When I was a kid, we lived in a colony with houses placed next to each other and each house had their own little garden in the front. From small potted plants to beautiful and tall flowering trees lined the walking path. Shoe flower, Jasmine, Ratrani, Rose plants were in abundance. As kids we watered them and took care of the blooms protecting them from any potential plucks. My childhood memories from the colony are of red mud, green trees, fragrant colourful flowers, pleasant sun and soft showers of rain.
That was 30 years back. Today, I visit my childhood home only to witness that the colony is now all cement, bricks and tiles. Each family has now taken over the garden space to extend their house. No life in form of trees or plants exist and I never see any kids out playing because there is hardly any space left. This is the unhappy state of My Colony, but when I look around; I see that we humans are taking over every single piece of available land. Skyscrapers are rising with a rather disturbing alacrity. Somewhere between urbanization and globalization, we forgot that for Humans to really live a healthy and happy life the most important resource we need is Fresh air and Pure water. Sadly we are messing up with both of them by taking away our Trees. Phones, laptops, hi-tech gadgets, 40 floors buildings and fast cars are doing nothing but decreasing our life expectancy.
To be honest, for most of my adult life, I never worried too much about whether we were leaving a cleaner and greener planet for future generation, but when I became a Mother, amongst many other things that I discovered, I figured that my son was getting a raw deal. As kids of today’s generation, they are left with a huge responsibility upon their tiny shoulders to clear up a mess that we created. We can’t crib about past, but what we can do instead is make this responsibility A Choice rather than a burden and for that we need to lead by example.
‘We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.’
Go for Nature trips than malls: Adults often complain that kids spend far too much time in front of a TV, computers or video games. Most of our family outings end up in Malls. Who is responsible for it? Do we take the time out to take our kids to visit Nature parks? Letting them watch discovery channels is good but taking them to Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks makes the experience much fun and real. In the last two years, of all our outing and trips, my son remembers only three of them vividly (a camping trip, a visit to Nature park and our vacation at our native home in Mangalore ) because these experiences allowed him to connect with nature.
Conserve Nature and Natural resources: We Do Not own Nature, rather we share it with all living beings on planet Earth. So when brushing teeth remind kids to turn off the water because we are otherwise wasting a share which belongs to animals, trees and other people. Two buckets of water should suffice instead of a shower bath. Kid’s instinct of plucking off a beautiful bloom should be addressed by explaining that the flower belongs to everyone. Keep TV and lights off when not required and avoid unnecessary use of Elevators which will help conserve electricity.
Respect Planet Earth: We should treat our planet just as we do our Home. This means we just cannot throw waste around. Waste should go to the waste-bin. This habit should be inculcated at early learning itself. Do not hesitate in involving kids in community clean-up drives. Also, explaining the harmful effects of non-biodegradable products and the benefits of Recycling is very important part.
Connecting to the Basics: Our kids can identify various brands of cars by age of 6, but can they do the same for birds or insects? Instead of buying various toys, we must invest in simple but fun things like magnifying lenses or a pair of binoculars. One will be amazed at the discovery young kids make with these tools. Encouraging them to share their findings of animals, birds, insects, or trees in our area will evoke a sense of love for nature and surroundings. Explaining to them the role of each nature finding will increase their knowledge and also turn nature into an ingrained passion for life.
Plant Trees! Save Trees! : In a world where we are struggling to be Carbon Neutral, Bhutan (a Himalayan country next to India and Tibet) is proud to be Carbon Negative. Their Modus-operandi? Maintaining more than 60% of their country as forest which absorbs all the carbon dioxide they emit. In 2014 Bhutan broke a world record for planting appx 50,000 trees in one hour. They also measure their economic development by measuring Gross National Happiness
Our Planet thrives on Trees and so if we want to Ctrl+S Nature, planting and nurturing of trees should be our top priority. Letting our kids involve in gardening is a great way to help them connect with nature. The touch of the soil and discovery of different worms and insects helps them know nature first hand. Also, letting them water plants help them develop a sense of care and pride as they see the plant grow.
Does Nature need saving? Yes! But what we are really doing in turn is saving the Mankind.