment as half the farming community (55%) is landless laborers.
The protection of forest and generating livelihood can be entangled by involving the islanders in restoration of mangrove-buffer through scientific and extensive plantation. These frontline green warriors can also participate in rehabilitation-rescue-protection-awareness for saving wildlife and conserving biodiversity.
In viewing that team-Aranyaj has taken an initiative to restore mangrove-vegetation through extensive plantation and initially has engaged a number of dedicated islanders. They are collecting mangrove fruits, nurturing them for 3 months and planting them in the riverside that is the embankment adjacent mudflats. These committed green warriors are working 24 x 7 relentlessly towards this green mission. We are trying to provide them alternate livelihood like fisheries, animal husbandries, fisheries, production of hygiene products like sanitary napkin, mask, sanitizer etc.
So let us rebuild our own Sundarban keeping in mind the ecological sustainability of this unique mangrove delta, let us lend our support towards those islanders as it is our collective social responsibility to bring a change in economical and social disparity and act accordingly for these islanders who are actually the stakeholder of entire civilization due to climate change.
Friends, individual efforts towards this mission may seem like drops in the ocean. However, the impacts from the positive changes and participation by millions of people will make significant contributions towards a more climate friendly Mother Earth. So let us do our bit for our progenies and for our planet. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you, but it is most important you do it.”
Aranyaj-“Aranyaj Society For Educational And Environmental Development“ is a non-profit, Voluntary, Tax Exempted, 80G & FCRA registered organization
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