Friday, June 21, 2019

Tiger Conservation - Urbanization The Deadly Menace

Minimizing Destruction of Our Natural Lands

It keeps spreading its tentacles all around, and you cannot blame anyone except us. You cannot blame the politicians, planners and developers. Anyway they do not plan they just fulfill. It is we who have multiplied like rats and taken over our natural lands which the Earth had nourished for centuries right from the day evolution came into the picture.


Traffic congestion
People who read history of civilizations know that towns and cities will come and go but now in their wake they will leave back ravaged lands that may take eons to recover. In order to settle thousands of families, cities, towns, villages keep on spreading without planning and with total disregard for nature. A builder least admires an eco-niche in the neighbourhood nor does he feel guilty of placing concrete structures over them stifling microcosm of life forever. In fact we are so impressed by concrete structures that we concrete everything around us even natural gardens, wild bushes, small jungles, beautiful lakes and ponds where in lot of organisms and avian life depends upon the natural embankments and depth as well. 

Our eyes glow bright when we see magnificent edifices the concrete structures embracing our towns and cities. That is development! (Sic). When the structures start to decay we continue living there, a stoic and helpless attitude that we have developed as a matter of consequence.

Cities are rotting, there is water shortage, dirt, smog, pollution living conditions are like hell. Deadly pollution thanks to smoke belching industries, cars uncountable, congestion, drying lakes and water bodies polluted to the brim and over all the looming climate change ...there you have it! Slowly you come to understand what is unplanned development that damages the environment and invites disease, mental disorder and more.

The ill planned overwhelming urbanization is taking over the remaining natural lands in all settlements now from metros to even small towns. The latter come under the scanner of infrastructure development in forms of rail lines, highways and dams. This affects the wildlife and can be disastrous for endangered species like the tiger, lion and elephant to mention a few.


Grasslands + Forests

The sharp reduction in number of tigers in India has been mainly due to loss of habitat. Tigers need specialized habitats which only dense forests containing untouched wilderness can offer. Unfortunately in India forests have been converted to agricultural fields, industrial belts, ravaged by mines and now urbanization which is creeping into even small places auguring a dark future. If we do not reduce our carbon footprints global warming can become serious where sustenance of life may not be possible. Hence we humans are also at risk and perhaps face extinction too?

Where will the buck stop nobody knows? Man animal conflicts, extinction of species, water shortages due to destruction of rivers and due to climate change all are as a result of man's total disregard for nature conservation.

We should consider destruction of nature as an impending disaster, and accord importance to its preservation. In governance this should be a major issue there should be debates and discussions on this. But this does not happen people are not aware or simply do not care, and politicians take advantage and do not take environmental issues into consideration except accord some lip service.

What future awaits our gen next? What about climate change knocking at our doorsteps? What are we doing to minimize fossil fuel consumption? What are we doing to stop the production of pollutants, toxins and hazardous chemicals. All this should be taken into account during the political discourse? Is it being done? Ask yourself, write or raise your voice before it is too late.

Uday works as a naturalist in India and blogs on environment and conservation issues.