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Choice is ours…
When I recently came across the WGSDSS (Western Ghats Spatial Decision Support System) launched by the IISc, I looked up the data for our area. I wasn’t surprised to see majority of Velhe taluka in ESR-1 (Ecological Sensitive Region) category. ESR-1 category denotes the highest impact on ecology – permanent and irreparable loss of extant life forms or significant damage to the natural processes of evolution and speciation with the alterations in the ecological integrity of a region. ESR-2 has potential to become ESR-1.
Even today, unchecked development & inappropriate land usage are evident around here & that is leading us towards something even worse. Clearing a land for a mono-culture, just of bamboo or any exotic species, is a big NO-GO. Some of our native plant species are already in the IUCN red list. Chopping an old tree is easier than fostering a sapling into a mother tree – we should stop undoing all the hard work nature has done for centuries. Earthworks exposing laterite slopes don’t go unnoticed.
Looking at the land ownership pattern in our area, private land owners are the majority stake-holders & are best placed to make the difference. Owning a private land in the Western Ghats is a privilege & it means we are empowered to make a difference to preserve & restore its biodiversity, beauty. We cannot continue to treat private lands in the Western Ghats as typical agricultural lands – it needs a different outlook.
Choice is ours…
– Continue with our unmindful actions driven by greed and wait for a restrictive land use policy from the authorities, OR
– Practice our privilege like a responsible citizen – the privilege of owning a land in the Western Ghats.
The wake-up calls from nature have gone unheard & urgency for action cannot be stressed enough.