“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection ofMahatma Gandhi
what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”
Buxwaha forest, located in the district of Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh, is a leading source for Khair, Bel, Dhava, Amaltas, and many more trees, shrubs, and herbs. Apart from being an important source for major natural products, the forest is a lifeline to approximately 7000 surrounding villagers (from 17 different villages), near or far from it.
BUT WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE BUXWAHA WOODS ?
Madhya Pradesh is one of the leading four states concerning diamond reserves, accounting for around 90.18% of the total. As per the approximations and estimations that are being made, the Buxwaha region is known to have 34 million carats of diamond. Essel Mining & Industries Ltd. (EMIL) now plans to initiate a project which it claims will become the largest diamond mine in Asia. However, the forest is already much more precious to different life-forms and to the overall balance of the environment; ironically, the creation of the diamond mine will only cause harm to the forest’s inherent value. It contains different types of trees and plants that add to the biodiversity of the nation and provide sustenance to a large number of humans and animals. It is a full-fledged ecosystem that is essential for the day-to-day existence of many.
Can you guess the cost of extraction of these diamonds? THE LIVES OF MORE THAN 2,00,000 TREES!
You read it right. Over 2,00,000 trees are at stake for A DIAMOND MINE. Apparently, the group is facing infinite hurdles on its way to start with the project. WHY? LET’S SEE FURTHER.
#SAVEBUXWAHAFOREST: CHANGE IS POSSIBLE, OCCURRING, AND NECESSARY!
Read on to know how.
WHAT HAS BEEN DONE, WHAT HAS TO BE DONE?
Forests are the green lungs for any area, state, country, and the world. But in recent years, they have been diagnosed with the “human” ailment. To save the life-givers from life-takers, few environmentalists and locals have come together. They are making a difference, and so can all of us!
Listed below are the few steps that have been taken and things that can be done:
- PLANNING AND REFORESTING:
There is no denying the fact that mines have proven to provide employment opportunities to the people, thereby improving their living standards. However, the cost of these mines should not/cannot be millions of trees; rather, the projects should be planned in a way that entails minimal cutting, which should then be compensated with reforestation and replantation.
- MOBILISATION AND PROTEST:
Activists, ecologists, and environmentalists have filed a PIL in the Supreme Court (the apex court) against the decision. A few of them have approached NGT (National Green Tribunal) to take back the permission granted for mining.
Apart from the formal petitions, there have been protests being conducted (by the locals and natives) to withdraw such an ‘out-of-order’ decision.
- THE CHIPKO MOVEMENT:
Recently, on 5th June (World Environment Day), a strategic campaign in the spirit of the CHIPKO MOVEMENT was initiated in the Buxwaha to raise awareness and express disagreement over the issue. The Chipko movement itself was a form of protest inspired by the actions of women led by Amrita Devi back in the 18th century, which showed the depth of the connection between forests and the communities directly dependent on them. The Chipko Andolan in 1973 carried forward this legacy. Today, the strength of this movement continues to impact communities and environmentalists to protect the environment against indiscriminate destruction in the name of incomplete notions of “progress”. It also emphasizes the undeniable connection between human rights and environmental issues.
- ROLE OF GOVERNMENT:
Along with citizens’ actions, the central and state governments can do their part by speaking up on the issue, strictly implementing existent laws pertaining to deforestation, creating new and more nuanced laws, and restricting projects which pose such a major threat to the environment and to human well-being. The movement to protect our forests can only succeed if citizens and the government work together towards a sustainable world.
- AWARENESS AND EDUCATION:
Proper awareness programs or educational webinars should be conducted throughout the country, in order to educate people about the havoc, these activities can cause, and also create awareness about alternatives. Regular activities can be done with those living around forest areas.
The well-wishers of the environment have taken this rage over to social media, in order to halt the cutting down of trees. The links have been circulated to sign petitions against this, using various online platforms. As per the report, on May 20, #SAVEBUXWAHAFOREST was among the top 10 tweets on Twitter.
Mining at the price of massive forest clearing is of great danger to the planet. We are all a part of life on Earth, and therefore dependent on it for survival and happiness. It appears that a large number of people have realized this, and are taking this understanding further by transforming it into action. All the resistance towards the clearing of the forest provides hope for broad social and environmental changes. A small step towards protecting the mother Earth and its elements might pull off wonders for today’s and upcoming future generations because at the end of the day each one of us can make A DIFFERENCE, and together we can make A CHANGE.
In this fight of TREES v/s DIAMONDS, the winners have to be THE TREES; it has to be US!